Persecution updates

I’ve been delinquent in posting my articles about international persecution lately, so here are the stories I’ve written over the past four weeks.

Tanzanian militants mimic Boko Haram’s terror tactics

Christians and Muslims in the African nation of Tanzania united to call for a ban on an Islamic organization they likened to terrorist group Boko Haram.

UNDUGU, a non-governmental organization made up of Christians and Muslims, wants the Islamic separatist group Uamsho banned from the country, All Africa reported. Uamsho is a registered political party in Zanzibar, a semi-autonomous island off Tanzania’s coast with its own parliament and president. Uamsho, which means “the awakening,” agitates for Zanzibar’s full autonomy, and Christians on the island blame Uamsho for increased persecution. Continue reading at

U.S. government: Worldwide religious intolerance growing

Last week, the U.S. Commission on International Freedom (USCIRF) added eight countries—Egypt, Iraq, Nigeria, Pakistan, Syria, Tajikistan, Turkmenistan, and Vietnam—to the list of countries with the worst religious liberty violations in the world.

Christian groups agreed with the new designations, noting the recent rise of persecution in Syria and Pakistan. The new countries join China, North Korea, Iran, Burma, Eritrea, Saudi Arabia, Sudan, and Uzbekistan as countries of particular concern (CPC). USCIRF monitors international abuses of religious freedom and puts violators into two categories: Tier 1 means the government of the country perpetrates or tolerates abuses of religious freedom that are systemic, ongoing, and egregious. Tier 2 means one of those three apply, but the countries do not yet meet the level required to designate them as CPCs. Continue reading at

Al-Shabaab militants kill Somali legislators over ‘invasion of Christians’

Islamic extremists with al-Shabaab claimed responsibility for last week’s killing of two Somali legislators who had voted to accept financial support from the West. The al-Qaeda-linked group threatened to continue the violence.

In a radio broadcast, al-Shabaab representatives said the group was behind the two gunmen who shot and killed Abdiaziz Isaq Mursal as he stepped out of his home April 22. They ambushed him in the Madina district of Mogadishu, according to senior police officer Ali Hassan. Continue reading at

Chinese Christians form human shield to protect church

In Wenzhou, a Chinese port city nicknamed “Jerusalem of the East,” thousands of Chinese Christians stood guard around the government-sanctioned Sanjiang Church in early April after government officials marked it for demolition. Parishioners prepared to rally again this week after government officials reneged on a deal with church leaders to leave the building mostly intact.

On Monday, police blocked the road to the church and officials threatened to remove the cross on the church’s roof, turn the first floor into a public parking lot, and use the second floor as a public library, leaving only the church’s third floor for worship, according to International Christian Concern. Christians took to social media on Monday with tips for enduring water cannons and pepper spray, although the protests two weeks ago were peaceful. Continue reading at

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