Category Archives: persecution

University pays student $25,000 to go somewhere else

TRUTH BOMBS: CHRISTIAN PERSECUTION! No other way to see this. This was a direct dismissal of ideas and practice simply because they are from the Christian perspective. I guess diversity does not apply when they are Christians.

Article: Missouri State University officials are paying a former student some $25,000 to finish his counseling degree elsewhere after they were sued for bashing and disqualifying his work in a counseling center because it is Christian. Andrew Cash, in the latter part of a counseling program, was working on a requirement for 240 hours with clients at […]

Source: University pays student $25,000 to go somewhere else


Thousands of Muslims reportedly turning to Christ in Middle East | Fox News

TRUTH BOMBS: Praise God!! I wonder if western society is strong enough to endure this kind of persecution and still believe to the point of death!

ARTICLE: Thousands of Muslims are turning to Jesus Christ and what they view as the religion of freedom amid ongoing bloodshed in the Middle East, reports indicate.

Source: Thousands of Muslims reportedly turning to Christ in Middle East | Fox News


U.S. on list of Christian-persecuting nations

TRUTH BOMBS: I am not surprised. After all Obama and a liberal congress passed a law giving international protective status to atheists. Yep atheists, NOT the Christians that are being tortured, crucified, beheaded and persecuted but to Atheists. That is just plain stupid.

ARTICLE: For the first time ever, the United States has been added to an annual list of the world’s persecutors of Christians and countries that are regressing in religious freedom. The United States, Mexico and Russia were listed as “new and noteworthy” nations in the 2016 “Hall of Shame Report” published by the Washington, D.C., based […]

Source: U.S. on list of Christian-persecuting nations


“Now Is Time to Behead Unbelievers” | Frontpage Mag

TRUTH BOMBS: READ THIS ARTICLE! AND REMEMBER THAT OBAMA SIGNED INTO LAW (ON DEC 16TH) A RELIGIOUS FREEDOM ACT TO PROTECT ATHEISTS!!

IS THE END NEAR?

ARTICLE:

Originally published by the Gatestone Institute.

Raymond Ibrahim is a Shillman Fellow at the David Horowitz Freedom Center.

Reports of Muslims torturing, raping, and forcing Christians to embrace Islam continued to mount throughout the month of October.   Alice Assaf, a Christian woman recounted the experiences of Christians—including her son’s execution for refusing to deny his faith—in a village near Damascus at the hands of the Islamic State.  She also told how the Islamic State massacres children in cruel and unusual ways—including by throwing them into an industrial sized dough mixer:  “[W]e heard that the militants grabbed six strong men working at the bakery and burned them inside the oven.  After that, they caught some 250 kids and kneaded them like dough in the bakery dough machine….   Members of 200 different families were killed right before our eyes.” Some Christian and Yazidi women captured by ISIS militants were sold at auctions in Saudi Arabia, America’s close friend which is supposedly part of the coalition fighting ISIS.

In Pakistan, a group of armed Muslims kidnapped and took turns raping a teenage girl after her Christian family refused to convert to Islam. According to the report, after they broke into the Christian home in the middle of the night while everyone slept:

Six men and a woman known locally by the family who were armed with guns, sticks and metal poles began to beat the family asking them to convert to Islam or die. Despite the pain and threats to their lives the family stayed resolute to their Christian faith and refused to convert. This incensed the Muslim attackers even more. All the family members were tied up and blindfolded and two of them, 20-year-old Arif [male] and 17-year-old Jameela [female], were kidnapped and dragged into a van outside. The two of them were taken to an unknown building and tortured but Arif refused to convert to Islam.  He could hear her screaming and was told by his captors that they were taking turns raping his sister and that all he had to do to save her was to convert to Islam, but still he refused though in great anguish for her.

Arif eventually managed to escape though the fate of his sister was unknown.

In Gaza, recent years have “witnessed a critical upsurge against the Christians,” said an Arabic language report published in October.   Local authorities have reportedly abandoned the tiny Christian minority—2,500 people surrounded by approximately 1.5 million Muslims—to their fate. “At times we hear of the bombing of a Christian bookshop and assaults on churches and other Christian institutions; other times we hear of the kidnapping of Christians and the coercion of them to embrace the religion of Muhammad,” notes the report.

