Monday, 19 May 2014

COUNTRY OF THE WEEK


It's the beginning of another week and as we go about with our activities, The CSW-Nigeria team,(staff, volunteers, coordinators , partners and friends) would be praying for Nigeria. please be faithful in doing so and don't hesitate to drop a comment where ever the need arises. God bless you as you do so!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

NIGERIA : ( capital – Abuja)
 
Population :   168,833,776 
Official Language:  English Language
Religion : Muslim 50%, Christian 40%, indigenous beliefs 10%
Location : Location: Nigeria is located in West Africa on the Gulf of Guinea between Benin and Cameroon, has an area of 923,768 square kilometers, including about 13,000 square kilometers of water. Nigeria shares borders with Cameroon (1,690 kilometers) in the east, Niger (1,497 kilometers) in the north, Benin (773 kilometers) in the west, and Chad (87 kilometers) in the northeast.

PRAYER REQUEST
1.       Pray and ask for God's mercy upon our nation, our leaders and also Pray for the Church to be strong in their lamentation prayer, Let God arise and defend his name (Psalms 3:7). .
2.       Pray for God to remove violent spiritual roots that have been allowed to grow in the nation; pray that every altar raised against God’s purposes for Nigeria shall fail.
3.       Pray for God to strengthen the military who are struggling to protect civilians from this insurgency. Pray for God to give the government His strategies for victory over death and destruction. (Pr.11:11)

  1. Pray for our military and security personnel who are obviously ill equipped and not skilled in fighting terrorism. They need help from experts and advanced countries of the world. Pray for Nigeria's armed forces who face an uphill battle against the insurgents. (Ps.58:9). Pray protection for communities across the country's porous desert borders. (Ps.58:10,11)
  2. Prayer for God's judgement on Boko Haram, their sponsors and supporters .Pray for the girls' release, pray for the countries that have pledged to assist track the abducted girls and to assist us fight terrorism. Pray that God will help them to track and release these girls. Pray for the parents of the victims.
  3.  for their healing from the de-humanisation , anguish and humiliation and for justice to be served.
  4. Prayer for the National Conference that is still going on in Abuja (federal capital).
  5. Pray for peaceful elections in 2015.

CHINA: CSW BRIEFING EXPLORES TENSIONS BEHIND ZHEJIANG CHURCH DEMOLITIONS



 
new briefing by Christian Solidarity Worldwide (CSW) analyses the context and possible reasons behind the demolition of churches and removal of religious symbols in Zhejiang, China, and recommends consistent dialogue between the authorities and religious leaders. 

The briefing highlights that “the demolitions in Zhejiang and the reaction of the Christians there highlight tensions between churches and the state, but also between local and provincial authorities, and between the approaches to different religions.”

Wenzhou, known as “China’s Jerusalem”, has a large Christian population and numerous churches. From April to May 2014, at least 20 churches in Wenzhou and elsewhere in Zhejiang Province have had all or parts of their structure removed or demolished, or have been threatened with demolition. The churches affected include both Protestant and Catholic, registered and unregistered. Some have moderate numbers, while others are mega-churches with hundreds or thousands of members. 

Most recently, China Aid reported the demolition of two churches in Longwan, Wenzhou on 8 and 9 May. Longwan is home to several churches established by missionaries over 100 years ago; one of the demolished churches, Shangwan Church, was built in 1868. 

The most well-known demolition occurred on 28 April at 3000-member Sanjiang Church. Weeks earlier, the church leaders had entered into negotiations with the local authorities in an attempt to avoid the demolition of the church and the removal of its cross. It is unclear whether officials ignored an agreement made at this time, or whether the deal “broke down”. 

Some Zhejiang Christians believe the removal of crosses and the demolition of some churches was triggered by a visiting provincial secretary’s complaint about the number of Christian crosses in the province. The authorities responsible for the demolitions maintain that they are simply complying with the Three Rectifications and One Demolition campaign targeting illegal structures. It is noticeable, however, that in the majority of cases, it is specifically the cross, or another religious symbol, which has been hidden or removed. 

Freedom of Religion or Belief in China is a complex issue. According to the briefing, “while there has been a de facto improvement in the level of religious freedom enjoyed by Protestant churches in urban areas such as Beijing and Shanghai, this has been not reflected in, or the result of, improvements in the law.” Nor is this the case in rural, remote or conflict-prone areas, where Christians continue to experience violations of their freedom of religion or belief. 

