A Christian megachurch pastor from China's northern Shanxi province was reportedly released after spending seven years in prison for protesting against the demolition of a house church, and is believed to be showing physical signs of mistreatment.
China Aid, which reports on persecution stories from the world's most populous nation, said that Pastor Yang Rongli and her husband Wang Xiaoguang were arrested back in 2009 following a protest against the Communist Party's crackdown on underground house churches.
The couple were convicted of "gathering a mob to disturb public order" for holding a prayer rally in November of that year, with Yang sentenced to seven years in prison, while Wang was punished for three years. more >>
A North Korean woman who was forced to work in a prison camp where she started a secret Christian church and won converts for the faith despite immense persecution, has revealed that people living under the regime are taught that Christians kill people and drink their blood.
"Christians were not capable of 'revolutionary acts' and so were enemies," explained Hae Woo about how she was taught to hate Christians prior to her conversion.
"Every form of religion, and especially Christianity, was like opium: addictive and destructive. I heard stories about Christians who went to hospitals, enticed people into cellars, killed them there and sucked the blood out of their bodies so that they could sell it. The thought of it was horrifying to me," she said, as reported by the National Catholic Register. more >>
Displaced Iraqi Christians from the Mosul region are still fearful about the prospects of returning home, even though the coalition offensive to reclaim their homelands is underway and despite the fact that some of them have held onto their house keys in hopes that one day it will be safe to return.
While Iraqi-led forces continue to press forward in pursuit of reclaiming Mosul and pushing the Islamic State out of Iraq's second largest city, forces to the East besieged Qaraqosh on Tuesday, a town located 20 miles Southeast of Mosul that was once home to Iraq's largest Christian community.
Before IS rose to power in the Nineveh Province in 2014, the town of Qaraqosh and its surrounding areas were home to about 50,000 Iraqi Christians, totaling about one-quarter of the nation's Christian population, before they were forced to flee to Kurdistan or leave the country in fear of being killed or persecuted for their faith. more >>
As conflicts in Iraq and Syria have forced millions of residents to flee their homes over the last several years, a leading Christian persecution activist has explained that over 80 percent of Christians have left Iraq in the last 13 years, while nearly half of all Christians have fled Syria since 2010.
Before the United States military went into Iraq in 2003, captured dictator Saddam Hussein, and opened up a power vacuum, Iraq was home to about 1.5 million Christians. But after sectarian violence commenced and the brutal Islamic State terrorist organization rose to power in 2014, fewer than 300,000 remain.
Meanwhile, in neighboring Syria, civil war has ravaged the country over the last five years and the rise of IS (also known as ISIS or ISIL) inside the country has compounded problems, thus creating one of the worst refugee crises in the 21st century. more >>
Persecution watchdog group Open Doors has found that at least 743 Christian refugees living in camps in Germany were attacked by Muslim refugees in 2016, pointing to big failures on the part of German authorities when it comes to understanding the role of religion in the lives of refugees.
"The documented cases confirm that the situation of Christian refugees in German refugee shelters is still unbearable. As a minority they are discriminated against, beaten up by and receive death threats from Muslim refugees and partly by the Muslim staff (securities, interpreters, volunteers) on grounds of their religion," found a major survey published by Open Doors Germany earlier in October, representing a number of organizations, such as Persecuted Christians and the Needy, European Mission Society Fellowship, and the Central Council of Oriental Christians in Germany.
"Taking these new cases into consideration there are now 743 Christian refugees who have reported religiously motivated attacks. With more staff at hand, a significantly higher number of cases could have been included in the survey," it added. more >>
Jeffery Woodke, 55, the U.S. missionary who was kidnapped by armed men from his home in Niger, West Africa, on Friday after they killed his two guards, is now believed to be in the hands of a drug-trafficking jihadist group called The Movement for Unity and Jihad in West Africa (MUJAO).
"We think this is the MUJAO," Nigerien Interior Minister Mohamed Bazoum told the AFP. "We followed the kidnappers when they crossed the Malian border. They headed to the Menaka region (eastern Mali ), near the Niger border, an area controlled by the Mujao."
According to the Terrorism Research and Analysis Consortium, the MUJAO is a splinter group of the Organization of al-Qaeda in the Islamic Maghreb, which formally announced its existence following its abduction of three humanitarian workers from a Saharan refugee camp in Tindouf on Oct. 23, 2011. MUJAO's leaders are known to be drug traffickers involved in the drug trade in the Sahel and southern Algeria. more >>