OPEN DOORS INTERNATIONAL Serving persecuted Christians worldwide

OPEN DOORS INTERNATIONAL
Serving persecuted Christians worldwide
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37. United Arab Emirates
The United Arab Emirates is one of the most liberal countries in the Gulf;
expatriates make up around 85 percent of the population. The constitution
provides for religious freedom on the condition that established customs, public
policy or public morals are not violated. The government restricts this freedom in
practice. Christians in the United Arab Emirates, who are mainly foreign workers,
are mostly persecuted by the government’s discriminatory attitude and society’s
hostile attitude towards Christianity, resulting sometimes in deportation. The
government is placing restrictions on the development of facilities for Christian
migrants. Persecution also comes from those community members who monitor
Christian migrants. This is a reality in the whole country, although smaller more
conservative Emirates are more restrictive than the larger ones.
Muslim Background Believers are under severe pressure by relatives, family and
Muslim society due to Islamic government, law and culture. All citizens are
defined as Muslims and the law denies Muslims the freedom to change religion
under penalty of the death. To avoid death, social stigma or other penalties,
converts may be pressured to return to Islam, to hide their faith or to travel to
another country where their conversion is allowed. There are very few local
believers among the Muslim population. Evangelism is prohibited, but non-
Muslim groups can worship freely in dedicated buildings or private homes.
The total number of points for the United Arab Emirates increased slightly from
37.5 to 38.5, which remarkably brings the country from position 34 to 37
because of considerable gains in points of the countries close to UAE on the
WWL. This year Open Doors gathered more information on the constitution and
national laws, which are more restrictive on religious freedom than previously
assumed. In general, religious freedom did not change much for Christians during
the current reporting period. Arrests, imprisonment and deportation can occur for
expatriate Christians who evangelize or distribute Christian literature openly, but
we did not receive reports of this. There were some reports of societal abuses or
discrimination based on religious affiliation, belief, or practice, and societal
pressures discouraged conversion from Islam to other religions. Christians in the
country notice many opportunities for Muslim—Christian dialogue. Though the
Arab Spring did not affect the UAE much, the latest developments in the Middle
East do lead the local people to question what good leadership is about.
Allegedly, this leads to opportunities for sharing the gospel.
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Re:puoi rispondere anche tu? Non ci sono cronache arabi dell'Islam del primo secolo dell'Islam. Molti dei primi documenti conosciuti sull'Islam si riferiscono ai seguaci di Maometto come "hagarenes," e la "tribù di Ismaele", in altre parole, come discendenti di Agar, la serva che gli ebrei patriarca Abramo utilizzato per padre di suo figlio Ismaele.
Questa stessa qualità di trasmissione si trova per quanto riguarda la Bibbia ebraica e cristiana non si può dire del Corano islamico. Il Corano islamico è stato in gran parte scritto da conti a mano 3 ° e 4, e da alcune riflessioni scritte su carta di scarto, foglie di palma e pietre - e compilato più di 150 anni dopo la morte di Maometto nel 632 dC Nel lMasabih il Mishtatu ', capitolo 3, veniamo informati che dal comando del primo califfo, Abu Bakr, il testo del Corano è stato "raccolto" da Zaid ibn Thabit "di foglie di palma e le pietre e dal petto di coloro che aveva imparato a memoria" le rivelazioni varie. "copia di Abu Bakr è entrato in possesso di Hafsah, una delle vedove di Maometto. Qustalani afferma che dopo la morte è il suo Hafsah copia è stata fatta a pezzi da Mirwan, che fu governatore di Medina.
La datazione più antica di tutto Corano 790 dC (dopo Cristo), ed è nella British Library. E '158 anni dopo la morte di Maometto. Vedi Corano corrotto qui.
