Brunei, radio sharia, salafita, saudita wahhaita, Boko Haram,

Brunei is one of the richest states in Asia, ruled by a royal family which goes back more than six centuries. The 1959 constitution called for five advisory councils to the monarch but, in 1962, the Sultan assumed emergency powers which have never been relinquished, resulting in an absolute monarchy.

Although Islam,the state religion, is being taught in schools, Christians make up 11 percent of the population. While the constitution guarantees freedom of religion, it is illegal to evangelize and Muslims are not allowed to convert to another religion. The only registered churches date back to British colonial times; no new churches have been permitted. Bibles and Christian literature can be brought into the country for personal use only. Despite these restrictions, the number of Christians continues to increase.
Prayer Requests

    Praise God that despite the restrictions, people are still turning to Christ!
    Pray that the country’s constitutional rights will be respected for all religions.
    Pray for the salvation of the royal family.
    Pray that Christians in Brunei will be able to share the Gospel in ways that will effectively reach the hearts of those around them.

[ qui è radio sharia salafita saudita wahhaita Boko Haram, ovviamente, sempre sotto la egida dello ONU ] Egitto: esplosione su bus turisti, vittime. Al valico di Taba, sul Mar Rosso. Almeno tre morti. Nigeria: strage di cristiani, 60 morti. uomini armati attaccano villaggio nel nord-est. 16 febbraio, KANO, Uomini armati hanno ucciso decine di persone, almeno 60, in maggioranza cristiani, nel nord-est della Nigeria. Lo hanno dichiarato questa mattina fonti locali. "Secondo le ultime informazioni di cui dispongo sono state uccise più di 60 persone. Ma devo ancora verificare queste informazioni fornite dagli abitanti", ha detto Maina Ularamo, responsabile regionale dell'area dove è avvenuto l'attacco, il villaggio di Izghe.

In 1952, Eritrea joined Ethiopia as part of a federation. When Ethiopia annexed Eritrea as a province 10 years later, a struggle for independence began that ended with victory by the Eritrean rebels in 1991. In 1998, a border war with Ethiopia began, ending with intervention from the U.N. in December 2000 and a peace agreement.

There was a general freedom to practice religion in Eritrea until 2002, when the government announced it would recognize only four religious communities: the Orthodox Church of Eritrea, Sunni Islam, the Roman Catholic Church and the Lutheran-affiliated Evangelical Church of Eritrea.

From 2002 to 2010, the government has jailed, tortured and killed numerous Eritreans for political and religious reasons, and tortured and killed many of them extra-judicially. Today, it is estimated that between 2,000 and 3,000 Christians are in Eritrean prisons. Believers face deplorable conditions, including torture. Many are held in metal shipping containers with no ventilation or toilet facilities.

A November 2010 religious liberty report says that Eritrean President Isaias Afewerki wants to restrict and pre-empt any formation of people’s association. He fears that religious freedom will lead to evangelism by Christian groups and thereby cause social tensions that can be exploited by “outside forces” to destabilize the nation. Additionally, he views democracy as a threat to the nation’s unity and stability.

Despite open persecution, the government continues to support its statement issued in May 2003 that "no groups or persons are persecuted in Eritrea for their beliefs or religion." Of thousands of Christians in detention, not one has been charged with a crime or faced trial. While concerns over Christian persecution have been raised at various international forums, there has been little change in the attitude and policy of the one-party government.

The ancient nation of Ethiopia is proud of its long standing independence. From 1896 until now, Ethiopia has avoided foreign control, with the exception of Italian occupation from 1936 to 1941. Internally, however, Ethiopia has had to grapple with political uprisings, coups and violence.

The Ethiopian Orthodox Church enjoyed centuries of prominence. It remained the state church from 1270 until a military junta deposed Emperor Haile Salassie in 1974. The subsequent Marxist regime persecuted believers, seeking to destroy as many churches as possible. That regime was overthrown by rebel forces in 1991 and elections were held in 1995. However, a true democratic process remains elusive, with hundreds of political prisoners presently incarcerated; something the government denies.

