Fears for Christians as Isis kills aid worker in Bangladesh

by Sean Smith, UCA News

dhakamurder295The death of a Christian aid worker in Bangladesh is the first terrorist atrocity to be carried out in the country by Isis, it is believed.
The terror group confirmed that they shot dead Cesare Tavella in Dhaka while he was out jogging in the diplomatic area of the capital.

Local police said that he appeared to have been ambushed by three men who had pulled to the side of the road on a motorcycle. The men fired at Mr Tavella at least three times before fleeing on the bike.
“We think it was a pre-planned killing,” said Mohammad Abdul Ahad, a Dhaka police official.

According to the SITE Intelligence Group, a UK group which monitors radical Islamic websites, Isis issued a statement after the killing claiming that a “security detachment” had tracked Mr Tavella through the streets of Dhaka and then killed him using “silenced weapons.”  In its statement, Islamic State hinted at more attacks in Bangladesh and said citizens of what it called “the crusader coalition” were not safe, even in the homes of Muslims.  The crusader coalition – a thinly veiled reference to the Crusades in the Middle Ages – is a name coined by Isis to represent all Western democracies.


Dhaka police detectives cordon off the scene of the shooting on Monday night (PA)

No arrests had been made, and police officials cautioned that they could not immediately confirm that the Islamic State was behind the shooting.

Security concerns for non-Muslims have escalated since 2010 when Bangladesh’s constitution was returned from an Islamic state back into a secular democracy. A spate of killings of atheist bloggers by Muslim fundamentalists has led to intelligence suggesting that Isis was about to make its first inroads into Bangladesh, which has the fourth largest Muslim population in the world.

At least four bloggers have been killed in the last 18 months, the latest being Niladri Chatterjee, 40, who was hacked to death in his home in Dhaka last month.

Cricket Australia are ready to cancel a three-week tour of Bangladesh for the Australian cricket team after security officials received unconfirmed reports that it will be targeted for terror attacks.

The Australian players have already been told to return to their regional teams and are not expecting to have to travel to the troubled region.
The United States and United Kingdom have issued alerts to their citizens living in Bangladesh, warning of further militant attacks and urging them to remain vigilant.


Cricket Australia are ready to postpone their three-week tour of Bangladesh (PA)

Western embassies in Bangladesh have also restricted their diplomats’ movements amid concern more foreigners might be targeted by Islamic State.

Father Albert Rozario, secretary of the Bangladesh Catholic Bishops’ Episcopal Commission for Justice and Peace, told ucanews.com: “The murder is strange because Cesare Tavella was not a diplomat. Moreover, the red alerts from the US and UK governments are dangerous signs for the country.  “The government should take the matter seriously and check on a possible militant link. It should ensure security for everyone and resist those who want to make Bangladesh an Islamic state,” the priest added.

Mr Tavella, 50, who arrived in Bangladesh in May to run a food security project for the Dutch Protestant development group ICCO Cooperation, had more than 20 years experience in rural development, mostly in Asia.

Source: The Tablet

Additional reporting by UCA News

Six churches torched in Tanzania

Published: Sep. 30, 2015

Six churches have been burnt down in northwest Tanzania within the past week.


The Buyekera Pentecostal Assemblies of God church in Bukoba, after it was set on fire on 23 September. Courtesy Open Doors International

First, on 23 September, three churches were torched – the Living Waters International Church, Buyekera Pentecostal Assemblies of God, and Evangelical Assemblies of God Tanzania churches, which are all located in the Bukoba region, on the shores of Lake Victoria.

Then, during the night of 26 September, three more churches – also in Bukoba – were torched: the Evangelical Lutheran Church, Kitundu Roman Catholic Church and Katoro Pentecostal Assemblies of God Church. All are located in the Katoro region of western Bukoba.

“The people woke up on 27th Sep to find their sanctuaries burnt down,” an anonymous source told World Watch Monitor. “The scenarios are the same; unknown people broke in, piled things onto the altar, poured petrol over it and set it alight. They fled before anyone could respond and so remain unknown.”


Map of Tanzania: Courtesy Open Doors International

The first fire occurred at the Living Waters church. At around 4am local time, the pastor, Rev. Vedasto Athanas, was awakened by a phone call from a neighbour alerting him that his church was on fire. He rushed to the scene, but was too late to prevent the damage to hundreds of chairs, tables and benches, and the pulpit.

Shortly afterwards, arsonists set fire to the Buyekera Pentecostal church, which is led by Rev. Emmanuel Narsis.

About an hour later, the third church, in the nearby Kibeta neighbourhood, was torched. Its pastor, Rev. Kabonaki, received a phone call just before 6am. He rushed to the church, but was too late to prevent the flames from destroying the church and everything inside.

The secretary of the local pastors’ organisation, the Bukoba Pastors Fellowship, said there have been many arson attacks in the Kagera area since 2013.

“Since 2013 we have had over 13 churches torched here in Kagera and no one has been held accountable. This is not acceptable,” said the secretary, who wished to be known only by her first name, Annette.