I musulmani spesso affermano che il manoscritto del Corano nel Museo Topkapi di Istanbul, la Turchia è una delle più antiche fonti. I musulmani dicono che risale da circa 650 dC Vi è un problema insormontabile con questo. Questo documento è scritto in cufico (noto anche come al-Khatt al-Kufi) script. Monete in mostra al British Museum che le prime monete con la data cufico script dalla metà alla fine del 8 ° secolo (750-800 dC). Lo script utilizzato solo durante e dopo giorni di Maometto era lo script Jazm. Le prime copie del Corano sono scritti senza vocali e punti diacritici che la moderna araba usa per mettere in chiaro ciò che la lettera è destinato. Nei secoli VIII e IX, più di un secolo dopo la morte di Maometto, i commentatori islamici aggiunto segni diacritici per chiarire le ambiguità del testo

There are no Arabic chronicles of Islam from the first century of Islam. Many of the earliest documents known about Islam refer to the followers of Muhammad as "hagarenes," and the "tribe of Ishmael," in other words as descendants of Hagar, the servant girl that the Jewish patriarch Abraham used to father his son Ishmael.
This same quality of transmission we find regarding the Jewish and Christian bible cannot be said of the Islamic Qur'an. The Islamic Qur'an was mostly written down from 3rd and 4th hand accounts; and from a few thoughts written on scrap papers, palm leaves and stones --and compiled over 150 years after Muhammad died in 632 A.D. In the Mishtatu 'lMasabih, chapter 3, we are informed that by the command of the first Caliph, Abu Bakr, the text of the Qur'an was "collected" by Zaid ibn Thabit "from palm leaves and stones and from the breasts of those who had learned by heart" the various revelations." Abu Bakr's copy came into the possession of Hafsah, one of Muhammad's widows. Qustalani states that after Hafsah's death her copy was torn to pieces by Mirwan, who was governor of Medina.
The oldest Qur'an dates from around 790 A.D. (after Jesus), and it is in the British Library. That's 158 years after Muhammad's death. See corrupted Qur'an here .
Muslims often claim that the manuscript of the Qur'an housed in the Topkapi Museum in Istanbul, Turkey is one of the oldest sources. Muslims say it dates from around 650 A.D. There is an insurmountable problem with this. This document is written in Kufic (also known as al-Khatt al-Kufi) script. Coins in the British Museum show that the first coins using the Kufic script date from the mid to end of the 8th century (750-800 A.D.). The only script used during and after Muhammad's days was the Jazm script. These earliest copies of the Qur'an are written without vowels and diacritical dots that modern Arabic uses to make it clear what letter is intended. In the eighth and ninth centuries, more than a century after the death of Muhammad, Islamic commentators added diacritical marks to clear up the ambiguities of the text.



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Serving persecuted Christians worldwide
OpenDoorsUSA.org
38. Ethiopia
Ethiopia went from position 43 to 38 in the WWL, reflecting a higher number
of incidents related to persecution. The structural picture remained the same,
although underlying dynamics are changing rapidly.
The engines of persecution are twofold: ecclesiastical arrogance and Islamic
extremism. In the past the main persecutor was the Ethiopian Orthodox Church
(EOC). The EOC persecuted the emerging Protestant churches, and also renewal
movements within their own ranks. Meanwhile the Islamists have come more
and more alongside as persecutors of Protestants as well as EOC members in
the areas where they are predominant. So, the persecutors are more found
within social groups than within government circles. For instance, no law exists
that would stop the local church to openly integrate new believers after
conversion However, villagers and families are often against it. So now and
then EOC and Islamic leaders “encourage” mobs to attack churches and
converts—their agendas are totally different but their “enemy” is common as is
their strategy.
EOC still is a source of persecution of Christians in Ethiopia. Their leaders are
feeling that the church is losing its historical dominance. They think Protestants
and Islamists are taking their members in an attempt to destroy the church and
the nation. For them, the very existence of the nation is deeply associated with
EOC itself. EOC members, unlike recent memories, are showing strong
commitment and devotion to their religion. Protestant believers and their
churches are targeted in diverse ways. The “hard core” group inside EOC is
making life hard to the renewal movements within EOC. It accuses them to be
secret agents of Protestants. Priests want to stop believers from evangelism. A
number of priests and other workers were kicked out of the church after the
group reported they are “reformationalists.”
