Pakistan Expels South Korean National Accused of Spreading the Gospel

BY SAMUEL SMITH , CP REPORTER

Pakistan officials say a South Korean national who it accused of using a business visa to preach the Gospel inside the Islamic republic has been expelled from the country.

(PHOTO: REUTERS)

The news comes after two Chinese nationals believed to be associated with the South Korean were killed last month by Islamic militants affiliated with the Islamic State terror group.

“Investigations have revealed that the South Korean national went to Pakistan on a business visa, set up an Urdu academy in Quetta and got involved in illegal preaching activities,” a Ministry of Interior official told ucanews.com this week. “We have revoked his visa and asked him to leave the country.”

According to World Watch Monitor, the South Korean national is Juan Won-seo. Pakistani officials told ucanews.com that 24-year-old Lee Zingyang and 26-year-old Meng Lisi, who were abducted and killed last month, were preaching Christianity under Won-seo’s guidance.

(Photo: Twitter/@usmanmasood44)Lee Zingyang and Meng Lisi of China were killed by Islamic militants affiliated with the Islamic State terror group in Pakistan in May 2017.

However, the Hindustan Times reports that South Korea has rejected Pakistan’s claims that Lee and Meng, who were in the country on the premise that they were Mandarin teachers learning Urdu, were preaching Christianity. A South Korean official told the news outlet on June 14 that there is no evidence from Pakistan to backup the claim that they were proselytizing under the leadership of the South Korean.

World Watch Monitor notes that Lee and Meng were only two of a dozen Chinese nationals in Pakistan for Urdu classes but Chinese media has claimed that the school is “merely a front for conducting religious activities.”

According to World Watch Monitor, a Chinese student interviewed by a Chinese government-sanctioned English news outlet claimed that South Koreans recruit Chinese “teenagers to conduct missionary activities in Muslim countries.”

“Compared to Chinese, more South Koreans have been killed abroad due to risky missionary activities in conservative Islamic regions,” the student was quoted as saying. “Some Chinese voluntarily join in the dangerous missionary activities in countries like Pakistan, Afghanistan and Iraq after being converted by South Koreans.”

However, critics have warned that China’s placing the blame on South Korean missionaries is an attempt to “mislead the Chinese people.”

“Most Chinese Christians have become Christian through Chinese evangelists. It has been very difficult for foreign citizens to proselytise in China. China does not have a visa category for religious clergy or missionaries,” Yang Fenggang, the director of the Centre on Religion and Chinese Society at Purdue University in Indiana told the Hindustan Times. “Some foreign students, professionals and business people may do evangelistic work within China, but evangelistic activities are restricted.”

Carsten Vala, an associate professor of political science at Loyola University in Baltimore, Maryland, told the Hindustan Times that Chinese nationals have also been “eager to go abroad as missionaries.”

“At least one Chinese church leader I interviewed reported that his congregation had sent missionaries to Pakistan, Afghanistan, and other Arabic-speaking countries,” Vala said.

Both China and Pakistan are listed as two of the worst countries in the world when it comes to the persecution of Christians. Open Doors USA’s 2017 World Watch List ranks Pakistan as No. 4 and China as No. 39.

 

Source: Christian Post

PAKISTAN EXPELS SOUTH KOREAN NATIONAL ACCUSED OF SPREADING THE GOSPEL

BY SAMUEL SMITH , CP REPORTER

Pakistan officials say a South Korean national who it accused of using a business visa to preach the Gospel inside the Islamic republic has been expelled from the country.

(PHOTO: REUTERS)

The news comes after two Chinese nationals believed to be associated with the South Korean were killed last month by Islamic militants affiliated with the Islamic State terror group.

“Investigations have revealed that the South Korean national went to Pakistan on a business visa, set up an Urdu academy in Quetta and got involved in illegal preaching activities,” a Ministry of Interior official told ucanews.com this week. “We have revoked his visa and asked him to leave the country.”

According to World Watch Monitor, the South Korean national is Juan Won-seo. Pakistani officials told ucanews.com that 24-year-old Lee Zingyang and 26-year-old Meng Lisi, who were abducted and killed last month, were preaching Christianity under Won-seo’s guidance.

(Photo: Twitter/@usmanmasood44)Lee Zingyang and Meng Lisi of China were killed by Islamic militants affiliated with the Islamic State terror group in Pakistan in May 2017.

However, the Hindustan Times reports that South Korea has rejected Pakistan’s claims that Lee and Meng, who were in the country on the premise that they were Mandarin teachers learning Urdu, were preaching Christianity. A South Korean official told the news outlet on June 14 that there is no evidence from Pakistan to backup the claim that they were proselytizing under the leadership of the South Korean.

World Watch Monitor notes that Lee and Meng were only two of a dozen Chinese nationals in Pakistan for Urdu classes but Chinese media has claimed that the school is “merely a front for conducting religious activities.”