While the constitution protects religious freedom, believers continue to face discrimination, threats and violence from both Islamic and Ethiopian Orthodox elements. In 2011, the Ethiopian government discovered plans by the Wahhabi Muslims to turn Ethiopia into an Islamic country and establish Shariah law. While they have been unable to carry out their threats, widower Tamirat Woldegorgis knows all too well the devastation that militant Muslims can cause. Tamirat was falsely accused of desecrating the Quran in 2010 and spent two years confined to a small cell with 50 other inmates. The harsh conditions left the Christian widower with one leg paralyzed. He then returned home on April 25, 2012 to find his two children missing. "I have been trying to locate my children, but all in vain," said Tamirat. "My life is ruined -- I have lost my house, my children, my health. I am now homeless, and I am limping."

Palestine is comprised of two separate parts: the West Bank and Gaza Strip. The Palestinian National Authority (PNA) controls the main towns and scattered enclaves. Jewish settler enclaves and Israeli military authorities control the rest. Palestinians have been defined by the loss of most of their land in 1948 and the conquest of the remainder by Israel in 1967. International efforts to achieve peace between Israelis and Palestinians have been futile.

The PNA was appointed as an administrative body in both the West Bank and Gaza. While the PNA has been allowed to extend its jurisdiction to increasingly more towns and rural areas, Israel’s presence remains. After winning a large majority in the Palestinian Parliament in 2007 and defeating rival Palestinian party Fatah in a series of violent clashes, Hamas now governs the Gaza portion of the Palestinian Territories.

Israeli occupation and Islamist persecution are squeezing out the dwindling Christian minority. Today, 87.7 percent of the population is Muslim, 8.5 percent is Jewish, and 1.61 percent is Christian. Palestinian Christians find themselves attacked or betrayed from all sides. Israel regards them as Arab Palestinians, while extremist Muslims view them as Western collaborators. Their numbers in Palestine itself have declined, largely due to emigration.

Palestinian exiles make up 61 percent of all Palestinians. While Israel’s harshness toward them was not admirable, neighbouring Arab lands were grudging and unhappy hosts. Palestinians in exile have mostly lived for generations in refugee camps (breeding grounds for extremism) and still face the spectre of poverty and uncertainty. Their possible return to the Holy Land remains a hugely divisive issue, since sheer numbers would threaten to swamp Israel’s population.

Having gained its independence from Britain in 1947, India is the world’s most ethnically diverse nation with 2,500 distinct people groups and more than 1.17 billion residents. India has more unreached individuals than any other nation with the caste system remaining the foundation of the country’s social order for centuries. Despite an affirmative-action policy, caste-based discrimination continues. Even with significant overpopulation, environmental degradation, extensive poverty and widespread corruption, rapid economic development is fuelling India's rise on the world stage. The current administration emphasizes economic growth and social progress on issues, including caste and freedom of religion. However, millennia of oppression will take some time to overturn.

Though India’s constitution provides full religious freedom of worship and witness for all religions, there remains opposition. The rise of Hindutva extremism -- “India is Hindu only” -- resulted in a hate campaign against Muslims in the early 1990s and against Christians in the late 1990s, as followers of “foreign” religions. Because large numbers of Dalit groups (those having no caste) have turned away from Hinduism embraced Christianity, anti-conversion laws were passed in several of India’s state to “protect” India’s masses from being converted by fraudulent means. In reality, this law is merely a means of control, keeping the caste social order intact by Hindu extremists. Currently, six states have anti-conversion laws. Degrees of persecution depend on the strength of Hindutva groups from one state to the next.

Persecution of Christians is most intense in Orissa state. After a prominent Hindu swami was murdered in 2008 (most likely by Maoist guerrillas), Hindu extremists responded by venting their wrath against Christians. More than 120 Christians were murdered, hundreds of churches destroyed and around 52,000 Christians displaced from their homes. Harsh anti-conversion regulations have done little to placate Hindu extremists. In many districts, some threat remains for Christians to reconvert to Hinduism: leave their village or face death.

Indonesia is the most populous Muslim country in the world. The greatest threats facing Indonesia, the world’s third-largest democracy, are possible interference and disruption by the previously politically involved military and the various Islamist groups throughout the country. These—combined with Indonesia’s poor human rights record, religious tensions and mass relocation programs due to overpopulation—generate tensions that could potentially boil into major violence.