Islamism is another source of persecution in the country. Muslims feel uneasy
to see their members being evangelized by Protestant churches and they want
to stop it. Above that, the unprecedented shift of Islamism in Ethiopia from
Sunni to Wahhabism is a negative development. Islamic Da’wa leaders and
preachers from Arab countries are believed to have promoted intolerance
against others and assertive attitudes.
Striking in the Ethiopian context is the use of false accusations. Almost all
imprisonments were a result of fabricated cases. Officials in the country seemed
to be aware of international pressure and they fiercely reject any claim of
human rights abuses. Every time believers went to jail countless excuses were
invented. Insult of other religions, illegal meeting, illegal construction, theft,
and threat to public peace were some of them. False witnesses were used and
the verdict given.
The tension between EOC and the Islamists has won government’s attention. A
“Forum of Religions Dialogue for Peace and Development” was formed under
the blessing of the Ministry of Federal Affairs. Leaders from EOC, Islamists and
Evangelicals are members of this Forum. Meanwhile some Church leaders are
reporting that the Forum is used to enforce “commonly agreed” restrictions
such as the issue of evangelization outside churches. For instance, in
Benishangul Gumuz State, believers are not allowed to discuss religion in public
gathering places, offices, markets, schools etc. Churches in a town in Oromia
State are told they can no longer hold mass gatherings in public places.
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Serving persecuted Christians worldwide
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(Oromia State is the place where many Islamist attacks have taken place.) In
other words, it seems renewal movements within EOC and Protestant
churches are squeezed between the EOC and Islamism.
Ethiopia is a country to keep an eye on. Protestant churches are the fastest
growing movement in the country. “Underground movements” both in EOC
and Islam dominated areas have been reported as making incredible progress
in their work. EOC and Islamism will continue to see them as a threat.
Besides, Islamism also targets mainstream EOC. Open Doors expects that in
the short term persecution of Christians, in the broad sense of the word
“Christian,” will increase sharply—the more so because extremist Islam in
Ethiopia is fuelled by external sources. The unresolved conflict in the eastern
part of the country is also attracting some extremist groups like Al Shabaab
from neighboring Somalia.
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Serving persecuted Christians worldwide
OpenDoorsUSA.org
39. Djibouti
Djibouti maintains the same score as last year and stays in 39th place on the
WWL 2012. Although Open Doors had limited access to information on the
country, it estimates the persecution situation basically has not changed. The
main persecution engine is Islamic extremism.
According to the July–December 2010 U.S. Department of State International
Religious Freedom Report: “The constitution and other laws and policies
protect religious freedom and, in practice, the government generally enforced
these protections.” Although Islam is the state religion, according to the IRF
report ,“The government imposed no sanctions on those who choose to ignore
Islamic teachings or to practice other faiths.” IRF’s conclusion on family issues
however negatively qualifies this impression. “The government allows civil
marriage only for non-Muslim foreign residents. Muslims are required to
marry in a religious ceremony. A non-Muslim man may marry a Muslim
woman only after converting to Islam." According to the family code,
"impediment to a marriage occurs when a Muslim woman marries a non-
Muslim." Due to limited information it is difficult to further qualify the stance
of the government towards Christians, especially Muslim Background
Believers, in the country. Incidental reports from preceding years on structural
persecution elements however distinguished between “registered expatriate
churches” and “local believers,” most of who are “secret believers.” Such
distinctions make it likely that government, too, is involved in infringing upon
the right of religious freedom.
The July–December 2010 International Religious Freedom Report stated, “There
were occasional reports of societal discrimination based on religious affiliation,
belief, or practice. Societal norms and customs discouraged proselytizing by
non-Muslims and conversion from Islam; non-Muslim religious groups generally
did not engage in public proselytizing.” For fear of discovery new believers do
often not disclose their new belief to their family and local community, and
remain “secret believers.”