According to World Watch Monitor, a Chinese student interviewed by a Chinese government-sanctioned English news outlet claimed that South Koreans recruit Chinese “teenagers to conduct missionary activities in Muslim countries.”

“Compared to Chinese, more South Koreans have been killed abroad due to risky missionary activities in conservative Islamic regions,” the student was quoted as saying. “Some Chinese voluntarily join in the dangerous missionary activities in countries like Pakistan, Afghanistan and Iraq after being converted by South Koreans.”

However, critics have warned that China’s placing the blame on South Korean missionaries is an attempt to “mislead the Chinese people.”

“Most Chinese Christians have become Christian through Chinese evangelists. It has been very difficult for foreign citizens to proselytise in China. China does not have a visa category for religious clergy or missionaries,” Yang Fenggang, the director of the Centre on Religion and Chinese Society at Purdue University in Indiana told the Hindustan Times. “Some foreign students, professionals and business people may do evangelistic work within China, but evangelistic activities are restricted.”

Carsten Vala, an associate professor of political science at Loyola University in Baltimore, Maryland, told the Hindustan Times that Chinese nationals have also been “eager to go abroad as missionaries.”

“At least one Chinese church leader I interviewed reported that his congregation had sent missionaries to Pakistan, Afghanistan, and other Arabic-speaking countries,” Vala said.

Both China and Pakistan are listed as two of the worst countries in the world when it comes to the persecution of Christians. Open Doors USA’s 2017 World Watch List ranks Pakistan as No. 4 and China as No. 39.

 

Source: Christian Post

Egyptian Church Raided, Chained Off by Police to Prevent Christians From Worshiping

BY SAMUEL SMITH ,

(Photo: Reuters/Asmaa Waguih)Coptic Christians attend a church service during Holy Easter week in central Cairo, Egypt, April 17, 2014.

According to a press release shared with The Christian Post by the human rights and religious freedom advocacy group International Christian Concern, the three-story building situated in the village of Saft Al-Kharsa in the Beni Suef governorate was broken into by police officials last Friday.

After police removed furniture, Christian iconography and other items from the building, they closed down the building using chains, an unnamed Christian villager told ICC..

“During the early hours of Friday, June 16, we [Christians] were surprised to find the furniture, rugs, icons, pictures, and worship utensils … had been thrown outside and the building closed down with seals and chains,” the Coptic Christian villager was quoted as saying. “We took the belongings into our homes. We don’t know why the police did that.”

The press release notes that the building had been used by the local Coptic Christian community as a church and a community center. The local Christians have tried to have the building legally recognized as a church since 2016 but have faced backlash from radical Muslims and resistance from the government.

“We were livid at the recent police raid against the building. The behavior by the police was inexplicable,” the church’s priest told ICC. “I demanded the Interior Minister [launch] an urgent investigation into the incident.”

ICC reported last July that a radical Muslim mob attacked four Christian-owned houses in Saft Al-Kharsa, noting that the mob was enraged after hearing rumors that one of the four houses was to be converted into a church. The attack marked the fifth attack on Christians over suspecions that a building would be used as a church within a matter of weeks. ICC noted at the time that there were about 60 Christians in the village with no church to worship in.

The ICC press release explains that the day after the July 22, 2016, attack on the Christian homes, Copts and Muslims convened for a reconciliation session. Although no damages were awarded to the families who had suffered damage to their homes, participants agreed that the building could only be used as a residence until all government permits had been granted.

However, local authorities have not been willing to comply with the Copts’ request for permits. ICC reports that a request issued last November to the Beni Sweif governor Sherif Habib to legalize the building as a church had not received a response before the church was raided.

Despite the lack of permits, the Christians proceeded to use the building for worship in order to avoid having to travel farther to worship.

“Not only have Christians struggled to build churches in this area for several years, but village Christians have begun traveling to other places of worship. Unfortunately, traveling has proven dangerous as well,” the ICC press release explains. “Some of the Coptic Christians killed in the May bus attack in Egypt were from this village and were traveling to worship as the government and their Muslim neighbors have made it difficult to build a church at home.”

The day after the government raided the church, 50 religious leaders met with Gov. Habib and demanded an adequate church building for the Christians in Saft Al-Kharsa and that the building be licensed as a community center that can legally hold worship services.

However, ICC states that the governor claimed that the building was in a state of disrepair and that he ordered it to be demolished.

“Clerics reminded the governor that this building was not life-threatening and that they had been trying to gain legalization in accordance with the law since 2016,” the press release explains, adding the governor eventually ordered the building be reopened as a community center. However, the governor ordered that no worship could be held there until a permit was received from the prime minister. The governor promised to address the prime minister about this issue in a timely manner.