Christians in Gaza led a protest, calling for the return of their kidnapped children and loved ones. Bishop Alexios of the region “confirmed that the Christians who converted to Islam did so under threats, coercion, compulsion, and force.” His church also submitted a formal petition to the governor of the region, Ismail Haniyeh, calling on him to investigate matters, but received no response.  The report adds that Gaza’s Christians are calling on the Christian world to intervene. The bishop said that he is trying to communicate all of this to the Vatican, the United Nations, and the United States.

Statistics concerning the global jihad on Christians also emerged in October.  Between 2003 and June 9, 2014, ISIS killed at least 1,131 Christians and destroyed or damaged at least 125 Christian churches. “Murder of Christians is commonplace” in Iraq, Syria, and Libya, states the report. “Many have been killed in front of their own families.”

Between January 2013 and May 2016 and in one Nigerian region alone—the Middle Belt, Nasarawa—Muslims, often connected to the Islamic terror group Boko Haram, killed 826 Christians, injured 878 injured, destroyed 102 churches and 787 Christian houses, and displaced 21,000 people.

The rest of the month of October’s worldwide Muslim persecution of Christians includes, but is not limited to, the following:

Muslim Attacks on Christian Churches

EthiopiaThree separate attacks on one church took place over the course of a month revealed an October report.  One Christian was killed.  On August 30, a Muslim mob assaulted the church during service.  They broke doors, windows, and chairs; they beat men, women and children with their fists and sticks—seriously wounding 30—and they hacked with machetes a 55-year-old founding member.  The father of eight died from his wounds.  The day after the slaughtered Christian’s funeral a group of Muslim men strangled a female member of the congregation and left her for dead. On September 27, a Muslim mob attacked more church members as they returned home after church.

United States: Wendell Buchanan, a recent convert to Islam, shot up three rural churches in Shelbyville.  One, the Horse Mountain Church of Christ, was targeted three times and the bullets caused thousands of dollars in damages.  Before Facebook deleted it, Buchanan had written on his account, “I’m just doing my job as a messenger for my Lord, I owe absolutely everything to Allah because he has set me free from my spiritual cage.”  The Muslim convert is facing four counts of destruction of utility equipment, five counts of desecration of a venerated object, and nine counts of felony vandalism.

Separately in San Antonio, unknown vandals defaced two churches—the Gethsemane Lutheran Church and Saint Gregory Catholic Church—by spray painting “No to wall” and “Islam or die” next to the entrance of the church.  Islamic terror cells are known to be operating across the border in Mexico.

Italy: A Muslim refugee from Ghanai severely vandalized four churches in Rome (video of rampage here).  He first invaded the Church of San Martino ai Monti and broke a statue. Next he went to the ancient Basilica of Santa Prassede, where he demolished several more statues of saints, purposefully smashing them to the ground and stamping on them. He then ripped a large crucifix from the wall and was preparing to destroy it when he was stopped by a priest who grabbed him by the leg.  The refugee continued his rampage and vandalized two other churches, San Vitale and the Church of San Giovanni dei Fiorentini in Piazza d’Oro, where he destroyed several other precious statues.  He was finally arrested by police in Rome’s historic district and charged with vandalism and religious hatred.

United Kingdom:  A Catholic school was threatened by a social media message saying, “We have our sights set on you, and by Allah we will kill every single infidel student at this school #McAuleySchoolMassacre.” The post, which targeted McAuley Catholic High School, Doncaster, appeared on Instagram, Facebook and Snapchat, and prompted widespread fear.  The school apparently downplayed the incident and said authorities and police were alerted and investigating.  But not all were reassured.  Parent Shanie Varley took her 15-year-old daughter out of school and argued that, although many knew of the message, “parents weren’t told.”  When the mother contacted the school, she was told that police were there and that it was “nothing to worry about.”

