Friday, October 02, 2015
The recent wave of migrants flooding into Europe is now leading to violence against Christians, Yazidis, and Kurds, and President Barack Obama's pledge to accept thousands into the United States is creating opposition in some communities concerned about terror and the potential Islamization of America.
Gatestone Institute reports police in Germany are now proposing that "migrants of different faiths" be housed in separate facilities.That's because Muslims are attacking people of other faiths "with increasing frequency and ferocity."
Germans are beginning to realize that many Muslim migrants are now bringing their sectarian wars to Deutschland. Christians who escaped persecution seeking peace and religious freedom in Europe are enduring the same conditions they experienced in their countries of origin.
Gatestone’s Soeren Kern quoted one Iranian Christian who said, "I thought that in Germany I could finally live my faith without persecution. But in the refugee shelter, I cannot admit that I am a Christian, or I would face threats...They treat me like an animal. They threaten to kill me."
The Gatestone report also tells of a Christian couple from Eritrea attacked by Algerians armed with glass bottles.The angry Muslim asylum seekers ripped a cross from the Christian man's neck, "and stole his money and cellphone."
Kern's report is well documented. It includes a portion of a Die Welt interview with a Christian family from Mosul. The Iraqi refugees were living in a shelter in Bavaria and told of Islamists who threatened the family daily.
"They shouted at my wife and hit my child," the father said. "They say: We will kill you and drink your blood."
Kern also quotes the head of German intelligence, who tells of Salafists disguised as volunteers recruiting migrants to attend "their mosques to recruit them to their cause."
The report also quotes Heinz Buschkowsky, the former mayor of Berlin's Neukölln district who said, "The bulk of migrants who are arriving here cannot be integrated."
Kern details many other incidents. You can read his report here: Gatestone Institute Report.
And what about the United States of America?
Last month, President Obama announced he'll be increasing the number Syrian refugees allowed into the country to at least 10,000 next year. They'll be among the 85,000 refugee slots allotted for 2016.
The president's decision is leading to some resistance on the homefront.
The New York Times reports residents of Twin Falls Idaho--a city that has already accepted "waves" of refugees from Asia, Africa, and Europe have expressed concern about taking in new refugees.
One man asked a State Department official at a recent college forum, "Can you offer guarantees that we'll be safe?" The official, Lawrence Bartlett responded, "Nothing is 100 percent."
He went on to explain that background and security checks are "strong."
Some residents of Twin Falls are backing a ballot initiative proposing that the local refugee program be discontinued. The leader of the drive, Richard L. Martin Jr. told the Times, "There's a lot of concern about radical Islam."
The immigration issue won't be going away--in Twin Falls or elsewhere anytime soon.
As wars and political upheaval around the globe intensify, look for American and European concerns over security, assimilation, and culture to dominate the news and political dialogue in the weeks and months ahead.
Monday, September 14, 2015
ROZKE, Hungary -- The last time I witnessed a massive wave of refugees like this was during the late 1990s in South Sudan.
This large number of migrants, the so-called "newcomers," are stressing this tiny East European nation. But I haven't found their handling poorly managed, or them being mistreated as reported by members of the international media.
Let's look at some facts that may be overlooked by politicians and some members of the press corps: 5,809 crossed the border yesterday here in Rozke. But are they refugees, or migrants?
Usually a refugee is someone who flees war, political upheaval, or mistreatment and crosses the border of their own country to the safety of a neighboring one. While some of these newcomers were refugees in Jordan, Lebanon, or Turkey, they have left those safe havens for economic opportunity and a better life in Western Europe.
I discuss this more with CBN News below. Click play to watch.
The U.N. considers them refugees because they're seeking asylum in Europe. But Hungarians refer to them as migrants because in actuality, that's what they are--they've already found--and lived in a safe place. Many of them are illegal migrants because they have not entered Europe legally. One man told me he paid a smuggler $1,200 to help transport him across the sea from Turkey to Greece.
