12/01/2021 India (International Christian Concern) – According to The New Indian Express, an investigation into claims of forced conversions in India’s Karnataka state have found no instances of forced conversion. Instead, the investigation, which interviewed more than 40 families, found that all had converted to Christianity of their own will.
In Karnataka, the issue of religious conversion has become a controversial issue. Members of the BJP-led government in Karnataka have claimed that forced conversions to Christianity are rampant in the state and an anti-conversion law must be enacted.
Gulihatti Shekhar, a BJP MLA, claimed that many people, including his own mother, had been forcefully converted to Christianity in his district. Following this claim, the local administration of Shekhar’s district investigated the MLA’s claim, interviewing 46 Christian families from two villages.
“The families told us that nobody forced them, and they are happy and have a peace of mind since they converted to Christianity,” Y Thippeswamy, the local tahsildar, told The New Indian Express. “When we asked about reports of some people luring them to accept Christianity, the families rubbished those reports.”
Hindu nationalists often used false claims of mass illegal conversions to minority faiths to justify the passage of laws that limit religious freedom. Most of these false narratives target India’s Christian and Muslim communities, instigating street level violence against churches and mosques.
While Karnataka has not enacted an anti-conversion law, many radical Hindu nationalists on the ground are acting as if the law already exists. International Christian Concern (ICC) has documented an increase in attacks on Christians across Karnataka and this has many concerned about what will happen when the anti-conversion law is enacted.
In states where similar anti-conversion laws are enacted, including Odisha, Madhya Pradesh, Arunachal Pradesh, Chhattisgarh, Gujarat, Jharkhand, Himachal Pradesh, Uttar Pradesh, and Uttarakhand, they are widely abused. Radical nationalists falsely accuse Christians of forcefully converting individuals to Christianity to justify harassment and assault. Local police often overlook violence perpetrated against Christians due to false accusations of forced conversion.
To date, no individual has been convicted of forced conversion in India. This is despite of the fact that some of the anti-conversion laws have been in force since 1967.
For interviews, please contact Addison Parker: [email protected]
Head of Terrorist Group Sentenced to 15 Years for Bali Bombing
01/20/2022 Indonesia (International Christian Concern) – The mastermind behind the deadly Bali Bombing, where more than 200 people were killed, has been sentenced to 15 years of imprisonment.
Commonly known as Arif Sunarso, Zulkarnaen, Daud, and Abdullah Abdurrohman, Sunarso was found guilty of committing a criminal act of terrorism on January 19. He was arrested by the anti-terror police Densus 88 on Dec. 10, 2020, after being at large for 18 years.
The months he spent behind bars awaiting trial will be applied to his actual sentence. Although the public prosecutor demanded life imprisonment for Sunarso, he only received 15 years.
According to Asia News, Sunarso not only masterminded the Bali attacks, but was also responsible for attacks on Jolo Island (Philippines) and was a key asset for the Jemaah Islamiyah terrorist group, teaching in its training camps. For at least seven years, he oversaw the training of Islamist fighters in Afghanistan and the Philippines.
Police had detained Sunarso previously in connection with a series of attacks against Indonesian churches in several cities between Christmas and New Year in 2000-2001, Indonesian police spokesman Ahmad Ramadan said in 2020.
He was also allegedly involved in the bombing of the Philippine ambassador’s residence in Menteng, Jakarta, in August 2000.
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Mozambican Terrorist Declares Intent for Global Jihad
01/20/2022 Mozambique (International Christian Concern) – A video has surfaced on social media depicting Juma Saide Mussa, a captured rebel leader in Mozambique, confessing jihadist intent behind the country’s ongoing insurgency.
“I was captured in Pangane village more than a year ago…” Mussa said in the video, speaking Kiswahili. “The core purpose of the fighters is to ensure that Islam rules (Mozambique) and help in creating a global Islamic rule.”
According to Zitamar News, Mussa was forcibly abducted by insurgents less than two years ago and rose to a position of leadership before the date of his capture.
Sources who knew Mussa prior to his recruitment say that he had never been linked to radicalization and worked as a sailor in his village.
Beginning in 2017, armed militants, bearing the Islamic State flag, have wreaked havoc primarily in the northern Mozambique province of Cabo Delgado. Calling themselves Al-Shabab, the group espouses radical Islamist propaganda, however the amount of ideological motivation has been debated.
In March of this year, Al-Shabab killed dozens in a coordinated attack on Cabo Delgado’s capital of Palma, an area where believers are often kidnapped, forced to flee, or killed at the hands of extremists.
In a statement after this attack, IS boasted that its affiliate had killed dozens of security personnel—and Christians, including westerners from what the statement termed “Crusader nations.”
Pray continue to pray for peace in Mozambique, as well as for the hearts of those who persecute the church, that the love of Jesus would bring them from darkness to light.
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