Wednesday, August 28, 2013

URGENT: Activists Call to HALT STONING of a Man and Woman in Iran

Shabnam Assadollahi shares:

Activists Call To Halt Stoning of A Man and a Woman In Iran
According to HRANA news agency, a man and a woman, Mr. Ali Sai Bashsiz and Ms. Zahra Pour Sai have been convicted of adultery by the head of the second branch of the criminal court of the province of East Azerbaijan and have been sentenced to stoning.

The lawyer of the accused had asked for an appeal shortly after the verdict, which was rejected by Morteza Fazel, the head of Branch 7 of the Supreme Court, along with the branch’s Counselor Mr. Azizollah Razzaghi.
The accused received the definitive verdict on December 16, 2012 in Tabriz central prison and are in danger of imminent execution by stoning.

Despite official claims that stoning has been halted in Iran which includes a moratorium by Ayatollah Shahroudi the head of the Judiciary in 2002, this practice continues in Iran. According to human rights organizations, a 30 year old man was stoned in the city of Rasht as recently as May 2009; three men in the city of Mashhad in December 2008; Mr. Jafar Kiani in the village of Agche-kand in July 2007, and a couple were secretly stoned by 100 members of the Revolutionary Guards in a Cemetery in Mashhad in May 2006.

In recent years, human rights defenders have saved a number of individuals from stoning through successful campaigns both inside and outside Iran by bringing this agonizing form of capital punishment to the attention of the international community. World criticism reached a strident pitch in 2011 when reports stated that a married woman, Ms. Sakineh Ashtiani was about to be stoned on charges of having “illicit relationships” with two men. As the result of one of the most successful international campaigns Iran halted her stoning. Ms. Mokarameh Ebrahimi, Zohre and Azar Kabiri-niat have also have had their sentences suspended for now.

We, the undersigned, are very concerned about the fate of Ms. Zahra Pour Sai and Mr. Ali Sai Bashsiz who are in danger of being secretly stoned at any time. It is estimated that 12 people are awaiting stoning in Iran at the present time. We ask all the international human rights organizations and their governments to pressure the Islamic republic of Iran to put an end to this antiquated and heinous practice of stoning. 

Shadi Paveh, Ottawa
Nazanin Afshin-Jam MacKay, Ottawa
Shabnam Assadollahi, Ottawa
Mina Ahadi, Germany

Verses and Photography to Get You Through Your Day!

Friday, August 23, 2013

LTNI Talks: Why should you care about the Persecuted Church?

We talked to some of the amazing people that came out to our 2nd Annual Charity BBQ and Yard Sale and asked them about why THEY think it's important to care and support.

Here's what they said!

Wednesday, August 21, 2013

Charisma News: Pakistani Christians Angered by Sweeper Comment

It's easy nowadays for us to gasp in shock hearing the usual derogatory words. Prejudice it seems is everywhere --in fact the politically correct mainstream adds to the list of things we can't say daily. Then I read articles like this, and it reminds me that there is REAL discrimination out there. People even today think that they can box an entire population into their prejudices.

All Christians are not sweepers, just like all Muslims are not above sweeping. Break the cycle, learn to look at people by the worth of the life God has given them and not the circumstances they were born into.

Origional article found HERE
Pakistani Christians have been angered by a statement by the chief minister of the province of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa that only “non-Muslims will be recruited as sweepers.”
The province, known for short as KPK, borders Afghanistan. Its chief minister, Pervez Khattak, who is in former international cricketer Imran Khan’s party, Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaaf (PTI), says that he was quoted out of context and misinterpreted.
Khattak denied that he intended anything derogatory. He said he was only responding to minorities’ concerns over access to jobs they have traditionally taken now being denied by applicants who claim that as Muslims they cannot do “unclean” jobs anyway.
Nevertheless, the Christians’ anger (sparked when a local Urdu channel, Capital TV, reported the statement) went viral and has hit national headlines because it highlights long-entrenched discriminatory practices rooted in the Indian subcontinent’s history and still faced by Pakistan’s Christians and low-caste Hindus.
Christians took Khattak’s remark to be deeply offensive, with many saying that it showed the “true” stance of PTI, whose election slogan in May was “Justice, Humanity and Self-Esteem.”
Khattak is PTI’s first-ever provincial chief minister. In May, PTI surprisingly won the militancy-hit northwestern KPK and now runs its first coalition government there.
Christians are the main minority in Pakistan, although a small number of Hindus and Sikhs also live there. Hence, Christians took the chief minister’s statement as a direct reference to them, although others add that non-Pashtun ethnic groups, such as Persian-speaking Hazaras, might also have been implicated.
As the Christian community took offense, the opposition Pakistan People’s Party (PPP) leader Napoleon Qayyum on July 11 filed a petition for an apology in the Lahore high court. The petitioner made Khattak and the two Capital TV talk-show hosts parties to the “offensive statement.”
Albert David, chairman of the Pakistan United Christian Movement, asks how Khattak could say that Muslims are not eligible for sweepers’ jobs and that only members of the minority communities could perform this task.
“Whatever the context, it is very insensitive to say that the jobs of sweeping would only be given to minorities,” he says.
Article 27 (1) of the Constitution of Pakistan says, “No citizen otherwise qualified for appointment in the service of Pakistan shall be discriminated against in respect of any such appointment on the ground only of race, religion, caste, sex, residence or place of birth.”

Charisma News: Pakistani Christians Ensure Police Arrest Key Murder Suspect

A father killed in front of his children, their land stolen, justice evades the Christian community once again.

It's true, often persecution of Christians is not just because of their faith --but their economic status, their inability to defend themselves, and most of all the fact that perpetrators know that they CAN get away with it.

This is just another reason why it's so important to strengthen these communities. It's not a "religion thing" it's a HUMAN RIGHTS issue.

