|Zprávy HCJB 20.3.2003|
|DRANCOVÁNÍ OBJEKTŮ MISIE VE STŘEDOAFRICKÉ REP.|
|Během převratu 16. března ve Středoafrické rep. v hlavním městě Bangui vyplenili povstalci misijní objekty spravované GBIM (Grace Brethren International Missions) a Covenant and Evangelical Free Mission. Stanice Baptist Mid-Missions v Bangui unikla drancování, ale povstalečtí vojáci požadují 20,000 USD za její ochranu. Všech šest objektů GBIM v zemi – pět mimo Bangui – bylo vypleněno, včetně nemocnice, třech biblických škol a semináře, řekl Jim Hocking, oblastní ředitel misie pro Středoafrickou rep. „Podle zpráv bylo vypleněno 80%města. My děkujeme Bohu, že chránil svůj lid. Jsme v kontaktu s některými vedoucími v Bangui a ti hlásí, že jsou v pořádku. Neslyšeli ani o žádných obětech mezi členy našich sborů.“ Bez ohledu na nepokoje a rabování, partnerská stanice HCJB World Radio v Bangui pokračuje ve vysílání a šíření evangelia. „Rozhlasová stanice je neporušená a vysílá!“ řekl Hocking. „Bůh je dobrý. Nechápu, jak mohla vydržet všechno to rabování, ale Bůh to zařídil.“ Stanice začala vysílat v květnu 2001. Vysílá 8 hodin denně ve dvou jazycích, francouzsky a v jazyce sango. Hocking vyzývá věřící na západě, aby se modlili za mír a za povolení začít vysílat na další, větší stanici v zemi. Podle tiskové zprávy Associated Press se vůdce povstalců gen. Francois Bozize prohlásil za prezidenta, poté co se zmocnil v neděli hlavního města. S okamžitou platností zrušil ústavu země a parlament. Povstalci začali útočit na hlavní mezinárodní letiště a v sobotu se zmocnili velké části Bangui, zatímco prezident Ange-Felix Patasse byl na návštěvě Nigeru na setkání hlav afrických států. Mluvčí povstalců kap. Parfait Mbaye řekl, že povstalci měli pod kontrolou celé město do nedělního rána. Nejméně 50 lidí bylo zabito od chvíle, kdy začal útok. Světový potravinový program OSN oznámil ve středu, že během drancování přišel o 1,800 tun zásob potravin ve skladu v Bangui – což představuje jídlo pro hladové děti celé země na osm měsíců. „Očití svědci říkají, že to vypadalo, jako kdyby se polovina obyvatel hlavního města seběhla k objektům skladů,“ řekl David Bulman, mluvčí agentury. „Muselo to vypadat, jako když si mravenci odnášejí jídlo.“ (HCJB World Radio/AP)|
|SCHŮZKA S VIETNAMSKÝMI ÚŘEDNÍKY DÁVÁ DOMÁCÍM SBORŮM NOVOU NADĚJI.|
| Malý průlomem otázce náboženských svobod by mohlo být pozvání představitelů protestantských domácích sborů a mezidenominačních misií do Hanoje k „informačním rozhovorům“ 5. března. Takové schůzky jsou ve Vietnamu vzácností vzhledem k tomu, že obecně se od Úřadu pro církevní záležitosti očekává spíše kontrola sborů, než rozhovory s nimi. Delegace křesťanů zastupovala přes 1400 „ilegálních“ domácích sborů a stovky kazatelů. K setkání došlo v době, kdy Vietnam značně zvyšuje svůj tlak na menšinové křesťany mezi Horaly v Centrální Vysočině a v etniku Hmong na severovýchodě země. Viz související zpráva z 27.2.2003
*Tato a další zprávy jsou (pouze v aktuální den) v originální anglické verzi zde.
|VŠECHNY DNEŠNÍ ZPRÁVY V ANGLIČTINĚ|
| * MISSION COMPOUNDS IN CENTRAL AFRICAN REP. LOOTED IN WEEKEND COUP
Rebels in the Central Africa Republic looted mission compounds operated by Grace Brethren International Missions (GBIM) and the Covenant and Evangelical Free Mission in the capital city of Bangui during a coup Sunday, March 16. The Baptist Mid-Missions station in Bangui has escaped the looting, but rebel soldiers are reportedly asking for $20,000 to protect it.