CSW’s Chief Operating Officer Andy Dipper said, “This timely briefing explores the context in which these worrying incidents take place and contains a number of important recommendations. We urge the Chinese authorities to make consistent efforts to enter into dialogue with religious leaders on all matters relating to their activities, with a view to promoting mutual trust and positive relations; to provide clear instructions about the process of applying for permission to build a religious structure; and to establish a complaints mechanism for religious buildings which have been refused permission to build.” 
 

Monday, 7 April 2014

COUNTRY OF THE WEEK


It's the beginning of another week and as we go about with our activities, The CSW-Nigeria team,(staff, volunteers, coordinators , partners and friends) would be praying for Eritrea. please be faithful in doing so and don't hesitate to drop a comment where ever the need arises. God bless you as you do so!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!


ERITREA ( capital –ASMARA)
Population :   6.131 million
Official Language: Tigrigna Language, English Language, Arabic Language
Religion : The north is associated with Islam as the dominant religion ( mostly Sunni Muslims )and the south with Christianity  as the second-largest religion in the country and Other indigenous religious groups include Buddhists, Bahais, followers of the International Society for Krishna Consciousness, and Bossonists, who follow traditions of the Akan ethnic group.

Location : Eritrea is located along the Red Sea, north of the Horn of Africa, between Djibouti and Sudan. Eritrea’s longest border is shared with Ethiopia to the south, Eritrea shares a 1,626-kilometer border with three nations: Sudan to the north and west (605 kilometers), Ethiopia to the south (912 kilometers), and Djibouti to the southeast (109 kilometers).

Eritrea is one of the world’s most repressive regimes, often likened to North Korea. It is a single party state dominated by a dictatorial president, and the military pervades every aspect of society, including the economy. The regime demands total allegiance, thus Christians are perceived as a threat to national unity due to their ultimate allegiance to a higher being.

PRAYER REQUEST
  • Pray for the Lord’s intervention in Eritrea and for the salvation of the president and other influential government leaders.
  • Pray That the Lord will sustain all those believers who are being kept in prison; Particularly for the wives and children of jailed church leaders to stay strong in the Lord.
  • Pray For underground churches and their leaders to experience God’s protection from prying eyes so that they can continue to minister to people.
  • Pray That the Lord will provide for His children in the face of food shortages.
  • Pray That the Lord will build His Church in Eritrea for His own glory.
  • Pray For protection of and provision for Eritrean Christian refugees residing in other countries.

NIGERIA: CURFEW IN KAFANCHAN FOLLOWING PROTESTS.


A 24-hour curfew was imposed on Kafanchan, Jema'a Local Government Area,a major town in southern Kaduna on 2 April after local youths reacted angrily to the discovery by law enforcement agents of weaponry in a truck carrying about 22 Fulani herdsmen to the area in a truck.

 
According to an eyewitness report received by Christian Solidarity Worldwide -Nigeria (CSW-N), following the discovery the youth of Kafanchan took to the streets demanding instant justice. The military responded by shooting at the protesters and wounding several, many of whom received medical attention. However a confirmed report states that two protesters died.

The southern part of Kaduna State, which has witnessed several deadly attacks by Fulani herdsmen since 2011, saw a steep rise in this violence during 2014.

The most recent violence involved the destruction of three communities and the killing of over a hundred people in the Manchock area of Kaura Local Government Area (LGA). Amidst heightened local anger at a seeming official inability to prevent these attacks, on 30 March soldiers from the Nigerian Army raided Ladunga Village, an infamous Fulani settlement in Kachia LGA, southern Kaduna State, arresting 18 people and recovering several weapons. On 31 March, a major military offensive was launched to end similar attacks in Benue, Plateau and Nasarawa States.

Rev Yunusa Nmadu, CEO of CSW-Nigeria said: "While commending recent pro-active interventions by security operatives to avert violence, we urge the government to illustrate consistent commitment to ending the culture of impunity surrounding attacks on rural communities, as insufficient intervention encourages such violence to continue. In addition, while understanding the source of the deep frustrations felt by young people in southern Kaduna in the face of the continuing attacks against their communities and deeply lamenting any deaths or injuries ensuing from the events, we caution against communities taking the law into their own hands, as this inevitably leads to further violence that undermines the rule of law." we also urge the government to take necessary precautions to safeguard lives and properties.
 

