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World News

World in Brief

  • Bangladesh: 18 baptised

    Fellowship of European Broadcasters (FEB)

    Rural Muslims Bangladesh’s (RMB) partnership with FEBA UK combines Christian teaching with input on health and social issues, it was reported in July.

    18 listeners have been baptised in the last year. Those who respond to RMB’s gospel message know that, in doing so, they risk being expelled from their villages. RMB broadcasts in Bengali, providing trustworthy material on faith and practical issues, and presents Christian content in a style that is accessible to non-literate listeners.

  • Brazil: Facebook for faithful

    Bible Society’s Newswatch (BBC News)

    Swearing and erotic content in any form is banned on a new social network site, similar to Facebook, launched by evangelical Christians in Brazil in June.

    The site, called Facegloria, in July had apparently attracted 100,000 members since its launch. 600 words are banned on the site and there’s an ‘Amen’ button instead of Facebook’s ‘like’ tool. Brazil’s Facegloria is currently only available in Portuguese.

  • Canada: rights violated

    Religion Today

    A Christian law school must change its code of conduct to embrace homosexuality to keep its accreditation, a court ruled in July.

    Trinity Western University (TWU) in British Columbia had planned to open a law school which followed a Christian ‘community covenant’ next year. Students would not be permitted to engage in ‘sexual intimacy that violates the sacredness of marriage between a man and a woman’. TWU said that the ruling violated their rights as a religious institution and plans to appeal.

  • China: firm faith

    Bible Society’s Newswatch (BBC News)

    Bosses at Chinese real estate giant Tiantai (Tentimes) Group told the BBC in early July that they pray in the boardroom before making important decisions.

    Three-quarters of the firm’s eight-strong senior management team are Christians, and founder and chairman Wang Ruoxiong says that when the company has to make difficult decisions, it turns to the Bible for guidance.

  • China: trouble for churches

    Christian Solidarity Worldwide (CSW)

    Catholic and Protestant church leaders, lay Christians and human rights lawyers in July spoke out publicly about the ongoing government campaign to demolish churches and forcibly remove crosses from buildings in Zhejiang Province.

    Although the pace of such events has slowed since its peak from April to July 2014, Christian Solidarity Worldwide (CSW) recorded 32 cross removals in May–July this year, although the actual figure is likely to be much higher.

  • India: arrested

    Barnabas Fund

    The pastor of a church in the village of Raiguda, Orissa state, was arrested on 9 July for illegally converting 300 people to Christianity over the past year and a half.

    Pastor Sisir Nayak had been accused by local Hindu radicals of ‘attracting’ more than 300 people from the Munda tribe to Christianity. Meanwhile, in Madhya Pradesh, Hindu convert to Christianity Rajesh Yadav was denied a Christian burial when he died on 4 July. Despite holding an affidavit to prove his conversion, Rajesh’s widow was forced to hand over her husband’s body to his extended family for cremation by Hindu rituals.

  • Iran: early release?

    Mohabat News

    Pastor Farshid Fathi received a note from prison officials on 4 July promising that he would be released on 10 December 2015, two years early.

    The note stated that the decision was made based on article 134 of the Islamic Penal Code, which states that if one is charged with multiple allegations and found guilty, only the greatest punishment should be carried out. However, there is concern as to whether Iranian officials will keep their word. Meanwhile, prison authorities in Rajaei-Shahr prison finally accepted Pastor Fathi’s request to be transferred to the political-religious ward, where he was moved on 22 June.

  • Israel: biblical name

    Bible Society’s Newswatch (Christianity Today)

    Archaeologists have pieced together a 3,000-year-old clay jar and found that it is inscribed with the name Eshbaal ben Beda, it was reported in late July.

    Eshbaal (or Ishbaal) was the son of Saul who fought against David for the throne and was murdered by assassins. Professors Yosef Garfinkel and Saar Ganor said: ‘The correlation between the biblical tradition and the archaeological finds indicates that this was a common name only during that period’. The biblical Ishbaal’s name is preserved in 1 Chronicles 8.33, but rendered as Ishbosheth in 2 Samuel.