He told me he was fleeing Daesh (ISIS) and said he had lived and worked for the past two years as a refugee in Turkey. But ISIS did not exist two years ago. It was only in early 2014 that the group organized as the Islamic State. He may have fled war in Syria, but not ISIS.
Let's not be misled. His situation and that of many other migrants is not a matter of life and death.
These migrants are leaving their safe havens for opportunity, and the time is right as Germany and Sweden have put the word out they'll welcome any Syrian who makes it across their borders. But some Middle East migrants already in Sweden have warned the government to enact measures to check the identities and backgrounds of the newcomers to determine if they have fought as jihadists in Syria or Iraq.
Many of those coming across the border here are young Muslim men. They could easily be radicalized by ISIS and other militants once they arrive in Sweden and other places in Western Europe.
Also, is Hungary mistreating the migrants? The Austrian chancellor said the Hungarian response was reminiscent of the Nazis deportation of Jews during the Holocaust. Really Mr. Chancellor? I don't see a comparison.
The migrants I met indicated they did not want to remain in Hungary but desired to join relatives, or find jobs in Western Europe.
I witnessed the orderly loading of migrants onto buses arranged by the Hungarian government. The migrants were taken to processing centers, as required by E.U. law. I saw border police carefully and compassionately assisting the elderly and children as they boarded buses. No one was mistreated.
Yes, these migrants are deserving of our compassion and help. But let's not demonize a tiny country that is doing its best to protect its nation and Europe from chaos and unmanageable consequences.
Watch this brief video of the migrants standing patiently in line and boarding buses. See for yourself. Then look for my upcoming reports on the migrant crisis.
Thursday, September 03, 2015
I'll miss actor Dean Jones who died Tuesday at the age of 84.
Sure, I'll always remember the childhood delight of viewing his family friendly Disney films like "The Love Bug" and "That Darn Cat!"
But, mostly I'll remember him as a rescuer of persecuted Christians. During the late 1990s, shortly after he formed the Christian Rescue Committee (now Jubilee Campaign's CRF), I talked with him about several endangered Christians who resided in a restricted nation and desperately needed help. Jones had compassion for them, and got them out.
I know CRC rescued hundreds, if not thousands, of persecuted Christians. Jones would have rescued millions if he hadn't been limited by money and logistics.
He was a kind and caring man, driven by his Christian faith.
Although Jones entertained millions and made many people laugh, he experienced deep emmotional hurts. His materialistic lifestyle--all the speedy sports cars, the Hollywood parties, and fame did not satisfy him. He still felt an emptiness and suffered with depression. Finally, he turned to Christ and his life changed.
Watch a portion of his Flashback testimony (1997) from our friends at 100 Huntley Street:
Yes, let's remember Dean Jones the talented actor. But instead of what he did for Disney, let's not forget what he did for our suffering brothers and sisters in Christ.
That will last for eternity.
Tuesday, August 25, 2015
Although Iranian house church Pastor Benham Irani has returned to prison, he remains a free man--free in Christ.
Benham is free to share his Christian faith with prison guards and inmates in prison, but not without a cost. He may be beaten, deprived of food or sleep. His prison sentence may be extended as a result.
But Benham Irani is no stranger to suffering. He knows the cost of following Christ and for sharing Him with Muslims in the Islamic Republic.
Last month--perhaps because of the Iran nuclear negotiations--Benham was allowed to leave prison to spend time with his family. Now, after one month on the outside, the government has returned Benham to prison.
Saying goodbye to his wife and two children must not have been easy for the pastor.
According to Present Truth Ministries, Benham Irani is confined to a 40x40 prison cell with 39 other prisoners. Most have been convicted of drug smuggling or for committing violent crimes against society.
Pastor Benham's crime? He was leading Muslims to Christ. Government officials consider that to be against Iranian national security.
Present Truth also says Benham suffers from poor health--pain in his knees and lower back and ongoing digestive track issues. His eyesight is poor.
Pray for Pastor Benham. He has 13 months left to serve of a 6 year sentence. Pray that God will heal him and that he will endure his remaining time as a prisoner of the Islamic Republic. Pray that he will be bolder and stronger in faith. Pray for his family.
