August 1, 2014
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The Persecuted Church
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Boko Haram survivor exhorts Christians to 'stand strong'
WASHINGTON (BP) -- A teenage Christian survivor of Boko Haram terrorism in 2011 talked openly Tuesday (May 13) for the first time about her ordeal, expressing hope that her story would encourage Christians to persevere in persecution.
Deborah Peters, 15, said in a panel discussion hosted by Hudson Institute in Washington that Boko Haram murdered her Christian father and brother and bound her between the corpses at her home near Chibok, the same town where the Islamic terror group kidnapped nearly 300 school girls in April. "I hope if people hear my story, I think they will understand," Peters said, "and they will know more and more of what God said and they will understand what it means to stand strong and have courage." Peters was joined on the panel by Emmanuel Ogebe, a human rights lawyer with the U.S. Nigeria Law Group and expert in U.S.-Nigerian relations, who helped Peters come to the U.S. through a program established after Sept. 11, 2001, to aid victims of terrorism. While Peters' father was Christian, her mother was Muslim and fled to safety a month before the murders after Boko Haram destroyed the church Peters' father pastored. "In November, they burned his church, but still, he didn't give up and built the church again," Peters said. "So they said okay, they're gonna kill him. And they came to our house and killed him." On the night of Dec. 22, 2011, three Boko Haram militants entered the Peters home after knocking on the door. They pulled her father from the shower, demanded he renounce his faith and killed him when he refused, Peters recounted. Her father referenced Matthew 10:33 in holding fast to Christianity.
Nigerian Christians find hope amid persecution
NIGERIA (BP) -- The Nigerian church leader was secretly housing new followers of Jesus, former Muslims. When the time came for his second child to be born, he left his house to carry his wife to a clinic.
Middle East Christians need 'advocacy'
WASHINGTON (BP) -- The church and the government of the United States should act in behalf of beleaguered, often forgotten Christians in the Middle East, a broad coalition of religious and other leaders says.
Aid needed in Nigeria as attacks escalate
CHIBOK, Nigeria (BP) -- As President Obama prepares to send an advisory team to help Nigeria find more than 200 Christian and Muslim girls abducted by Islamic terrorists, Christians in the U.S can help victims and their families, said Adeniyi Ojutiku, a U.S.-based expert on Nigerian relations.
German homeschoolers still claim persecution
NASHVILLE (BP) -- One year after an appeals court denied their request for asylum in the U.S., a German homeschooling family still maintains that they faced religious persecution in their homeland and should have been protected under American law.
USCIRF: Religious liberty law needs revision
WASHINGTON (BP) -- The White House and Congress need to make specific changes to combat persecution 15 years after enacting legislation to promote religious liberty globally, a federal watchdog says in its annual report.
Persecuted draw focus on Day of Prayer
WASHINGTON (BP) -- President Obama called for Americans to remember the persecuted overseas as millions observed the National Day of Prayer. People gathered Thursday (May 1) at tens of thousands of events throughout the United States to pray on a day the federal government has recognized for more than six decades. ...
Kazakh pastor, 31, spent Easter in jail
ASTANA, Kazakhstan (BP) -- A 31-year-old Baptist pastor in Kazakhstan found himself celebrating Easter from a prison cell after refusing to pay a fine for worshipping without state registration.
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."

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