  • Kenya: harvest

    African Enterprise (AE) UK

    Hundreds of missionary volunteers in July took to the streets, schools, workplaces and marketplaces of Eldoret to preach the gospel!

    Despite a lot of rain, many people came to the Lord. The theme of the mission was ‘It’s time for Eldoret’ and God was faithful in bringing the harvest of souls into the kingdom.

  • Niger: not yet rebuilt

    World Watch Monitor

    In July, six months after churches were attacked in the aftermath of the Charlie Hebdo attacks in Paris, reconstruction work is moving slowly and proving very expensive.

    Most damaged churches and properties are still not rebuilt, and the financial support promised by the state is not forthcoming.

  • Pakistan: appealing

    World Watch Monitor

    Asia Bibi, on death row for blasphemy, was granted a stay of execution in July.

    She has been allowed to take her appeal against the death penalty to Pakistan’s Supreme Court in the capital, Islamabad. Until the Supreme Court reaches its final decision, Asia cannot be executed. Her lawyer, Saiful Malook, appeared in front of three Supreme Court judges at the first hearing on 22 July in Lahore. This is the last chance to appeal that her conviction should never have been allowed due to inadmissible evidence.

  • Pakistan: hopeful

    Barnabas Fund

    Pakistani Christians living in the NW Khyber Agency are hopeful that they will be ‘treated as equals’ now that the government has announced the appointment of two Christian ‘tribal elders’ to represent members of the Christian community.

    Although it was originally declared in a communiqué of 28 April, Pakistani newspapers reported on 11 July that the government had officially confirmed that four non-Muslims (two Christians and two Sikhs) have been granted the status of ‘lungi (turban) holder’ or Speen Rubay (tribal elder) for the first time in the area’s history.

  • Poland: honoured

    Bible Society’s Newswatch (Christian Today)

    On 12 July, representatives of the Jewish community honoured nearly 50 Polish Christians for saving Jews from the Nazi holocaust during the Second World War.

    The event was held in Warsaw and attended by some of the rescuers. The oldest was 100 years old.

  • S. Africa: ousted

    The Christian Institute

    A Christian student in South Africa, who in late June used her personal Facebook page to express regret about the legalisation of gay marriage across the US, has been ousted from her position on her university’s student council.

    Zizipho Pae was removed as acting president of the University of Cape Town’s Student Representative Council, which is currently investigating her Facebook post.

  • S.Africa: God’s fishermen

    African Enterprise (AE) UK

    In July, ahead of a mission in Port Elizabeth in August, Allan Verreynne, the chairman of the Port Elizabeth Mission Discipleship Committee, together with his son Brad, swam 500m out to a chokka (a type of squid) boat, got on board and shared the gospel with the crew.

    13 men responded to the gospel invitation and were prayed for. Allan and his son then swam back to shore, dashed back to the office and got Bibles to deliver to the harbour, where the boat was later being refuelled!

  • Sudan: found innocent


    On 12 August, four Christian women were found innocent of indecent or immoral dress under Article 152 of Sudanese law.

    The women were part of a group of Christians from the Nuba Mountains who were arrested on 25 June after leaving a celebration service at the El Izba Baptist Church in Khartoum. Two were released without charge but three others were fined.

  • Uganda: murder attempt

    Morning Star News

    On 29 June and 2 July, Muslim extremists in eastern Uganda tried to kill a former sheikh known throughout the region for his Christian activities.

    The conversion and ministry success of Hassan Muwanguzi, an evangelist in Budaka District, led hard-line Muslims to attempt to poison him and kill his 12-year-old daughter last year. ‘They have planned to kill me, but I thank God for his protection’, Muwanguzi said. ‘I do request the prayers of brothers and sisters, as my family is living in great fear.’

  • Uzbekistan: pastor fined

    Forum 18 News

    Pastor Sergei Rychagov of Grace Presbyterian Church, near Uzbekistan’s capital Tashkent, was heavily fined for violating the Religion Law, missionary activity, ‘illegal’ religious teaching and violating the procedure for holding religious meetings.

    It is said that police bullied children from a local orphanage who had been attending the church into writing statements against him. The officer who brought the case insisted to Forum 18 that Rychagov had violated the law, while the judge who fined him refused to explain why he had done so.