And pray for his early release. I'm sure Pastor Benham would not want you to pray that he will be free. Reunited with his family, yes.
Although he is incarcerated once again, he remains a free man in Christ. No one can take that away from him!
Monday, August 17, 2015
Steve Maman is a modern day Oskar Schindler. Only instead of liberating Jews from Nazi Death Camps, he's rescuing Iraqi Yazidis and Christians from ISIS sex slavery:
Maman is a Moroccan Jew who resides in Canada. Eight months ago he founded the organization, Liberation of Christian and Yazidi Children of Iraq (CYCI). Since then, he has freed at least 128 females from the clutches of the Islamic State.
One of them was only 9 years old. She had been raped so brutally, reconstructive surgery was required on her internal organs.
Why is ISIS doing this? Watch as he explains their motivation:
Maman says the going rate for purchasing a Yazidi or Christian sex slave ranges from $50-$500 depending on the age and beauty of the girl. He wants to liberate as many as he can.
Here he talks about Oskar Schindler and how the German industrialist's example motivated him to act:
Schindler liberated at least 1,200 Jews from the Nazis during World War II. His story became the subject of Steven Speilberg's award winning movie "Schindler's List."
Many people looked the other way and ignored the Holocaust against the Jews saying they didn't know it was happening. Maman suggests there's no excuse to ignore the raping and enslavement of Iraqi and Syrian girls by ISIS today in this modern age of television and Internet:
Let's remember to pray for these sex slaves. And these girls--and this modern day Schindler, desperately need our help.
Wednesday, August 12, 2015
Last summer, Christians around the world embraced--and displayed--the Arabic letter nun (N) as a sign of solidarity with Iraqi Christians persecuted by ISIS. The movement became known as #WEAreN. Nun was the letter the Islamic State jihadist painted on Christian homes and businesses to identify them as "Nazerites," or Christian infidels.
Now, a growing number of Christians around the globe are displaying red crosses in solidarity with the Chinese church.
Take a look at what some young Americans did at the recent Rock the Desert music festival in Midland-Odessa, Texas:
Their red crosses are a show of unity against China's forced removal of church crosses. According to China Aid, crosses displayed at more than 1500 churches--most of them in China's Zhejiang province have been forcibly removed in recent months by government officials.
Because Catholic and Protestant registered churches --not just unregistered, underground churches are being targeted, a growing number of Chinese Christians are resisting this latest wave of persecution.
Take a look at this video taken just several days ago in Wenzhou:
Yes, from Zhejiang to West Texas, China's Red Cross movement is now the new "N".
*Photos and video courtesy China Aid
Monday, July 27, 2015
China's recent crackdown against human rights attorneys and advocates (more than 200 arrested and or interrogated since July 9 of this year) and its continued campaign to remove crosses from church buildings (more than 1500) have created some people-powered responses that are now gaining some legs.
In China, a growing number of Christians are now participating in acts of civil disobedience. Some are strapping themselves to crosses to protect them from removal.
One of the most recent occured on July 22 as a large group of Public Security Bureau officers (PSB) forcefully removed the red cross from a church compound at Yongqiang Chuangcun Christian Church, Longwan District, Wenzhou city, Zhejiang Province. In June, after government officials removed the cross from atop the church building, church members stood it up on the church grounds. They strapped themselves to the cross when the PSB came to remove it from the church compound.
Watch this video as other Christians weep and sing hymns as their cross is removed from Tengqiao Church, also in Zheijiang:
In response to this latest wave of persecution against Chinese Protestants and Catholics, some believers are making wooden crosses, painting them red, and are placing them atop their homes and along roadways.
Take a look here:
So, what should be done by the United States? Chinese President Xi Jinping is scheduled for an official state visit with President Obama in September.
Should Xi be given the red carpet treatment by the U.S. president? Listen to how Rep. Chris Smith, R-N.J., and China Aid President Bob Fu suggest America should respond:
Meantime, pray for wisdom for President Obama and other U.S. leaders. Pray for Chinese Christians, the human rights attorneys, and others who are now experiencing what may be the worst wave of persecution since China's Cultural Revolution.