Monotheism and communal peace are bases for the stated government ideology of Pancasila. Six religions are officially recognized: Islam, Hinduism, Buddhism, Confucianism, Catholicism and Protestantism. Islam’s strength and influence in numbers (with more than 80 percent of the population Muslim) exerts itself on the religious scene by limiting Christian activities and public presence.

Places of worship must apply for a permit to build or hold worship in an existing building. An applicant is required to get approval from neighbours by gathering copies of their identification cards and signatures. Even when permit applications meet all legal and administrative requirements, authorities often neither approve nor deny the application.

Despite challenges, Christian evangelicals have increased from 1.3 million to 13 million in the last 50 years. In the last decade, an orchestrated Islamic jihad against Christians destroyed thousands of churches. Some areas with large Christian populations (such as parts of Maluku) are subject to attacks. A Christian presence has been eradicated from whole towns and regions, with great loss of life and property.

Iran has held its own cultural independence and language since ancient times. In 1979, Iran embraced a theocratic Shiite government. Movements for greater public freedom have often been attacked by those pushing for the strict observance of Islamic law.

In 2005, Mahmoud Ahmadinejad was elected president. His promises to improve the lot of the poor and to reinstate the original values of the revolution failed. His unexpected 2009 election victory sparked massive anti-government demonstrations. The government’s response was ruthless, with thousands arrested and some sentenced to death.

Iran has the largest Shi’a Islam population in the world. Christians comprise one-half of 1 percent of the population. The Iranian attitude toward religion can seem contradictory—very chaste in public but much less so in private. The courts have the right to impose the death sentence on male apostates and life imprisonment for female apostates. Effectively, Iran is a religious dictatorship where little of consequence can occur without the approval of the Guardian Council of Mullahs.

Religious persecution of certain minorities has intensified since 2005. This is aimed at the Baha’i, Sufi Muslims and Christians, especially believers from a Muslim background. Almost all Christian activity is illegal, especially when it occurs in Persian languages—from evangelism to Bible training to publishing Scripture and Christian books. Yet the regime’s harsh treatment of Christians only further fuels the flames of church growth.

On May 22, 2010, Maryam Rustampoor and Marzieh Amirizadeh—Iranian believers imprisoned for their Christian activities in March 2009—were acquitted of all charges. The women fled the same day due to a warning from the Iranian judicial authorities that any future Christian activities would have severe consequences.

In December 2010, Iran began arresting dozens of Christians in a crackdown. The governor of Tehran province, Morteza Tamadon, described Protestants and evangelicals as “corrupt and deviant” and accused them of conducting an “enemy cultural invasion.”

Since 2003, Islamist groups have stepped up persecution of religious minorities in Iraq, causing mass emigration of the ancient Christian confession, whose presence in Iraq pre-dates the Arabs by centuries. Christians suffer from the anti-Western atmosphere in the country and are seen as collaborators with Westerners. As Western influence in the country dwindles with the pulling out of many of their forces, extremists take their chance to terrorize Christians and force them out of the country.

The latest constitution says that no law can be passed that contravenes Islam, so guarantees of religious freedom are not particularly trustworthy. Registration of new churches is difficult.

Persecution has become particularly ferocious in recent years. Bomb attacks on churches in December 2009 caused as many as half of Mosul’s Christian population to flee. A terrorist attack on the Syrian Catholic Church in Baghdad at the end of October 2010 killed 58 Christians and injured at least 60. Suspected Islamist militants detonated 11 bombs in Christian suburbs across Baghdad in November, targeting shops and homes. At least five Christians were killed and 33 injured. Hundreds of thousands of Christians have fled Baghdad and other southern portions of the country, including the Biblical area known as Babylon that is dominated by Shi’a Muslims.

About 334,000 Christians remain in Iraq, less than half of their number in 1991. The violence has caused hundreds of thousands of Iraqi people, both Muslim and Christian, to leave the country, and many more are displaced inside Iraq, particularly in Kurdistan.