Wednesday, 26 March 2014

KENYA: SIX DEAD IN GUN ATTACK ON CHURCH NEAR MOMBASA .


The death toll in a gun attack on 23 March on the Joy in Jesus Christ Church in Likoni, near the Kenyan port city of Mombasa, has risen to six, after four victims died in hospital. 

At least two gunmen are reported to have been involved in the attack, which occurred at around 10 am. According to eyewitnesses, the men mingled with the congregation before opening fire indiscriminately with a pistol and an AK-47 machine gun, killing two people and injuring 21 others, eight of whom are still hospitalised. Eyewitnesses report that after opening fire, the men casually walked away from the scene, mingling with the public. According to one local media source, the gunmen subsequently attempted to storm another church, but left quickly after realising that it was guarded by police officers.

Although no group has as yet claimed responsibility for the attack, it is widely suspected to be the work of the Somali Islamist terror group al Shabaab or its sympathisers.  One hundred suspects have reportedly been detained for questioning by the police in connection with the attack; however the main culprits are suspected to still be at large.

The attack on Likoni comes a week after Mombasa police seized a stolen car full of powerful explosives and arrested suspected terrorists, two of whom were later charged with terrorism-related offences. It is the third significant religiously motivated attack to occur in the Likoni area.  On Christmas Eve 2013, assailants torched Christ’s Outreach Church in the Mweza area of Likoni Constituency. In June, at least 16 people were injured when an explosive device was thrown at an outdoor event at Earthquake Miracle Ministries in the Mrima area by two people on a motorcycle. 

According to Kenyan police and intelligence sources, a combination of an active Al Shabaab cell and militant separatists is the source of much of the violence, particularly in Mombasa.

Other religiously motivated attacks in the area include an attempt to burn down the Baptist Church in Kisauni in October 2013. This was followed by the killings of Redeemed Gospel Church Pastor Charles Matole in Kisauni and Pastor Ebrahim Kidata of East African Pentecostal Church in Kilifi. Prior to his death, Pastor Kidata reportedly received threatening text messages and had informed his wife that his life was in danger. The pastors’ murders followed rioting by Muslim youths angered at the killing of radical Sheikh Ibrahim Omar and three others on a road near Mombasa. In early December 2013 a text message suspected to have been leaked by Kenyan intelligence warned that jihadis led by a Mr Hassan Suleiman Mwayuyu, a wanted terrorist who was gunned down soon thereafter, were planning an arson campaign against churches in Likoni, Kisauni, Changamwe and Kwale. Subsequently, on 14 February 2014, Lawrence Kazungu Kadenge, an assistant pastor at Glory of God Ministries Church in Mombasa, was murdered while guarding the church building.

Daniel Sinclair, Communications Director at Christian Solidarity Worldwide (CSW), said, “We extend our condolences to the families bereaved in the appalling attack on the Joy in Jesus Christ church service yesterday. The dangerous elements targeting the Christian community also represent a threat to security and rule of law in the country, which affects every citizen. We urge the Kenyan government to ensure that churches in Mombasa are adequately protected.  We also urge the government to act swiftly to bring the gunmen to justice and deal robustly with the militant elements who are not only determined to deny the full enjoyment of freedom of religion to local Christians, but who also endanger the peace and security of the nation.”

PAKISTAN: GROUP CAPTAIN CECIL CHAUDHRY POSTHUMOUSLY HONOURED.w

 
 
Group Captain (Rtd) Cecil Chaudhry was posthumously awarded the President's Award for Pride of Performance, one of the highest civil awards in Pakistan, by the President of Pakistan on Pakistan Day on 23 March.

At the investiture ceremony at the Governor’s House in Lahore, Cecil Chaudhry received the award on behalf of his father, who was recognised for his outstanding contributions in the fields of Education and Human Rights.