Kosovo: Muslims turned a Christian chapel and cemetery into a public toilet and garbage dump.  Earlier, a local Christian clergyman repaired and cleaned the chapel, only to return and see it being used again as a toilet. The only action taken by the local Muslim mayor has been to prevent Christians from accessing the chapel and cemetery in order to clean it for visits from family members of those buried there; but he has done nothing to prevent the site from being desecrated, despite Christian petitions.  Similarly, on September 10, Muslims in Pristina set fire to Christ the Savior Cathedral. “Immediately after the fire,” noted the report, they “started using it [the church] as a toilet…. Since the Albanian Muslims took possession of this Orthodox land, hundreds of churches and monasteries have been burnt to the ground.”

Pakistan: Authorities ordered the closure of house churches in the city of Bahawalpur after Muslims complained that they were being disturbed by Christian prayers.  Christians were ordered to hold worship and prayer services in only one of four official churches in the city.  Because the construction of new churches in Pakistan is highly regulated with countless hurdles to overcome—as in most Muslim nations—meeting and holding Christian worship services in private homes has become more common. The closure of these house churches is seen as the government’s way of cracking down on them.

Indonesia: Following local Muslim protests, the mayor of South Jakarta closed a Protestant church by claiming it lacked a permit.  When pressed about the claim, he said the congregation did have a permit, but only to build a “home-office and not to the elevation of a church.”  The report adds that “The process for the construction of a church in Indonesia—Catholic or Protestant—is complicated and may take five to ten years to get all the permissions required.”

Brunei: In compliance with Islamic law, the island nation banned the construction of churches.  There are currently three churches there; no more can be added.  Although the nation is Muslim majority, approximately 10% of the population is Christian.  According to the report, “Christians living in Brunei feel the brunt of the divisive law.”

Turkey: As the government continues building mosques—nearly 9,000 were constructed between 2005 and 2015—it banned Orthodox Christian liturgy in the Sumela Monastery, a historic site inaugurated in 386 AD, roughly 1,000 years before Muslim Turks conquered Asia Minor.  According to the report, “The ban has caused great disappointment to thousands of Pontian people worldwide, and people from Greece who had planned to travel to the region these days to celebrate the Feast of the Assumption.  Sources within the Patriarchate of Constantinople … fear that Christian mass will never be allowed in the historic monastery again. This arbitrary ban seems to be yet another demonstration of the ‘unofficial’ second-class status of Christians in Turkey….  What secular, democratic republic builds thousands of mosques with state funds — taxpayer money — while closing the Halki Seminary of the Eastern Orthodox Church and confiscating countless Christian properties?”

Muslim Slaughter of Christians

Australia:  A 42-year-old Muslim man in Sydney stabbed to death his 35-year-old wife for converting to Christianity.  The Iranian couple had been living on visas for four years.  Prior to the woman’s apostasy, there was no known history of domestic violence between the couple.  The report adds that “Christianity has been spreading rapidly among Iranians in recent years. This has caused many of them being forced to leave Iran as the government doesn’t tolerate conversion from Islam.”

Pakistan: A 24-year-old Muslim man from Lahore murdered his 18-year-old sister for marrying a Christian, an act banned under Islamic law.  He shot her in the head with a gun.  The arrested man later said, “I told her I would have no face to show at the mill [where he worked], to show to my neighbors, so don’t do it. Don’t do it. But she wouldn’t listen.  I could not let it go. It was all I could think about. I had to kill her. There was no choice.”

Kenya: Islamic militants raided a village in the Christian majority nation at 2 am while everyone was asleep and slaughtered six people.  The Islamic terror group Al Shabaab—“the youth”—headquartered in neighboring Somalia, claimed the attack on “Christianity’s power in the region.” It released a statement: “We are behind the Mandera attack in which we killed six Christians.” One witness said that the slain, “were gunned down mercilessly and their heads chopped off and smashed by grenades.  I do not know how to say it better. I am psychologically bullied.”

Nigeria: Muslim Fulani herdsmen killed more than 40 people during a massacre in a Christian village. The Fulanis have been responsible for several other brutal attacks which targeted Christians. They are portrayed as “infidels” who should be driven off the farming land.

Muslim Contempt for and Abuse of Christians

Germany:  A human rights group issued a report in October shedding more light on the ongoing violence and discrimination Christian minorities face in refugee camps. Almost 750 Christians reported that they have experienced religiously motivated violence, including death threats and “sentencing” from unofficial Sharia courts.  In one instance, Christian refugees returned from a church meeting to find a notice in one of the rooms that said: “To all Muslims: now is the time to behead the unbelievers.” A female Iranian refugee said one night a group of men shouted: “Whoever finds an Iranian woman today may rape and kill her. Kill them all. You may kill and rape them. You can do it, everywhere. Wherever you find them, you may do that.”  Iranians are being targeted for being Shia and/or converting to Christianity.  The woman added: “We came here to live a free life, but now we are being oppressed heavily. It is just like the Daesh [ISIS]: we feel very oppressed… I am living her under constant pressure and cannot take it any more. Nobody is allowed to know that I am a Christian, for I am afraid that they might find out about it in Iran. I am living under constant fear and oppression.”

Nigeria: A 40-year-old Muslim cleric, Saheed Gbadamosi, was arrested after he threatened to bathe a local Christian pastor with acid and destroy his church.  The prosecutor said that the “accused conspired with others still at large and stormed the defendant’s church armed with different types of dangerous weapons as they beat up the pastor identified as Emmanuel Ugbo, destroying church property and threatening to pour acid on him.”

Ethiopia:  Hours after releasing an 18-year-old Christian known only as Deborah on bail, police re-arrested her.  She and three younger teenage girls (two aged 14, one 15) were initially arrested for handing out a booklet entitled “Let’s speak the truth in love: Answers to questions by Ahmed Deedat,” which rebutted accusations against the Christian faith by the named and prominent Muslim cleric.  This enraged some local Muslims, who said the book was an insult to Islam.  They proceeded to riot and attack a church, damaging its windows and doors; this onslaught led to the arrest of the four teenage Christian girls.  “It is not yet clear why Deborah was re-arrested. A police investigation failed to bring formal charges against her and the three other girls. Their bail application was approved by a judge, and the four teenagers were released after paying Birr 3,000 (about US$135),” said the report.

Sudan: Six more Christians, three of whom are pastors, were jailed for refusing to hand over a school run by their evangelical church to the government.  They were later released on bail.  According to the report, “The arrests follow a number of other arrests of Christians in the country, where Christians face persecution….  Five other churches – three belonging to the Sudan Church of Christ, one to the Presbyterian Church and the other to the Episcopal Church – have been told their buildings will be demolished.”

Kyrgyzstan:  A family of mixed religious background was forced to bury and exhume its 76-year-old mother three times due to religious restrictions. The family—the daughter is Christian, the father is Muslim—were told they could not bury their mother because she “had been a practicing Christian in a village that was overwhelmingly Muslim, and local religious leaders restricted the cemetery to Muslims,” said the report.  Authorities were said to be investigating the case. One of the charges was “desecration of the dead.”

Pakistan: A Muslim mob beat Michael Robert, pastor of the Seventh Day Adventist Church in Farooqabad, and his family, before forcibly evicting them from their home.  According to the Muslim assailants, the house, which the Christian purchased two years ago, is Muslim property.  Robert’s family filed a suit for fraud and the judge issued a restraining order barring anyone from forcibly evicting them until ownership was settled.  Undeterred, 50 armed Muslim men stormed the house and, according to a lawyer, “left Pastor Robert, his father Robert Masih and his wife seriously injured. The assailants arrived in the dark of night and started firing in the air with their weapons to terrorize the locals. They then forced open Pastor Robert’s gate and attacked the family, thrashing them violently as they threw household items out in the open.”

Separately, authorities shut down 11 Christian television stations which they described as “illegal broadcasts.”   In response, Father Mushtaq Anjum, a Pakistani priest involved with the media, said, “The proclamation of the good news is now illegal.  Christians have no place in public television channels.”

In Khanewal district, local authorities have allowed the only Christian graveyard to deteriorate over the past thirty years and have taken no restorative measures despite Christian pleas.  One man said that local authority, Muhammad Khan Daha, was contacted repeatedly but has overlooked the matter, despite having pledged to allocate funds to restore the boundary wall, and provide electricity and water connections.  He also said the graveyard was so full that in two years’ time there would be no more room to bury their dead.

Niger:  Jeff Woodke, a 55-year-old American Christian missionary who had been living and serving his community for 24 years, was abducted from his home by Islamic militants after they killed two security guards. The mayor of the region said it was a “terrible tragedy” and that locals “wept with sorrow, lamenting the loss of a friend” the day after his abduction: “This man has lived among us for years, even in when it has been difficult to accompany vulnerable populations… Everyone knows his goodness.”

Egypt:  Armed Muslim men ambushed and abducted three Christian men and one of the men’s 9-year-old son as they were driving their car near Assyut.  After the family could not meet the initial ransom demand of 500,000 Egyptian pounds, a ransom of 150,000 Egyptian pounds  ($8,000 USD) was agreed upon and the kidnapped victims were freed.

Germany: A kindergarten in Kassel canceled all Christmas celebrations and banned Christmas songs, trees, and any mention of the Nativity to accommodate the “diverse cultures” of their students.  Approximately 12% of the 200,000 population are “foreign or have foreign roots.”  The report adds that “Because of the high percentage of Muslim children at the Sara-Hussbaum Kindergarten, teachers at the school must pay special attention to make sure the children don’t swap food at lunch. This will make sure the Muslim children do not eat pork. Pork is not offered on the school’s menu.”

About this Series

The persecution of Christians in the Islamic world has become endemic.  Accordingly, “Muslim Persecution of Christians” was developed to collate some—by no means all—of the instances of persecution that surface each month. It serves two purposes:

1)          To document that which the mainstream media does not: the habitual, if not chronic, persecution of Christians.

2)          To show that such persecution is not “random,” but systematic and interrelated—that it is rooted in a worldview inspired by Islamic Sharia.

Accordingly, whatever the anecdote of persecution, it typically fits under a specific theme, including hatred for churches and other Christian symbols; apostasy, blasphemy, and proselytism laws that criminalize and sometimes punish with death those who “offend” Islam; sexual abuse of Christian women; forced conversions to Islam;  theft and plunder in lieu of jizya (financial tribute expected from non-Muslims); overall expectations for Christians to behave like cowed dhimmis, or third-class, “tolerated” citizens; and simple violence and murder. Sometimes it is a combination thereof.

Because these accounts of persecution span different ethnicities, languages, and locales—from Morocco in the West, to Indonesia in the East—it should be clear that one thing alone binds them: Islam—whether the strict application of Islamic Sharia law, or the supremacist culture born of it.

Source: “Now Is Time to Behead Unbelievers” | Frontpage Mag


Turkey: Muslims hold Santa Claus at gunpoint to protest Christmas celebrations

TRUTH BOMBS: And there are some uneducated people in the world that think muslims can “coexist” with non-muslims. They are the reason why this country needs to put directions on a bottle of shampoo.

ARTICLE: “Our purpose is for people to go back to their roots. We are Muslim Turks and have been banner-bearers of Islam for a thousand years. We cannot see why there is such sensitivity for Christian traditions and not for our traditions like Hıdrellez, Nevruz and other religious and national holidays.”

One wonders if these Muslims were holding Santa at gunpoint for Islam while Guinean President Alpha Conde was in Ankara assuring the Turks that he knew that Islam was a religion of peace.

“Ultranationalist group hold man dressed as Santa Claus at gunpoint to protest Christmas celebrations,” Hürriyet Daily News, December 29, 2016:

A group of men from the youth group of the ultranationalist Alperen Hearts protested Christmas and New Year’s celebrations in Turkey by holding a man dressed as Santa Claus at gunpoint on Dec. 28 in the Nazilli district of the western province of Aydın….

The provincial head of the Alperen Hearths in Aydın, Burak Yaşar, said they were aiming to “bring people back to their roots.”