The dynamics of persecution are typical for Islamic extremism as driver of
persecution—both government and social groups/society are involved in
protecting the religious status quo with Islam as state religion. It seems
however that family and local community are more active drivers of persecution
than government. Given the scarcity of direct sources of input for the reporting
period it is difficult to sensibly indicate how the situation might develop in the
future.
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Serving persecuted Christians worldwide
OpenDoorsUSA.org
40. Jordan
Jordan experienced a moderate ‘Arab Spring’. The government reacted to local protests
for political reform with large public sector pay rises and food and energy subsidies. So
far, this has worked well and the protests have been limited.
Known as one of the most Western-orientated countries in the Middle East, traditional
Christians experience a certain extent of religious freedom. According to the Jordanian
constitution ‘The State shall safeguard the free exercise of all forms of worship and
religious rites in accordance with the customs observed in the Kingdom, unless such is
inconsistent with public order or morality.’ Islam is the religion of the State and the
Jordanian legal system is based on sharia (Islamic law) and laws of European origin.
However, leaving Islam is prohibited and ‘public proselytism’ of
Muslims is against government policy.
In general, relations between Muslims and Christians were peaceful.
Nevertheless Muslims who become Christians still fall under jurisdiction
of sharia courts and generally maintain a low profile to avoid
harassment or interrogation. In the past, family members have filed
charges against them in Islamic law courts, leading to the loss of
custody of their children, annulment of their marriage contracts and
depriving them of other civil rights. They face discrimination and the
threat of mental and physical abuse by their families, government
officials, and at times community members. Security service personnel reportedly
questioned MBBs on their beliefs, threatened court and other actions, and promised
rewards for returning back to Islam, such as job opportunities. They also withheld
certificates of good behavior needed for job applications or to open a business and told
employers to dismiss them.
For a few years there were considerable tensions between the evangelical churches and
the traditional churches in the Hashemite Kingdom. These seem to have eased off mostly
but the difficulties between the various denominations have hardly been reduced. Most
new believers are from the nominal Christian community, but recently more and more
Muslims are coming to faith. Whereas the church as a whole is declining in numbers, the
evangelical church is experiencing encouraging growth, doubling from 1995 to 2010. As
a result the authorities are increasingly monitoring churches, and security officers in
civilian clothes are present outside churches of some Christian denominations. However
some church leaders said the presence of security officers was meant to protect them
following threats against Christian groups in the region.
The situation of religious freedom for Christians in Jordan has not changed dramatically
compared to last year. Like last year, the country has 33.5 points and holds position 40.
There have been no major incidents against Christians during the reporting period.
Especially MBBs were pressured by local authorities, mostly monitored and sometimes
detained. MBBs were also put under pressure by their families and some radical Islamic
groups.
In Jordan, Christians remain a community under relative pressure. The numbers of
Christians have been declining since the country’s independence especially due to lower
birth rates and high emigration rates. On the other hand, large numbers of Iraqi
Christians have entered the country—a development that is still continuing. There is also
a large number of Muslim refugees entering the country from Iraq, Palestinian Territories
and Syria, which together with the rise of politicized Islam put increasing pressure on
Christians, especially on evangelicals and MBBs.
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Serving persecuted Christians worldwide
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41. Cuba
Cuba is one of the few remaining communist regimes in the world. Some years ago, the
country’s aging leader, Fidel Castro, made a place for his brother Raúl in the government,
but the regime stayed essentially the same; desired changes did not take place. Cuba
continues to isolate itself from the rest of the world and function under totalitarian control.
Christians make up almost 57 percent of the population, and a majority of them are Roman
Catholics. The past years have seen great growth for Protestant Christians. Many religious
organizations reported a significant increase in membership as well as revival, especially
among the young. Most churches reported increased participation in religious instruction
for children because government schools no longer schedule competing activities on
Saturdays or Sundays.
The constitution provides for religious freedom, but the government restricts this in practice.
Churches must register, which is difficult. There are many unregistered house churches that
have no legal status and experience harassment from the authorities. The government
restricts the construction of new church buildings and permission is often hard to obtain.
