Zprávy HCJB 10.6.2004

   7 CHRISTIANS IN INDIA CHARGED WITH 'CONVERSION BY INDUCEMENT' Pastor Subas Samal, his associate pastor (Dhanishwar Kandi) and five others from Kilipal village in eastern India's Orissa state have been charged with "conversion by inducement" under the Orissa Freedom of Religion Act. The Christians are accused of using financial rewards to lure 25 Dalit villagers to become Christians during the last 10 years. A June 3 report indicates that the charges follow the arrests of six Hindu villagers after Samal and eight Christian women were beaten, had their heads shaved, and were humiliated for their faith. The lawyer for the Hindu villagers who humiliated the Christians claims that the Christians shaved their own heads in order to malign the Hindu community. (Voice of the Martyrs) * "The Voice of the Great Southland," the shortwave station operated by HCJB World Radio-Australia since January 2003, airs more than 59 hours of weekly Christian programming across South Asia. Programs go out in nine languages: English, Urdu, Hindi, Punjabi, Nepali, Tamil, Chattisgarhi, Hmar and Meeitei. Most of the programming in the Indian languages is produced at HCJB World Radio's studio in New Delhi. Additional releases from Australia, primarily in English, reach the South Pacific, Southeast Asia and East Asia. CHRISTIAN FROM INDIA REMAINS IN SAUDI JAIL FOR PREACHING GOSPEL An Indian national abducted and tortured by Saudi Arabia's religious police for "spreading Christianity" remains jailed without trial 11 weeks after his detention. Brian Savio O'Connor, 36, was accosted in the Mursalat district of Riyadh on the evening of March 25 by four agents of the muttawa (religious police). After seeing his Saudi identity card listing O'Connor as a Christian, they dragged him to a nearby muttawa office, chained his legs and hung him upside down for seven hours. The four intermittently beat him on the chest and ribs and whipped the soles of his feet with electrical wires. In response to questions, O'Connor declared that he did preach the Bible, but denied converting Muslims to Christianity. At 2 a.m. the muttawa took O'Connor to the Olaya police station and ordered him put under arrest on charges of preaching Christianity, selling liquor and peddling drugs. A cargo agent for Saudia Airlines for the past six years, O'Connor shares a windowless cell with 16 inmates at Al-Hair Prison. The All India Catholic Union, the Indian Bishops' Conference and officials of the Indian Embassy have filed appeals to Saudi authorities on O'Connor's behalf, but their inquiries have gone unanswered. (Religion Today/Compass) MOBS ATTACK 4 INDONESIAN CHURCHES NEAR JAKARTA Mobs armed with sticks attacked four churches on the southwestern outskirts of the Indonesian capital of Jakarta on Sunday, June 6, injuring a pastor and damaging the buildings and furnishings. The coordinated attacks took place during morning services. The mobs burst into the buildings, damaging pews and windows. One pastor was punched in the head, but did not suffer serious injuries. According to media reports, the attacks came because the churches were established without the town's permission. Because of difficulties in gaining approval to start new churches, Indonesian believers are frequently compelled to do so without permission, gathering in meeting halls, shopping malls and business areas. (Voice of the Martyrs) * HCJB World Radio worked with local Indonesian partners to establish a local Christian station in Sumba Island. Plans are also being made to establish stations on Roti Island and at Kupang in West Timor. Equipment was sent from the HCJB World Radio Engineering Center in Elkhart, Ind. U.K. DELEGATION PLANS TRIP TO SUPPORT WRONGLY IMPRISONED PERUVIANS The Peru Support Group will lead a U.K. parliamentary delegation to Peru June 21-25 to help inmates, many of them Christians, who were wrongly imprisoned during 20 years of political violence. The visit is being co-funded by Christian Solidarity Worldwide as part of its ongoing work with prisoners wrongly accused of terrorism offences. The delegation will encourage the Peruvian government to act on the recommendations of Peru's Truth and Reconciliation Commission which concluded that about 69,000 people were killed or "disappeared" between 1980 and 2000. The commission finished its work in August 2003. In the 1990s ex-president Alberto Fujimori put into place emergency terrorist laws to eradicate terrorist groups such as El Sendero Luminoso (Shining Path). He implemented a system of arbitrary detainment and "faceless judges." Military and police authorities picked up thousands of civilians. Some were never seen again. Others suffered severe torture and were denied legal counsel. Often their families were threatened in an effort to force them to "confess." The recommendations of the commission involve bringing those responsible to justice, implementing institutional reforms, providing reparations and exhuming the bodies from more than 4,000 mass burial sites throughout the country. (Christian Solidarity Worldwide) POLITICAL INSTABILITY IN NEPAL LEADS TO SPIRITUAL OPENNESS Maoist rebels continue to wreak havoc in the Himalayan country of Nepal this week as the Hindu kingdom has been unable to create a stable government since the massacre of the country's royal family three years ago. However, an American missionary, unnamed for security reasons, says the unrest is opening opportunities for Operation Mobilization to share the gospel as people become increasingly disillusioned with their traditional religions. "Buddhism and Hinduism have not brought them any satisfaction," he says. "There are also factions among them, within their own communities, so all that has been a failed system. I think what we're seeing is all the choices are really narrowed down to just one thing left, and that's Jesus." (Mission Network News) BRITISH CHARITY LAUNCHES 'JESUS NOT A SWEAR WORD' CAMPAIGN An innovative advertising campaign has been launched across North Staffordshire, England, challenging people to stop swearing and misusing the Lord's name in everyday language. The "Jesus not a swear word" campaign is organized by the Saltbox Christian Centre, a Christian charity based in Stoke-on-Trent that supports and encourages area churches. Saltbox Director Lloyd Cooke said the main aim of this campaign is to "challenge people about their use of language. We are aiming to be quite deliberately provocative. We are also trying to promote religious tolerance. In today's society, many people are concerned about offending other religions. Indeed, there would be an outcry if people began to use Buddha or Mohammed as a swear word. To this end, we are simply asking for a level playing field." The campaign was the idea of local pastor, Philip Parsons. "We expect the advertising campaign to be a talking point among people and to provoke people to ask questions that would lead them to a personal experience of the reality of the Lord Jesus Christ," Cooke said. (Religious Media Agency)

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