Chinese government officials launched the crackdown because they fear Christianity and outspoken opposition from human rights advocates.
But this latest crackdown may actually be creating the very situation Beijing was hoping to prevent.
Wednesday, July 22, 2015
It's been a long and difficult six years for Pakistani Christian Asia Bibi.
And now the Supreme Court of Pakistan has overturned both the sessions and high court decisions to execute Asia for comitting blasphemy against the Islamic prophet Mohammed.
Yes, thank God!
But as this gives Asia, her family, and Pakistani Christians new hope, let's not rush to judgement for Bibi and the future of the church in Pakistan. The high court has yet to set a new trial date for Asia and that means she may languish in prison for possibly many more months (or years) while this case drags on.
And after a new hearing, if she is released based on time served, she'll face the danger of possible execution--not from the Pakistani government, but by militant Muslims pledged to murder her for committing blasphemy against Mohammed.
But Bibi will have hope of resuming a new life with her family if she is moved covertly from prison.
Several years ago, I interviewed Asia's husband Ashiq and their two biological daughters, Isha and Isham. They've moved from place to place over the past six years because of threats against them for being relatives of the "infidel" woman who comitted blaspemy against Mohammed. Asia was arrested in 2009 after she verbally defended Jesus and her Christian faith when it was challenged by some hostile Muslim co-workers.
Please pray for Asia, that God will give her good health and perseverance during the horrid imprisonment she'll continue to endure. Pray that her faith will remain strong and that God will keep working on the hearts and lives of her family members. Pray Asia will be a bold witness for Christ.
Continue to pray for Pakistan's minority Christian community. They face discrimination and persecution in their daily lives in a country dominated by many hostile and intolerant Muslims.
And watch my interview with Asia's family members from August 2011:
Thursday, July 16, 2015
The Chinese government is at it once again - this time, launching the biggest crackdown against human rights advocates since 1983.
That according to Bob Fu, president of the Midland, Texas-based China Aid organization.
This latest wave of persecution is extensive and involves the arrest, detention, interrogation, and even disappearance of more than 200 attorneys and human rights workers in more than 24 Chinese provinces and municipalities.
The roundup began last July 9 with the arrest of human rights lawyer Wang Yu. After she disappeared, more than 100 attorneys signed a letter demanding to know her whereabouts. That's when many of the signatories were targeted and some also "went missing."
The Chinese government contends many of the lawyers have received support from foreigners and are involved in a plot to cause public disturbance throughout China.
Why is the crackdown happening now? The new National Security Law grants officials more flexibility in targeting perceived threats to Chinese Communist Party rule. Also, the recent economic downturn may be to blame. Party officials fear a few lawyers--and perhaps Christians--could easily stir up public sentiment against the government at a time when many citizens are suffering from unemployment, or financial loss.
In addition to the crackdown against the human rights lawyers (many have taken religious liberties cases) is a continued crackdown against government registered, Three Self Patriotic Churches. Several have been destroyed in recent months, and at least 1,200 (according to China Aid sources) have been forced to remove crosses from atop their church buildings.
However, there is some good news. The Chinese church will continue to grow despite--and because of--this latest round of persecution. Keep praying--and watch my interview with Bob Fu to learn more.
Friday, July 10, 2015
Occasionally during my international travels, I meet people who touch my heart and encourage me to remain strong in my Christian faith. I met such a person during my most recent visit to Iraq--only this time it was not an adult who inspired me; it was a young, 11-year old from Qaraqoush.
Last summer, Islamic State jihadists chased Maryam Behnam and her family from their home. They're now among more than a million displaced Iraqis living in the northern state of Kurdistan.
This little Iraqi girl says she forgives ISIS and shares words of faith which she says were given to her by The Holy Spirit.
If you missed it, you can view the July 10 edition of Christian World News to see my recent report about Maryam.
And you won't want to miss watching this video to hear the angelic voices of Maryam and her 10-year-old sister Zamarod as they sing one of their favorite Christian hymns: