Carl Moeller with Open Doors USA says extremists are calling for the complete extermination of believers in the country.
‘We’ve been calling this a ‘religicide’–which is the systematic destruction and elimination of a religious group simply for being that religious group. And we see this now unfolding in a very shocking way,’ says Moeller.
The number of Christians in Iraq has dropped dramatically in the last few decades, dropping from 850,000 believers in 1991, to 550,000 believers in 2003, to 345,000 believers in early 2010. Now perhaps less than 250,000 Christians call Iraq home, a number which includes those who have been permanently displaced from their homes.” Read more.
By Matthew Lee – “BERLIN — U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton is warning that rising intolerance toward women and religious minorities threatens to hijack democratic transitions around the Arab world and spread violent extremism.
Clinton told an award ceremony in the German capital on Friday that she was disturbed by recent developments in post-revolt Egypt in which women and Coptic Christians were singled out for attacks and abuse. She said such incidents test the unity of pro-democracy demonstrators whose peaceful protests ousted Egypt’s authoritarian president and could fracture the reform movement.
Clinton said she feared similar backsliding elsewhere in the Mideast…” Read more.
Muslims Attack Christian Village in Pakistan After Christians Accused of ‘Blasphemy’ and ‘Desecrating the Koran’
By Jibran Khan – “Gurjarnwala (AsiaNews) – Hundreds of Muslims attacked the Christian village of Khokarki this morning a few miles from the city of Gujranwala (Punjab), forcing its inhabitants to flee. According to AsiaNews sources, anonymous for security reasons, the attack took place following a dispute between Christian Mushtag gill and some local Muslims, who had accused the man and his son of blasphemy.
Mushtaq, 60, and his son, are accused of having desecrated the Koran. The police arrested them yesterday, after complaints of some Muslims who claim to have found torn pages of the Qu’ran in a bag hidden near the home of two Christians.” Read more.
By Lee Ferran – “On the same day reports emerged of a new al Qaeda video that praised the revolutions sweeping the Arab world, one the U.S.’s top counter-terror officials warned the terror organization ‘thrives’ in the political unrest that follows.
‘The governments of Tunisia, Egypt, Libya and Yemen have drastically changed in the last six months,’ FBI Assistant Director of Counter-Terrorism Mark Giuliano said Thursday. ‘They are now led by transitional or interim governments, military regimes, or democratic alliances with no established track record on counterterrorism efforts. Al Qaeda thrives in such conditions and countries of weak governance and political instability — countries in which governments may be sympathetic to their campaign of violence.'” Read more.
By MARI YAMAGUCHI – “TOKYO (AP) – Levels of radioactivity have risen sharply in seawater near a tsunami-crippled nuclear plant in northern Japan, signaling the possibility of new leaks at the facility, the government said Saturday.
The announcement came after a magnitude-5.9 earthquake jolted Japan on Saturday morning, hours after the country’s nuclear safety agency ordered plant operators to beef up their quake preparedness systems to prevent a recurrence of the nuclear crisis.
… The level of radioactive iodine-131 spiked to 6,500 times the legal limit, according to samples taken Friday, up from 1,100 times the limit in samples taken the day before. Levels of cesium-134 and cesium-137 rose nearly fourfold.” Read more.
For example, in Afghanistan the Muslim Taliban have beheaded an Afghan Christian, Abdul Latif, in Herat Province. A video of the murder sent to Barnabas Aid shows one of the killers saying:
All praise be to our creator almighty god that he helped and blessed the holy warriors … so that we can implement the commandment of god on this infidel … so that he is punished according to his wrong deed, he is punished according to the commandment of god so that it is a warning to other infidels.
They shout ‘Allahu Akbar’ (‘god is great’) over and over again during the beheading, and they bring an execution notice to hang on the wall.” Read more.
“GRAHAM, Texas – Wildfires sweeping across hundreds of thousands of acres in parched Texas killed a firefighter, forced hundreds of evacuations — including an entire town — and destroyed dozens of homes on Friday, officials said.
Strong winds were fueling fires that spanned about 655 square miles, according to the Texas Forest Service. Some of the fires have been burning for a week or more, including three in West Texas that have charred a combined 400,000 acres.” Read more.