Original article found HERE
Hundreds of Pakistani Christians braved scorching summer heat for three days and two nights in agricultural fields to ensure that police would register the alleged murder of a Punjabi agricultural smallholder in front of his two children.
Ishaq Masih, 45, a resident of a village in the Okara district, near Lahore, was shot dead on July 27, his children say, by a man named Muhammad Luqman (alias Ranjha) who, accompanied by others, had illegally occupied Masih’s land.
Fearing the police would not follow due process, as a minority Christian was involved, local Christians rushed to the scene. They then refused to bury the body for three days (contrary to Pakistani practice of burial the next day) until police had agreed to register the murder, arrest two of the suspects and conduct an autopsy.
On July 29, police promised they would arrest all other suspects (including Ranjha) within a week, but only if the Christians would bury Masih and then disperse peacefully. The protesters agreed, and Catholic Fr. James Bahadur buried Masih that night.
Police, however, failed to arrest prime suspect Ranjha by their self-imposed deadline of Aug. 5, the outcome Bahadur and others had feared. (Meanwhile, seven suspected accomplices were released on bail.)
According to Masih’s children, events leading up to his death went as follows.
On the morning of July 27, Masih learned Ranjha had illegally occupied one acre of his agricultural land and was sowing sweet corn seeds. Masih went with his 12-year-old daughter, Saima, and 15-year-old son, Irshad, to see for himself.
Saima told World Watch Monitor, “As we reached [the field], suddenly about eight men on motorbikes encircled us.”
Irshad added, “About four men started beating my father and dragged him around. They threw him on the ground, and then Ranjha fired a shot at my father, which hit the right side of his chest.”
The teenage boy said that as soon as his father had been shot, about four of the assailants led him to a nearby farmhouse.
“They beat me and pressured me to confess to the police that I killed my father, or else they would kill me,” Irshad said.
Only 12-year-old Saima was left with her father gasping in agony.
“We were carrying some food and water. When my father asked for water in his pain, I hurried to give it to him, but Ranjha slapped me and slopped the water on the ground,” she said.
While Masih was dying, Saima said one of his assailants called the emergency services and urged them to attend. She said he told them Irshad had killed his father in a family fight, after which the men had held the boy.
People had already gathered by the time the police arrived. Onlookers told the police that Ranjha had taken Irshad hostage after Ranjha shot Masih. The police then set Irshad free but did not arrest Ranjha or any of his alleged accomplices at that time.
Soon, Christians from nearby villages gathered and decided not to bury Masih’s body until the police arrested the alleged assailants.
Okara is the main district in Pakistani Punjab where the peasants’ movement for land rights is very strong and mainly organized by Christian leaders. This alleged murder of a landowner, therefore, has larger implications for that movement as well as the local Christian community.
The chairman of Anjuman Muzareen Punjab (Tenants’ Association of Punjab), Younus Iqbal, citing local political and criminal “undue influence,” alleged that the police “never arrested killers of Christians.”
In 2008, Javed Masih, a Christian politician, and in 2012 Akram Masih were both killed in Okara; in both cases, police let the suspects go with impunity, Iqbal said.
“The killing of Christians will stop when culprits will be brought to justice. So, this time we decided not to bury the dead until the suspects were arrested,” he said.
Local sources told World Watch Monitor that the local police station registered a First Information Report (FIR) after yielding to the adamant stance of the Christians. The police then conducted raids and initially arrested Muhammad Sultan (alias Kali) and Muhammad Ramzan, Ranjha’s brothers.
Deputy Superintendent Saadullah Khan told World Watch Monitor that the police had pledged in writing to arrest all the remaining suspects by Aug. 5.
Such assurances, according to Aneeqa Maria Akhtar, coordinator for The Voice, an organization working for religious freedom through litigation, are “unique” but have now proved to be false. 
Akhtar said her legal team would contest the bail petitions, to be heard on Aug. 24.
An autopsy carried out at the Okara District Headquarters Hospital confirmed that the death was caused by a wound inflicted by a “firearm weapon.”
Akhtar said that while the autopsy report agreed with the FIR, she had little hope the police would be impartial.
“If the police station will not be impartial, then we will get the investigation changed,” she said.

Tuesday, August 20, 2013

LTNI's 2nd Annual Charity BBQ & Yard Sale

On August 17th, 2013 Love Thy Neighbour International (LTNI) hosted our 2nd Annual Charity BBQ and Yard Sale at 168 Bluebell Crescent in Ancaster. We would like to thank everyone that came out to join us raise funds towards our James 2:8 international development project; building a health clinic and school in an extremely impoverished Christian community of over 100thousand people in Pakistan.

The event was a huge success, raising over $1200, and raising much needed awareness within the Ancaster and Hamilton community about religious freedom and human rights around the world. Between the spicy sausages, delicious samosas, fresh baked goods, picnics on the lawn, the yard sale, and our amazing henna artist it was a day packed with fun and great fellowship.

We were pleased to be able to host our local MP David Sweet, as well as PC MPP candidates Donna Skelly (Ancaster-Dundas-Flamborough-Westdale) and Bryan Vanderkruk (Hamilton Mountain); many thanks to them and the board members from both ridings who were able to come out and support us.
Thanks to the Scenic Woods community for their support and to Victory International Church, the entire congregation and Dr. Peter and Pastor Tracey Marshall for how they have continued to bless our ministry from the beginning!

Our board also extends a special thanks to all of our incredible volunteers including Matthew Barracosa, Joie Grace, Jason Athan, Rubin Nundy, Amandeep Chouhan, Heidi and Detlef, and Amy Lalani. Without all of you and everyone who helped to set up in the morning, run the event, and clean up in the end this wouldn’t have been possible!