LOS ANGELES – Friends and family of two Indian Christians arrested after a prayer meeting in Saudi Arabia in January have tried in vain to secure their release.
The two Christians were incarcerated for attending the prayer meeting with other Indian nationals and accused of converting Muslims to Christianity, though the government has not produced formal charges, sources said.
Yohan Nese, 31 and Vasantha Sekhar Vara, 28, were arrested on Jan. 21 when mutaween (religious police) raided an apartment where the two had lingered after attending the prayer meeting. Religious police interrogated and beat them to the point that they suffered injuries, according to sources. During this time, religious police who were cursing at them allegedly tore up and trampled on Bibles and Christian material they had confiscated, said a source who spoke to the men. more >>
With hundreds of listed Sharia-compliant companies in India’s stock exchanges, Islamic investments from Asia, the Gulf and Europe may soon begin to flood the Indian market. This will boost India’s economy, but also intensify security concerns.
Sharia or Islamic law prohibits Muslims from investing in companies that earn profits from interest or the sale of goods or services deemed unlawful in the Islamic faith, such as alcohol and pork. Sharia-compliant companies, screened by Islamic finance monitors, comply with Islamic canonical law to allow devout Muslims to invest.
Though known as “ethical investing,” Sharia finance raises eyebrows among security agencies. more >>
NEW DELHI – Right-wing terrorists played a key role in attacking and killing Christians in Orissa and Karnataka states in 2008, one of the Hindu extremist suspects in anti-Muslim bomb blasts has told investigators, leading to renewed demands for a probe by India’s anti-terror agency.
Pragya Singh Thakur, arrested for planning 2008 bombings targeting Muslims in west India, told the National Investigation Agency (NIA) that Lt. Col. Prasad Srikant Purohit had “masterminded” the 2008 anti-Christian violence in Orissa and Karnataka, The Indian Express daily reported on Wednesday (March 23). Purohit is accused along with Thakur for the 2008 bombings of Muslims.
Thakur had met with Purohit after the August 2008 Kandhamal attacks against Christians began and told her “he was into big things like blasts, etc., and had masterminded the Orissa and Karnataka ‘disturbances,’” the national daily reported. more >>
NEW DELHI – Hindu extremists have attacked Koya tribal Christians in villages in a remote area of Orissa state at least 15 times since Dec. 8, 2010, Christian leaders said.
In the latest incident in Murliguda, about 80 kilometers (50 miles) from Malkangiri town, about 60 assailants from the Hindu extremist Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh on Feb. 23 damaged the eardrums of Bhadan Hontal and beat another Christian, Markari Soma, until he fell unconscious, according to a report by the Malkangiri District Christian Manch (MDCM, with Manch meaning “Forum”).
Christian women, some pregnant, as well as children were among those injured in the attacks on churches, reported Pastor Vijay Purusu of Bethel Church and president of the MDCM. The spate of attacks began on Dec. 8 in Katanpali village, when about 35 Hindu extremists stormed the house of Pastor Mark Markani and beat him. more >>
The Evangelical Free Church of America, in partnership with national believers in India, plans to open a women’s center next week to provide a physical and spiritual haven for victims of human trafficking.
The launch date for Mutki Women’s Center in India is set for March 15.
Sharon (last name withheld for security reasons), a leader for the project said, “Still several things need to come together but March 15th is definitely the tentative plan.” more >>
A newly elected head of an Indian Islamic seminary, considered second in importance to al-Azhar in Egypt, is expected to quit soon because his liberal views have enraged a conservative lobby, which has the backing of an anti-American Pakistani cleric who allegedly helped create the Taliban in the 1990s.
The governing council of the Darul-Uloom Deoband seminary, which has a mass following amongst Muslims around the world, has formed a committee to look into the allegation that Vice Chancellor Maulana Ghulam Mohammad Vastanvi defied the traditions of his predecessors.
Commonly referred to as Deoband, Dar-ul-Uloom is situated in Deoband town in northern India, around 100 miles from New Delhi. It is widely believed that Deoband brand of Sunni Islam inspired the Taliban movement in Afghanistan, which seminary’s leaders deny. more >>