Cecil Chaudhry, who died on 13 April 2012, was a Catholic who had a distinguished career in the Pakistani Air Force, and who was respected by Pakistanis of all faiths. Following his distinguished military service in the Indo-Pakistani wars of 1965 and 1971, he was awarded the Sitara-e-Jurat (Star of Courage) one of Pakistan’s highest military awards, and the Sitara-e-Basalat (Star of Good Conduct) for distinguished acts of gallantry, valor and courage. Group Captain Chaudhry later dedicated his life to education, as the headmaster of two prestigious schools, and to his work as a human rights activist who fought over many years for the rights of all minorities in Pakistan.

Michelle Chaudhry, daughter of Group Captain Cecil Chaudhry and President of The Cecil & Iris Chaudhry Foundation (CICF), said: “My father excelled in everything he chose to do; and once again it is in recognition of his outstanding contributions in both the fields of Education and Human Rights that the Government of Pakistan has awarded him with one of the highest civil awards of the country. This is an extremely emotional moment for us as a family; we stand humbled and honored. Even after his passing away our father continues to give us reasons to hold our heads high with pride. It is a moment of great pride not only for our family but for the nation at large and the religious minorities of Pakistan in particular. My father is one of the few people in this country to be awarded with both the country’s highest Gallantry and Civil awards”.  

CSW's Special Ambassador Stuart Windsor, a longstanding friend and colleague of Cecil Chaudhry, said: “We are delighted that Cecil’s work and contribution to human rights in Pakistan have been recognised at the highest level. He touched so many lives in Pakistan and across the world, and left a rich legacy of education and human rights advocacy that continues in the work of the Cecil and Iris Foundation. It was a privilege to know him; he was a man of great courage and integrity who is greatly missed.”

CAR: CSW URGES PEACEKEEPING FORCE ON ANNIVERSARY OF SELEKA COUP


On the anniversary of the coup that brought the Seleka coalition to power in the Central African Republic (CAR), Christian Solidarity Worldwide (CSW) is urging UN member states to ensure that the Secretary General’s proposal for a significant increase in the number of peacekeepers for the country is swiftly implemented.

In the last twelve months, the CAR has had three governments and a political coup.  It is currently one of the world’s most precarious security and humanitarian situations.

Despite decades of instability and upheaval, the CAR had no previous history of sectarian violence, with conflicts being characterized by struggles for political power and control of resources. However, from 10 December 2012, when fighting broke out between the Bozize government and the Seleka alliance that eventually overthrew him, local sources increasingly noted the targeting of the Christian population. Between 10 December 2012 and 5 December 2013, an estimated 5,000 to 10,000 mostly non-Muslims and mainly Christian people are reported to have been killed by Seleka.

The targeted violence worsened after Seleka's seizure of power on 24 March 2013, ultimately leading to retributive violence by anti-Balaka militia groups, which have been responsible for significant human rights violations since December 2013, including ethnic and religious cleansing. However, reports also indicate that the targeting of Christian communities continues in areas out of reach of international peacekeepers and media. For example, in Bantangafo rape is being used as a weapon of war, with reports of women being raped "en masse."

Although the anti-Balaka groups have been widely described as “Christian militia”, in reality they are composed of pre-existing village defence groups bolstered by former soldiers loyal to deposed President Bozize, former Seleka fighters, angry youths seeking revenge for Seleka violations, and common criminals.

Religious leaders in the CAR have condemned the violence and are actively working towards reconciliation. Following a meeting with the Archbishop and Imam of Bangui, and the President of the Evangelical Churches, UN Secretary General Ban Ki Moon said that “the conflict in the Central African Republic is not about religion" and that "religious and ethnic affiliations are being manipulated for political purposes." He also urged the Security Council to act quickly on recommendations for a United Nations peacekeeping operation.

CSW’s Chief Executive Mervyn Thomas said, “We welcome the proposal by the UN Secretary General for the creation of an almost 12,000 strong peacekeeping force, and urge that this is assembled, resourced and sent as soon as possible to support existing peacekeepers in bringing about desperately needed security, particularly in rural areas and the north. The government of the Central African Republic must be assisted in its efforts to restore rule of law and civil administration and to ensure that all perpetrators of violence and human rights violations are brought to justice, regardless of religion, political affiliation or ethnicity.  The government must also be assisted with humanitarian assistance for displaced civilians, while local reconciliation initiatives must be encouraged and resourced.”