Permission to print Christian literature locally is hard to obtain. Bibles, Bible study materials
and Sunday school materials are in extremely short supply. The growing numbers of
unregistered house churches have no access to these materials, as Bibles are distributed in
Cuba through official channels and to registered churches only.
The totalitarian regime allows no competitors of any kind. Religious groups complain about
widespread surveillance and infiltration by state security agents. Pastors and Christians are
sometimes pressured to stop evangelizing and to limit their activities to their own church
premises.
Persecution of Christians, more severe in the past, is slowly changing. While Christian
persecution in the past included beatings, imprisonment and sometimes murder, now it is
generally more subtle. It continues in the form of harassment, strict surveillance and
discrimination, including occasional imprisonment of leaders. All believers are monitored
and all church services are infiltrated by spies; Christians are threatened and suffer
discrimination in school and at work.
There were no reports of persons imprisoned or detained for specifically religious reasons.
According to the International Religious Freedom Report, a few religious groups reported
cases of members who alleged that the government targeted them for prosecution of
crimes they did not commit because of their religious activities. Several pastors and
Christians share stories about being put under scrutiny, pressured to stop evangelizing and
told to limit their activities to their own church premises. Many house churches are not
registered and therefore have no legal status whatsoever. In one area in particular, Christians
are put under more pressure than elsewhere in Cuba: the area of Varadero. It is an area
specifically meant for tourists. Only Cubans that work there are allowed to live there but
Christians are repeatedly told not to do anything “Christian.” It is specifically forbidden to
do anything for youth; it’s considered to be “infiltration of the wrong ideology,” according
to one pastor. The Cuban government is really keen on keeping the area clean and
comfortable for the thousands of tourists coming to Varadero.
On the WWL, Cuba remained ranked number 41. The situation of Christians remains
unchanged and will probably stay the same while the communist regime is in place; no
transition is expected soon. Many religious organizations reported a significant increase in
membership as well as revival, especially among the young. It’s a sign of hope.
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42. Belarus
Belarus is often considered the last surviving dictatorship in Europe. The country is ruled by
Alexander Lukashenko, an authoritarian who has been in power since 1994. His government
allows almost no room for any opposing group, especially political opposition. After the
2010 presidential election, human rights, including freedom of speech and freedom of
assembly, have repeatedly been violated.
Although the constitution provides for the equality of religions and denominations, the
Orthodox Church is the only officially recognized denomination (80-85% of all Christians in
Belarus), while the Catholic and Lutheran churches are merely tolerated. Church registration
in Belarus is difficult, if not impossible. In practice, it is forbidden to carry out any religious
activity without prior government recognition of the religious organization as a legal entity.
The Law on Freedom of Conscience and Religious Organizations (2002) makes unregistered
religious activity a criminal offense and may result in a two-year term of imprisonment or
heavy court-imposed fines.
Religious communities do not have the right to develop their own media, to establish
religious educational institutions, to train religious personnel, nor to invite foreign priests to
satisfy religious needs of believers. Members of religious organizations do not have the right
to share their religious convictions or to carry out any religious activity (to preach, to
distribute literature, to hold public worship services, etc.), beyond the borders of the
location where the community is registered.
Protestant and Catholic denominations are restricted in their activity and monitored by the
secret police. Because the numbers of Evangelical and Pentecostal Christians are growing,
persecution is getting more intense for them.
Violent raids of unregistered churches occur frequently. In March 2010, twice a pastor was
fined more than a month's average wages for leading an unregistered church following a
raid on his church's worship service. In July 2010, a pastor was fined three times in one day
for sharing his faith in a local village.
Several leaders of the Belarusian Christian Democratic party have been harassed and even
imprisoned for long periods of time. Two of them were sentenced to labor camp, but were
later freed. One of the youth leaders of the party, Dzmitry Dashkevich, was kept in inhumane
conditions in prison and even tortured through deprivation of sleep, food and constant
psychological assault.
The very restrictive religious laws will continue to be used as an instrument of the
government to oppress religious minorities in the country. A change still is not in sight.
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