April 19, 2014
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The Persecuted Church
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4 Pakistani Christians now on death row
LAHORE, Pakistan (BP) -- A couple from Pakistan's Christian minority was sentenced to death April 4 for allegedly sending blasphemous text messages, bringing the number of Christians on death row to four.
Muslim herdsmen kill 100 Christians in Nigeria
KADUNA, Nigeria (BP) -- Muslim Fulani herdsmen killed more than 100 Christians and destroyed homes in Kaduna state in North-Western Nigeria Friday (March 14), Morning Star News reported.
Christians beheaded by extremists in Somalia
NAIROBI, Kenya (BP) -- Islamic extremists from the rebel Al Shabaab militia last week publicly beheaded a mother of two girls and her cousin in southeastern Somalia after discovering they were Christians, Morning Star News reported from sources inside the country.
Anti-Christian violence detailed in hearing
LOS ANGELES (BP) -- Some of the worst anti-Christian violence in recent years has come not from Islamic extremists but from Hindu nationalists in India, an expert told a hearing in which U.S. President Barack Obama was challenged to quickly fill a key religious freedom post.
Ukraine's religious freedom at risk, some warn
KIEV, Ukraine (BP) -- Amid months-long protests that recently turned violent in Ukraine, observers are warning that hastily-imposed anti-dissent laws inadvertently threaten religious liberty and the future of Christian ministries in the Eastern European nation.
The unrest began in November when protestors began demanding the president's resignation over accusations of corruption and a decision to strengthen ties with neighboring Russia rather than agreeing to a modernizing trade deal with the European Union.
New Egypt constitution nudges Christian hope
CAIRO, Egypt (BP) -- Egyptian voters have approved a new constitution, leaving Christians a bit more hopeful, though it does not secure basic rights for religious minorities.
American imprisoned in North Korea rooted in Christian faith
PYONGYANG, North Korea (BP) -- The American citizen held in North Korea whose profile was raised by a televised outburst from Dennis Rodman is a devout Christian, according to a family-run website advocating for his release. Kenneth Bae, 44, of Lynnwood, Wash., has been sentenced to 15 years in a North Korean labor camp for a "crime against the state." He has been imprisoned for more than 14 months, longer than any American has been detained in North Korea. "Several years ago, Kenneth saw an opportunity that combined his entrepreneurial spirit with his personal convictions as a Christian," the website, freekennow.com, states. "He believed in showing compassion to the North Korean people by contributing to their economy in the form of tourism."
South Sudan Christians see glimmer of hope
SOUTH SUDAN (BP) -- A breakthrough between warring factions in South Sudan has provided a glimmer of hope that the mostly Christian nation may escape civil war.
Pakistan court heightens Christians' wariness
LAHORE, Pakistan (BP) -- A Pakistani court's order for only the death sentence to be levied for insulting Islam's prophet will further endanger Christians and heighten the powers of the Islamic court that issued it, Morning Star News reported from sources inside the country.
Nigeria & Islamic terrorism: U.S. seeks to stem the bloodshed; more than 650 killed since 2012
RALEIGH, N.C. (BP) -- The U.S. State Department's designation of Boko Haram and its offshoot Ansaru as terrorists will heighten awareness worldwide of the groups' atrocities but will require the cooperation of the government in Nigeria to save Christians from terrorism there, a Southern Baptist Nigerian relations expert said.
Saudis win U.N. rights council seat
The Saudi regime continues to "bear the hallmarks" of its "religious and racial bigotry."
-- Nina Shea & Darara Gubo
WASHINGTON (BP) -- Saudi Arabia won a seat on the U.N. Human Rights Council this fall although the iron-fisted kingdom has shown little appetite for actual human rights.
Egypt: Militants, criminals extort Christians
"If you hurt a Christian, no one is going to do anything to you."
-- Mina Thabet, Egyptian Christian
CAIRO (BP) -- Islamic extremists and criminals are extorting Christians in Egyptian towns, while trouble brews over the country's new protest law and constitution.
Boko Haram labeled 'foreign terrorist' group
WASHINGTON (BP) -- The U.S. State Department has designated the Nigerian Islamic extremist group Boko Haram an official foreign terrorist organization, giving the U.S. added power to weaken the group.
Christians in Syria face mounting horrors
"As a mother and as a wife I want to leave, but as a Christian I want to stay."
-- Syrian mother in Damascas
DAMASCUS, Syria (BP) -- For Hanna, a Syrian Christian mother living in Damascus, the country's civil war is more than just statistics and news articles.
Kazakh Baptists face raids, fines, deportation
OSLO, Norway (BP) -- Authorities in Kazakhstan have fined a Baptist pastor for leading a congregation without state registration and deported another as part of an onging campaign to stamp out religious communities not under the government's thumb.

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