“Our purpose is for people to go back to their roots. We are Muslim Turks and have been banner-bearers of Islam for a thousand years. We cannot see why there is such sensitivity for Christian traditions and not for our traditions like Hıdrellez, Nevruz and other religious and national holidays. We organized this protest against Christmas celebrations, reminding people that we should be celebrating our own national holidays instead,” he said.

Source: Turkey: Muslims hold Santa Claus at gunpoint to protest Christmas celebrations


College calls Christian speech ‘disorderly conduct,’ gets sued

A Christian student prevented from sharing his faith due to restrictive and subjectively applied “free speech” rules at Georgia Gwinnett College has filed a 76-page lawsuit against 11 named college officials. “The First Amendment guarantees every student’s freedom of speech and religion. Every public school – and especially a state college that is supposed to […]

Source: College calls Christian speech ‘disorderly conduct,’ gets sued


Church facing $12,000 fine for letting homeless people sleep on property | WSB-TV

TRUTH BOMBS: But what happened to the separation of Church and State? Shouldn’t the State be minding their own business?

ARTICLE: DUNDALK, Md. – Patapsco United Methodist Church is in Dundalk, Maryland, not far from Baltimore and the Chesapeake Bay. Sometimes, at night, homeless people with nowhere else to go will sleep on church grounds, taking advantage of the promise of safety that a church often represents.

But in the future, those people may have to find another place to sleep, because the church may be fined out of existence by local government.

According to Yahoo News, Rev. Katie Grover found a $12,000 citation attached to a church door  when she went to the church one morning recently.

The citation said that the church had violated a county regulation that prohibits “non-permitted rooming and boarding” and that the church failed to “cease exterior use of property as housing units.” An inspector’s comments noted that “People (were) still living in (the) rear of (the) property under tarped area.”

“We feel, we here as a church, that it’s scriptural mandate, that it’s an imperative to care for the least, the last, the lost, the poor, the hungry,” Grover told WMAR.

Failure to evict the homeless people from the area would require the church to pay the $12,000 county fine, straining the small congregation’s budget, Yahoo reported. The fine grows by $200 each day the church doesn’t comply.

“I’m not trying to be adversarial with anyone. We’re just trying to do what a church is called to do, and that’s to love people,” Grover told Yahoo. “In Scripture, it talks about feeding the hungry, clothing the naked, visiting the sick. Whatever we’ve done to the least of these, it’s as if we’ve done it to Christ himself.”

Authorities were made aware of the homeless people using the area to sleep after a neighbor who owns a fruit stand business next door complained to the county. The neighbor, Chester Bartko, is unhappy because he said some of the homeless people have urinated on his apple tree, causing it to stop producing the fruit. Bartko said his business has been affected in other ways, too.

“We have a greenhouse, and we sell flowers and shrubbery, and the homeless started camping right next to our retail sales area,” Bartko told WMAR.

Representatives of Patapsco were scheduled to appear in court Wednesday to fight the county’s order.

If the congregation puts up a “no trespassing” sign, it can escape the fine.

“Who, then, is welcome to the church?” Grover said. “Mary and Joseph gave birth to the Messiah in a stable because there wasn’t any room for them anywhere else. Here we are in this Christmas season where we celebrate the coming of Christ, and we’re battling whether a person can sleep outside on a bench.”

Source: Church facing $12,000 fine for letting homeless people sleep on property | WSB-TV


Truth Bombs Apologetics 2016-12-15 12:55:11

TRUTH BOMBS: When Christians sit back and do nothing and “play dead” to the evil in this world, we are actually empowering evil over us. Islam is evil.

 

ARTICLE:

JAKARTA // Jakarta’s Christian governor choked back tears as he gave an impassioned defence against blasphemy charges on Tuesday, in a court case that has stoked fears of growing intolerance in the Muslim-majority nation.

Basuki Tjahaja Purnama – the first Christian to govern the capital in more than 50 years – is standing trial accused of insulting the Quran, an offence that carries a five-year jail term.