All six of GBIM's compounds in the country -- five outside of Bangui -- were looted, including a hospital, three Bible Schools and a seminary, said Jim Hocking, the ministry's field director for Central African Republic. "Not only that, nearly 80 percent of the city has been looted according to news reports. But we're thankful that God has protected His people. We have had contact with some of the leaders in Bangui indicating that they are OK, and they have not heard of any casualties from our churches."
Despite the unrest and looting, HCJB World Radio's partner station in Bangui continues to broadcast the gospel. "The radio station is intact and they are still transmitting!" Hocking said. "God is good. I do not know with all the looting how this has survived, but God has done it." The station went on the air with partners GBIM and the Grace Brethren national church in May 2001. It broadcasts eight hours a day in two languages, French and Sango. Hocking urges to believers in the West to pray for peace and for permission to open a second larger radio station in the country.
Rebel leader Gen. François Bozize proclaimed himself as president after capturing the capital city on Sunday, reported the Associated Press. He immediately suspended the country's constitution and parliament. The rebels began attacking the main international airport and overran much of Bangui on Saturday while President Ange-Felix Patasse was visiting Niger for a meeting of African heads of state. Rebel spokesman Capt. Parfait Mbaye said the rebels controlled the entire city of 622,000 by Sunday morning. At least 50 people have been killed since the weekend attack began.
The U.N. World Food Program reported Wednesday that looters carried off 1,800 tons of its food stocks from a Bangui warehouse on the weekend -- equivalent to eight months of food for the country's hungry children. "Eyewitnesses say it was as though half the population of the capital, Bangui, had converged on the warehouse complex," said David Bulman, a spokesman for the agency. "It must have been like ants carrying away the food." (HCJB World Radio/AP)
UP TO 300,000 REFUGEES BEGIN FLEEING IRAQ AS WAR BEGINS
As war begins in Iraq with Operation Iraqi Freedom underway, humanitarian agencies are preparing for the human cost of conflict. International Aid's Myles Fish anticipates a flood of up to 300,000 refugees in Jordan. "We're poised and we're ready to respond, if and when either the border opens up and we can get into Iraq, or if refugees start coming into Jordan, that we can minister to," he says. In the scramble, people are finding that leaving Iraq is a slow process. Fish says the crisis is opening ministry opportunities to share the love of Christ.
Meanwhile, the Bible League spokesman Dave Stravers says his ministry is working to make sure believers worldwide are equipped with the Scriptures. "We're focusing our efforts in regions of conflict where we have very aggressive, high-objective ministries to prepare God's Word and train people to use it in evangelism," he says.
The country's small Christian minority in Iraq fears more than American bombs as a growing tide of Islamic militancy is being encouraged in the secularized Arab state. Numbering less than 400,000, Iraq's Christian community has become the object of overt discrimination by Islamist elements in recent months. The attacks have ranged from verbal abuse and graffiti campaigns to stone-throwing and even brutal assassinations. In recent weeks anti-Christian rhetoric has dominated Friday prayer sermons in Baghdad's mosques. Although President Saddam Hussein initially kept religion out of Iraq's political life, he began to encourage devotion to Islam after the 1991 Gulf War. Four years ago he launched a "faith campaign" to promote a revival of Islam, building scores of new mosques and religious schools across the country.