In early 2013, the church of Rev. Innocent Mzinduki was torched; in July 2013, a pastor identified as Joyce lost her church; in September 2013, the Maruku Pentecostal Assemblies of God Church was burned down. In early 2015, Lutheran churches in Rubale, Kyaka Mushasha and Kagondo Muleba were torched; then in February, the Calvary Assemblies of God, Itawa Baptist Church, Redeemed Church, Kagondo and TMRC Kyabitembe were all burned down.

“And these are not the only ones,” Annette told World Watch Monitor. “They have now started adding fuel [paraffin or petrol] to ensure maximum damage.”

According to the secretary, a few people were arrested after the February arson incidents but they were later released. No more investigative progress has been reported to date.

“We are very upset and concerned as this is a trend that can no longer be ignored,” she said. “The police tell us they are investigating but we have heard no progress from investigations of previous church arson attacks.”

Source: World Watch Monitor


Note:  This article below highlights a serious situation that is developing in some asylum centres. Christians, after fleeing from persecution, have found themselves being bullied and persecuted in places that ought to provide refuge and freedom. Please pray for Christian refugees who are facing these situations.

From Breitbart

By Liam Deacon

Christian migrants in German asylum centres are living under persistent threat, with many fearing for their lives as the hardline Sunni majority within the migrant population attempts to enforce Sharia law in their new host nation. The situation is so bad that Christians claim they live like “prisoners” in Germany, and some have even returned to Middle East.


In the German state of Thuringia, Prime Minister Bodo Ramelow, one of the multiculturalists driving and celebrating the migrant crisis, has been forced to initiate a policy of separating and segregating different cultures as soon as they arrive in Europe.

“In Iran, the Revolutionary Guards have arrested my brother in a house church. I fled the Iranian intelligence, because I thought in Germany I can finally live freely according to my religion,” says Said, a Christian who fled persecution in his native country.

“But I can not openly admit that I am a Christian in my home for asylum seekers. I will be threatened,” he told Germany language paper Die Welt.

“Christian refugees are often stopped from using kitchens to prepare food in asylum centres, and are constantly bullied for not praying five times a day to Mecca.”

This year Germany prepares to absorb a million people in just twelve months – one per cent of its entire population – from numerous, diverse and alien cultures.

“We must rid ourselves of the illusion that all those who arrive here are human rights activists,” says Max Klingberg of the International Society for Human Rights (ISHR), who has worked with refugees for 15 years. “Among the new arrivals is not a small amount of religious intensity, it is at least at the level of the Muslim Brotherhood,” he said.

Said is living in an asylum centre in southern Brandenburg, near the border with Saxony. “They wake me before dawn during Ramadan and say I should eat before the sun comes up. If I refuse, they say I’m a kuffar, an unbeliever. They spit at me… They treat me like an animal. And threaten to kill me.”

“… They are also all Muslims,” he adds.

Gottfried Martens, a pastor of the Evangelical Lutheran Church Trinity in Berlin-Steglitz, has around 600 Afghanis and Iranians in his church, most of whom he baptised himself. “Almost all have big problems in their homes,” says Martens. “Devout Muslims teach their view, that here [in Germany] there is the Sharia, and then there is our law.”

He told Die Welt that the Christian refugees are often stopped from using kitchens to prepare food in asylum centres, and are constantly bullied for not praying five times a day to Mecca. Martens continues:

“And [the Christians] ask the question: What happens when the devout Muslim refugees leave the refugee center, must we continue hiding ourselves as Christians in the future in this country?”

Said’s fear is not unfounded. On the 14th of September German police in the town of Hemer revealed in a statement that an Eritrean Christian and his wife – who was eight months pregnant – had been hospitalised after being brutally attacked with a glass bottle by Algerian Muslims. The man had been wearing a wooden crucifix, which had “insulted” the Algerians.

In September, Syrian refugees rioted in the town of Suhl when an Afghan man tore a few pages out of the Koran. Last week during Ramadan, in Baden-Württemberg Ellwangen, there was a mass brawl between Christians, Yazidis and Muslims, and just this weekend migrant violence erupted as hundreds fought in the city of Kassel, leaving 14 injured.

A young Syrian from Erstaufnahmelager in Giessen, who has reported threats against him, said he is concerned that among the refugees are followers of the Islamic State (IS): “They shout Quranic verses. These are words that IS shouts before they cut off people’s heads. I cannot stay here. I am a Christian,” he said

Die Welt even reports a case of a Christian family from Iraq who was housed in a refugee camp in Bavarian Freising. The family lived like “prisoners” in Germany, they said, so returned to Mosul in Iraq. The father told a TV crew how Syrian Islamists had attacked them in Germany: “You have my wife yelled at and beaten. My child they say… We will kill you and drink your blood.”

Simon Jacob of the Central Council of the Eastern Christians said that stories like this no longer surprise him: “I know a lot of reports of Christian refugees who are under attack. But that’s just the tip of the iceberg.”

“The number of unreported cases is high. We must expect further conflicts that bring the refugees from their homeland to Germany. Between Christians and Muslims. Between Shiites and Sunnis. Between Kurds and extremists. Between Yazidis and extremists,” he said.

source: Breitbart

Please email admin@friendsinthewest.org and let us know if you have an initiative to help Christian refugees, or stories relating to persecution, etc. that should be shared in the wider Christian community.