The founding of Israel in 1948 ended 1,900 years of exile for the Jews. Six wars with surrounding states in the years that followed have kept the country on a war footing. Repeated military engagement in Lebanon, the rising pressure of Palestinian civil unrest, intense Israeli-Palestinian violence in the early 2000s, acts of terrorism by Islamist groups (Hamas, Hezbollah, others) and the increased threat from Iran has sapped Israeli stamina.

Israel is a secular and democratic state, and it upholds religious freedom. The Jewish people have suffered tremendous ethnic and religious persecution for centuries. In the past, Jews who follow Messiah Jesus have been denied legal standing as a religious body and faced difficulties obtaining a place for fellowship. This changed in 2009, and Messianic congregations can now register as houses of prayer and religious entities.

Today, Reform and Conservative Jews are often marginalized by ultra-Orthodox influence, which applies constant pressure to limit freedom of religion through anti-conversion laws and persecution of Messianic Jews.

For most of Jordan’s history since independence, King Hussein (1953-99), who maintained good relationships with major world powers and signed a formal peace treaty with Israel, ruled Jordan. Following Hussein's death, his son, King Abdallah II, ascended to the throne.

Today, turmoil in the Middle East profoundly affects life, due to loss of land, massive influx of refugees and economic disruption. Jordan relinquished its claim to the West Bank area, but Palestinians are the largest group in the nation.

Islam is the state religion, but the constitution prohibits discrimination and promotes the free exercise of religious belief and worship. The Church has a visible public presence and relative freedom, but there is some pressure on evangelical churches. Jordan is a centre for many Christian activities and ministries, and much Christian work in the Middle East would suffer were a setback to occur in Jordan. A number of converts find life difficult; pressure comes from family, work and society. Emigration is often seen as an obvious and safe option.

Yemen has a turbulent history of wars and conquests.

It is estimated that there are several thousand Christians throughout the country. Most of them are expatriates (Westerners, South and East Asians, Arabs) or refugees (mainly Ethiopian). There are a few converts from Islam. In Aden, there are a few churches, but in the north of the country no church buildings are allowed.

The Yemeni Constitution declares that Islam is the state religion and that Shariah is the source of all legislation. As long as expatriates do not evangelize, the Yemeni government doesn’t intervene when they live out their faith, but Yemeni citizens are not allowed to convert to Christianity (or other religions). Converts from an Islamic background may face the death penalty if their new faith is discovered. Converts from Islam also encounter opposition from extremist groups, who threaten “apostates” with death if they do not revert to Islam. Proselytizing of Muslims is prohibited.

Palestine is comprised of two separate parts: the West Bank and Gaza Strip. The Palestinian National Authority (PNA) controls the main towns and scattered enclaves. Jewish settler enclaves and Israeli military authorities control the rest. Palestinians have been defined by the loss of most of their land in 1948 and the conquest of the remainder by Israel in 1967. International efforts to achieve peace between Israelis and Palestinians have been futile.

The PNA was appointed as an administrative body in both the West Bank and Gaza. While the PNA has been allowed to extend its jurisdiction to increasingly more towns and rural areas, Israel’s presence remains. After winning a large majority in the Palestinian Parliament in 2007 and defeating rival Palestinian party Fatah in a series of violent clashes, Hamas now governs the Gaza portion of the Palestinian Territories.

Israeli occupation and Islamist persecution are squeezing out the dwindling Christian minority. Today, 87.7 percent of the population is Muslim, 8.5 percent is Jewish, and 1.61 percent is Christian. Palestinian Christians find themselves attacked or betrayed from all sides. Israel regards them as Arab Palestinians, while extremist Muslims view them as Western collaborators. Their numbers in Palestine itself have declined, largely due to emigration.

Palestinian exiles make up 61 percent of all Palestinians. While Israel’s harshness toward them was not admirable, neighbouring Arab lands were grudging and unhappy hosts. Palestinians in exile have mostly lived for generations in refugee camps (breeding grounds for extremism) and still face the spectre of poverty and uncertainty. Their possible return to the Holy Land remains a hugely divisive issue, since sheer numbers would threaten to swamp Israel’s population.