Southern Baptist military chaplains in the Middle East are reporting a swell of spiritual interest among the troops, including capacity crowds at chapel services and numerous professions of faith. It's a familiar pattern in times of crisis -- one that is welcomed by chaplains. "Now is a golden opportunity to reach soldiers for Christ," said Maj. Keith Kilgore, a Southern Baptist U.S. Army chaplain based in Kuwait. "I am witnessing all the time, and it is the soldiers who want to talk about God and their faith. We worship in chapel, but the real evangelism takes place everywhere -- in the laundry, the mess hall, the barbershop, the motor pool and the sleep tent. All I have to do is show up, and someone wants to talk to me about Jesus." (Mission Network News/Compass/Baptist Press)
PAKISTANI JUDGE ACQUITS 2 CHRISTIAN BROTHERS OF BLASPHEMY CHARGES
Saleem and Rashid Masih, two Pakistani Christian brothers sentenced to 35 years imprisonment for "blasphemy" against Islam, were acquitted Wednesday, March 19, by Rustam Ali Malik, a Lahore High Court judge. The brothers were imprisoned in Sialkot Central Jail in June 1999 on charges that they blasphemed the prophet Mohammed during a dispute about ice cream service in the Pasrur region of northeastern Pakistan. A Muslim ice cream vendor refused to serve the Christians in the same bowls used by Muslims. "I do not have any bowls for Christians," complainant Masood Ahmed reportedly told the brothers when they approached him to buy ice cream. He then reported the brothers to the police, accusing them of making "bad remarks" against Islam and Mohammed. Despite contradictions in the testimony given by prosecution witnesses, the brothers were sentenced to 35 years in prison in May 2000. Even though the two men have been freed, they could be still be in danger of retaliatory attacks from fundamentalist Muslims, reported the human rights group, the Centre for Legal Aid Assistance and Settlement, in Pakistan. (Jubilee Campaign)
CHRISTIANS OUTRAGED BY SURVEYS IN INDIA'S GUJARAT STATE
The Christian community in western India's Gujarat state has been the target of three government surveys conducted through the Criminal Investigation Department, apparently in preparation for an anti-conversion bill to be considered by the state legislature at the end of this month. Compass reported that the three surveys were aimed at amassing information to use against the Christian community and ensure passage of the bill. However, the Gujarat High Court has ordered a halt to the surveys while it awaits an explanation from government officials as to the reason for the surveys. The pro-Hindu Indian People's Party, which won election in Gujarat on a Hindu supremacist plank, ordered three different surveys beginning in February seeking details of conversions and finances. Christians are both terrified and outraged by the surveys. "Are we criminals that the state has to order the authorities to conduct surveys on our communities and activities?" asked Church of North India pastor Dev Oza. "This is precisely what they did to the Muslims before their pogroms against them last year. This is precisely what the Nazis did to the Jews. They are literally marking our homes with swastikas using yellow chalk." (Religion Today)
5 UZBEK MUSLIMS JAILED FOR ROLE WITH EXTREMIST GROUP
Five Muslim men in their 20s and 30s have been sentenced in Tashkent, Uzbekistan, to long periods of imprisonment on charges relating to what the authorities allege was their membership of the banned Islamist group, Hizb-ut-Tahrir, which aims to establish an Islamic state in Central Asia. Adyljon Ziyayev was sentenced to 10 years in prison; Davron Rashidov, nine years; Rustam Nigmatov and Bakhodyr Khashimov, eight years each; and Shoakbar Azimov, seven years. The men maintained they were simply ordinary Muslims seeking to study their faith. "The accused did indeed know members of Hizb-ut-Tahrir, but they themselves were not engaged in political activity," said Ismail Adylov of the Independent Human Rights Organization of Uzbekistan. "They were simply trying to gain a more profound knowledge of Islam." Thousands of Muslims are serving sentences in Uzbekistan on charges of belonging to Hizb-ut-Tahrir or distributing its leaflets. (Forum 18 News Service)
MEETING WITH VIETNAMESE OFFICIALS GIVES HOUSE CHURCHES NEW HOPE
In what may be a small breakthrough for religious liberty, Vietnam's religion authorities invited five leaders of Protestant house church organizations and nondenominational missions to Hanoi for "informal talks" on March 5. Such a meeting is rare in Vietnam where the Bureau of Religious Affairs and other governmental bodies rarely consult the religious groups they are supposed to control. Together, the Christian delegation represented more than 1,400 "illegal" house congregations and hundreds of evangelists. The meeting took place at a time when Vietnam has markedly increased its activities against minority Montagnard Christians in the central highlands and against Hmong Christians in the northwestern provinces. (Compass)
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