Christian Persecution Continues Unabated

They’re at it again. From thestar.com

Police stand by as church torched, desecrated

ALGIERS, ALGERIA – Islamists looted and burned a Protestant church in Algeria, the congregation’s leader said Monday, suggesting they were inspired by a recent spate of religious intolerance in the Arab and Muslim world.

The church – hosted in an apartment block in the city of Tizi Ouzou some 100 kilometres (60 miles) east of Algiers, the Algerian capital – was ransacked and set ablaze on Saturday night, several Algerian newspapers said.

The independent El Watan daily published a picture of a smouldering pile of pulpits and desks that had been brought outside for destruction. It quoted the pastor of the local Pentecostal community, Mustapha Krireche, as saying worshippers fled the temple because local police had left a gathering of anti-Christian rioters unchecked.

The congregation was worshipping in the apartment block because it had not received official government approval to operate a church.

Mustapha Krim, the head of the Algerian Protestant Church association, said in a telephone interview with The Associated Press on Monday that looters also set fire to a pile of Bibles and religious textbooks, and desecrated Christian crosses.
He said the looting showed “Islamist intolerance considers there is no room for Christian religious practices in Algeria,” and alleged it was “fuelled by what just happened in Egypt,” where six people were killed in a church shooting during Christmas celebrations.

In mainly Muslim Malaysia, nine churches have been attacked recently – the assailants used firebombs and in one case, paint – amid violence against the country’s Christian minority.

The Protestant Church in Algeria filed five separate complaints for arson and looting with local authorities, Krim said Monday. “Authorities don’t want to get involved because they’re worried of getting in trouble with the Islamists,” Krim said.

There was no official comment from Algeria’s government on the church looting. A senior police officer in the town of Tizi Ouzou confirmed the police hadn’t intervened, despite the complaints. He said authorities couldn’t intervene because the church hadn’t been authorized as a place of worship. “What happened is appalling, but the apartment wasn’t an authorized house to practice a religion,” the police officer said, requesting anonymity because Algerian law bars security forces from talking to the media.

The officer said local authorities had ordered the church to shut down in November because the apartment hadn’t received approval to function as a place of worship.
The officer denied police were caving in to Islamist pressure, pointing out that security forces regularly battle Islamist militants in the mountains around Tizi Ouzou, considered the stronghold of the local Al Qaeda offshoot.

Krim said the 300 Pentecostal practitioners in the area used the apartment because authorities had refused to provide them with another venue.

An overwhelmingly Muslim nation where Islam is the religion of state, Algeria allows the practice of other faiths in authorized venues. A few Roman Catholic churches are still open, left over from the French colonial era.

But small Protestant groups have been accused of proselytizing, or trying to convert Muslims to Christianity, which is illegal in Algeria. Several Protestants were prosecuted last year for illegally carrying Bibles or converting people to Christianity.

Krim said the Algerian Protestant Association was officially registered in 2003 and is tolerated by authorities, but often turned down by the Ministry of Religious Affairs when it files requests for houses of worship.

What was the majority faith in Algeria? Answers on a postcard.

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Ditch supertax to stop 9,000 bankers leaving City

So says Boris Johnson according to the London Evening Standard

Boris Johnson threw down the gauntlet to shadow chancellor George Osborne today, urging him to rule out extending the supertax on bonuses.

The Mayor is seeking reassurances that Gordon Brown’s tax would not be imposed by a Tory government. The showdown comes after Mr Johnson claimed that up to 9,000 bankers could leave London to escape paying.

Only one thing I have to say;

TAXI! 

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In the bleak midwinter

An apt video and hymn for today as we look out on the snow, beautiful to our eyes but deadly to the poor.

In the bleak midwinter, frosty wind made moan,
Earth stood hard as iron, water like a stone;
Snow had fallen, snow on snow, snow on snow,
In the bleak midwinter, long ago.
Our God, heaven cannot hold Him, nor earth sustain;
Heaven and earth shall flee away when He comes to reign.
In the bleak midwinter a stable place sufficed
The Lord God Almighty, Jesus Christ.
Enough for Him, Whom cherubim, worship night and day,
Breastful of milk, and a mangerful of hay;
Enough for Him, Whom angels fall before,
The ox and ass and camel which adore.
Angels and archangels may have gathered there,
Cherubim and seraphim thronged the air;
But His mother only, in her maiden bliss,
Worshipped the beloved with a kiss.
What can I give Him, poor as I am?
If I were a shepherd, I would bring a lamb;
If I were a Wise Man, I would do my part;
Yet what I can I give Him: give my heart.

Don’t forget my other blogs!

chrisportraitImage by theukhalls via Flickr

You can find a bit of politics here at Lansbury’s Lido.

If you fancy something technical then perhaps have a look at Plans to Prosper.

Or if it’s spiritual then why not head over to The Sign Of The Cross?

Shameless self promotion I know but at least you can see a more full picture of who I am.

A Warning to the Speculators

Hugo Chavez in visita a MilanoImage by rogimmi via Flickr

For whatever reason Venezuela is devaluing their currency. Although this is a story in itself the interesting part for me is the threat from the Venezuelan government and Hugo Chavez to appropriate the assets of anyone using this devaluation to trouser some easy profits off the backs of the rank and file Venezuelan. As the BBC News reports:

Mr Chavez dismissed the criticism on Sunday on his weekly television and radio programme, Alo Presidente, saying there was “no reason for anybody to be raising prices”.

He urged his supporters to “publicly denounce the speculator” and warned business owners that he had asked the military to formulate an “offensive plan” that would see them “take over any business, of any size, that plays the bourgeois speculation game”.

“I want the National Guard to hit the streets with the people to fight against speculation and take measures,” he said, without specifying.

Would that our government had the balls to confront the speculators and the money men that bring such misery to our own corner of the world. Instead they continue to line their own pockets and ensure that their pensions and post-government directorships are all lined up like toy soldiers for their own future. Truly appropriating the assets that belong to the people and the world for their own pleasure.

Suffering

Derivative Work. Cardinal Joseph Ratzinger (Po...Image via Wikipedia

Sometimes we hear words that touch us in way that our only response can be “Oh God!” But it’s an exclamation of surprise that something so deep can be communicated so simply.

One such of these is from Pope Benedict XVI.

“Even suffering is part of the truth of our life. Thus, trying to shield the youngest from every difficulty and experience of suffering, we risk creating, despite our good intentions, fragile persons of little generosity: The capacity to love, in fact, corresponds to the capacity to suffer, and to suffer together.” ~Benedict XVI

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Persecution of Christians

There have been a number of news headlines that have caught my attention this Christmas in relation to the persecution of Christians.

Image via Wikipedia

First off there is the massacre of Coptic Christians leaving Midnight Mass in the town of Nag Hamadi, 40 miles from the ancient ruins of Luxor. The Daily Telegraph gives the story:

Thousands of Coptic Christians clashed with police in southern Egypt on Thursday during a funeral procession for seven people shot dead as they left a Christmas service hours earlier.

And in Malaysia churches have been firebombed, as reported by the BBC.

Three churches have been attacked in Malaysia’s capital Kuala Lumpur, ahead of protests by Muslim groups.

The administrative offices of one church were destroyed by a firebomb attack and one of the other two churches attacked was slightly damaged.

Some Muslim groups are angry at a court decision allowing non-Muslims to use the word Allah to refer to God.

The government of the mainly Muslim nation has condemned the attacks on the churches and vowed to take action.

About 60% of Malaysians are Malay Muslims and the government relies on their vote.

And in the good old UK the trendies and the militant atheists still continue to try and marginalise and disenfranchise anyone showing a sniff of Christian faith as per the title in the Daily Telegraph.

BBC is driving religion ‘to the margins’, says Simon Mayo

I have this horrible feeling that this will be the decade of persecution of Christians, especially in Muslim controlled lands and also a big ramp up of the marginalisation of Christians in the UK.

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