The governor has apologised for his controversial remarks, which angered Muslims across Indonesia and drew hundreds of thousands to the streets of Jakarta in protests larger than any seen in nearly two decades.

Facing court for the first time, the governor gave an emotionally charged defence against the charges, pausing several times to compose himself as he maintained his innocence.

“I know I have to respect the holy verses of the Quran. I do not understand how I can be said to have offended Islam,” Mr Purnama said, occasionally dabbing his eyes with a handkerchief.

Mr Purnama, better known by his nickname Ahok, ignited a firestorm of criticism in September when he quoted the Islamic holy text while campaigning ahead of elections for the Jakarta governorship.

The governor accused his opponents of using a Quranic verse, which suggests Muslims should not choose non-Muslims as leaders, in order to trick people into voting against him.

Prosecutor Ali Mukartono said the governor had “spoken a lie” and insulted Muslims, adding Indonesia’s top clerical council had declared his remarks blasphemous.

But lawyers for the governor said their client never intended to commit blasphemy, and expressed concern that Mr Purnama’s case was being rushed.

President Joko Widodo and police, under pressure as protesters massed in November, promised to resolve the case quickly.

Critics say the controversy is as much about politics as religion, as the governor’s foes whip up anger to reduce his support ahead of a hotly contested poll in February.

Mr Purnama is running against two Muslim candidates in elections for city hall.

He had long been the favourite to win the election owing to the popularity of his no-nonsense style and determination to clean up Jakarta, a crowded, polluted metropolis of 10 million.

But the scandal has eroded his chances of victory, with his opponents gaining ground since Mr Purnama was named a suspect for blasphemy in November.

Mr Purnama said he was raised a Christian but surrounded by Muslims, including family friends, who had played an enormous mentorship role in his life from when he was a child to adulthood.

The allegations that he had offended their religion hurt him very deeply, his voice cracking as he said: “I am very sad.”

“This accusation is the same as saying I have offended my god parents and siblings, whom I love and they love me back.”

He also listed the many services he had provided for his Islamic constituents, including the construction of mosques, support for religious schools and donation of sacrificial cows on sacred days.

A small band of his supporters kept vigil outside the court as a larger congregation of hardline Islamists chanted “Jail Ahok” and held signs depicting Mr Purnama in prison garb behind bars.

“We will continue to fight this, and won’t be provoked or influenced,” one of Mr Purnama’s supporters said.

The high-profile case has gripped the country. The courtroom was surrounded by police on Tuesday, with the proceedings being broadcast live on national television.

The case has emboldened hardliners, analysts say, who have long opposed a Christian as governor and have used the blasphemy scandal to push their conservative agenda.

Rights groups want Indonesia’s archaic blasphemy laws overhauled, arguing they are exploited to persecute minorities.

The case has adjourned until December 20.


Cairo church bombing kills 25, raises fears among Christians

TRUTH BOMBS: Gee, I wonder what those Christians did to islam to deserve this. The answer is NOTHING. Islam is inherently and fundamentally violent.

ARTICLE: CAIRO (Reuters) – A bombing at Cairo’s largest Coptic cathedral killed at least 25 people and wounded 49, many of them women and children attending Sunday mass, in the deadliest attack on Egypt’s Christian minority in years.

The attack comes as President Abdel Fattah al-Sisi fights battles on several fronts. His economic reforms have angered the poor, a bloody crackdown on the Muslim Brotherhood has seen thousands jailed, whilst an insurgency rages in Northern Sinai, led by the Egyptian branch of Islamic State.

The militant group has also carried out deadly attacks in Cairo and has urged its supporters to launch attacks around the world in recent weeks as it goes on the defensive in its Iraqi and Syrian strongholds.

There was no immediate claim of responsibility, but exiled Brotherhood officials and home-grown militant groups condemned the attack. Islamic State supporters celebrated on social media. “God bless the person who did this blessed act,” wrote one supporter on Telegram.

The explosion took place in a chapel, which adjoins St Mark’s, Cairo’s main cathedral and the seat of Coptic Pope Tawadros II, where security is normally tight.

The United States said it “will continue to work with its partners to defeat such terrorist acts” and that it was committed to Egypt’s security, according to a White House statement on Sunday.

The UN Security Council urged “all States, in accordance with their obligations under international law and relevant Security Council resolutions, to cooperate actively with all relevant authorities” to hold those responsible accountable.

At the Vatican, Pope Francis condemned what he called the latest in a series of “brutal terrorist attacks” and said he was praying for the dead and wounded.

The chapel’s floor was covered in debris from shattered windows, its wooden pews blasted apart, its pillars blackened. Here and there lay abandoned shoes and sticky patches of blood.

“As soon as the priest called us to prepare for prayer, the explosion happened,” Emad Shoukry, who was inside when the blast took place, told Reuters.

“The explosion shook the place … the dust covered the hall and I was looking for the door, although I couldn’t see anything … I managed to leave in the middle of screams and there were a lot of people thrown on the ground.”

Security sources told Reuters at least six children were among the dead, with the blast detonating on the side of the church normally used by women.

They said the explosion was caused by a device containing at least 12 kg (26 pounds) of TNT. Police and armored vehicles rushed to the area, as hundreds of protesters gathered outside the compound demanding revenge for the attack that took place on a Muslim holiday marking the Prophet Mohammad’s birthday and weeks before Christmas. Scuffles broke out with police.

A woman sitting near the cathedral in traditional long robes shouted, “kill them, kill the terrorists, what are you waiting for? … Why are you leaving them to bomb our homes?” “EGYPTIAN BLOOD IS CHEAP”

Though Egypt’s Coptic Christians have traditionally been supporters of the government, angry crowds turned their ire against Sisi, saying his government had failed to protect them.

“As long as Egyptian blood is cheap, down, down with any president,” they chanted. Others chanted “the people demand the fall of the regime”, the rallying cry of the 2011 uprising that helped end Hosni Mubarak’s 30-year rule.

Sisi’s office condemned what it described as a terrorist attack, declaring three days of mourning and promising justice. Al-Azhar, Egypt’s main Islamic center of learning, also denounced the attacks.

Orthodox Copts, who comprise about 10 percent of Egypt’s 90 million people, are the Middle East’s biggest Christian community.

Copts face regular attack by Muslim neighbors, who burn their homes and churches in poor rural areas, usually in anger over an inter-faith romance or the construction of church.

The last major attack on a church took place as worshippers left a New Year’s service in Alexandria weeks before the start of the 2011 uprising. At least 21 people were killed.

Egypt’s Christian community has felt increasingly insecure since Islamic State spread through Iraq and Syria in 2014, ruthlessly targeting religious minorities. In 2015, 21 Egyptian Christians working in Libya were killed by Islamic State.

The attack came two days after six police were killed in two bomb attacks, one of them claimed by Hasm, a recently-emerged group the government says is linked to the Brotherhood, which has been banned under Sisi as a terrorist organization.

The Brotherhood says it is peaceful. Several exiled Brotherhood officials condemned the bombing, as did Hasm and Liwaa’ al-Thawra, another local militant group.

Coptic Pope Tawadros II cut short a visit to Greece after learning of the attack. In a speech aired on state television, he said “the whole situation needs us all to be disciplined as much as possible … strong unity is the most important thing.”

Church officials said earlier on Sunday they would not allow the bombing to create sectarian differences.

But Christians, convinced attacks on them are not seriously investigated, say this time they want justice.

“Where was the security? There were five or six security cars stationed outside so where were they when 12 kg of TNT was carried inside?” said Mena Samir, 25, standing at the church’s metal gate. “They keep telling us national unity, the crescent with the cross … This time we will not shut up.”

(Additional reporting by Arwa Gaballa, Amr Abdallah, Mohamed Abdel Ghany, Amina Ismail, Mostafa Hashem in Cairo, Philip Pullella in Rome, Michelle Nichols in New York and; Yara Bayoumy in Washington; writing by Amina Ismail and Lin Noueihed; editing by Ros Russell and Raissa Kasolowsky)

Source: Cairo church bombing kills 25, raises fears among Christians