As Copts throughout Egypt have been victimized by extremist church bombings and a string of murders that occurred earlier this year, the nation ranks as the 21st worst nation in the world when it comes to the persecution of Christians, according to Open Doors USA’s 2017 World Watch List.

“This series of persecution is an excellent example of how legal persecution through the withholding of a building permit can lead to more violent and deadly attacks,” William Stark, ICC’s regional manager, said in a statement. “Because these villagers had no place to legally worship, they joined a bus caravan to a monastery and some were killed when IS attacked their caravan. Christians have the right to worship in churches and the government needs to remain fair in authorizing such permits.”

Source: The Christian Post

Pastor Jailed in Burma Falls Ill

65-year-old Baptist leader on trial for ‘spying.’

Pastor Dom Dawng Nawng Latt. (Morning Star News via Burma military)

YANGON, Burma. One of two assistant pastors arrested by the Burma army last Christmas Eve is suffering deteriorating health from malnutrition, sources said.

Pastor Dom Dawng Nawng Latt, 65, has become weak, lacks energy and suffers from asthma and diarrhea, according to his wife and a lawyer for Nawng Latt and fellow pastor La Jaw Gam Hseng, 35, who is on trial with him.

“He lacks nutrition,” attorney U Brang Di told Morning Star News. “As he is old, it makes it worse. He seems very weak.”

The two assistant pastors were arrested in Burma (Myanmar) for helping local journalists cover attacks on a Catholic church building in northern Shan state, in eastern Burma, in November 2016.

On Dec. 24 they went to the Byuha Gon military base to negotiate the release of a civilian couple who had complained to army officials about the destruction of their house, but military officials released the couple and detained the clergymen, sources said.

Normally suspects can be held for only 28 days without trial under Burmese law, the attorney said. The two pastors finally appeared at a trial hearing in Lashio on May 3.

A Burma army prosecutor has charged the two pastors under the Unlawful Association Act with recruiting and spying for armed ethnic groups such as the Kachin Independence Army (KIA), the second largest ethnic armed group in Burm

The two Kachin Baptist Convention pastors, along with other denominational leaders, deny the charge.

“The court questioned five Burma Army officials who are witnesses from the prosecutor side for testimony,” Brang Di said. “The court will also question another two other police for testimony.”

Khon Peng, wife of pastor Nawng Latt, said he is increasingly discouraged.

“He suffers from asthma,” she told Morning Star News. “Now he has diarrhea often. He has to share the room with 40 people in custody. So, it is very tough for him; he is getting disappointed. He suffers both mentally and physically.”

She said she has been able to visit her husband a few times, even though Pastor Nawng Latt was transferred from Mongko town in Muse Township to Lashio in April, and brings him food and medicine.

“As he was transferred to a prison in Lashio town, it is more difficult for us to travel and see him often,” Peng said. “We have to make two stops. The road is tough, and it costs us more.”

The Christian leaders could face as much as three years in prison under the Article 17/1 for allegedly making contributions to or assisting an “unlawful association,” and as much as five years under Article 17/2 for assisting in the management or promotion of one.

Human Rights Watch has decried the arrests as arbitrary and called on Burma to release the pastors immediately.

Sources said that the Burma army arrested the two pastors for taking three local journalists to take pictures of the damaged St. Francis Xavier Catholic Church building that was bombed by Burma army jets in November.

A Burma army prosecutor, Maj. Kyaw Zin Htun, filed the charges against them.

After news and pictures about the attack on the church building were published, the Burma army asked a journalist to delete photographs of the damaged structure.

Armed conflict between Burma and ethnic armed organizations erupted anew in northern Shan state in November 2016, forcing over 50,000 refugees in total to flee to other areas of the state and the border with China.

Burma is about 80 percent Buddhist and 9 percent Christian. The government has recognized the special status of Buddhism in Burma.

Burma ranked 28th on Christian support organization Open Doors’ 2017 World Watch List of the 50 countries where it is most difficult to be a Christian.

Source: Morning Star News

Otto Warmbier: US student sent home from North Korea dies

Otto Warmbier’s parents say they went 15 months without hearing from or about their son

The US student held in captivity for more than 15 months in North Korea has died a week after returning home.

Otto Warmbier, 22, was serving 15 years hard labour, accused of attempting to steal a propaganda sign from a hotel.

He was returned to the US last Tuesday, with North Korea saying it was on humanitarian grounds.

North Korea said he had been in a coma for a year after contracting botulism but his family say he was subjected to “awful torturous mistreatment”.

A team of US doctors have also disputed North Korea’s version of events.

Mr Warmbier had suffered severe brain damage, and was medically evacuated from North Korea on 13 June to a hospital in his home city of Cincinnati, Ohio. It is unclear how he fell ill.

A statement from the family on Monday said: “It is our sad duty to report that our son, Otto Warmbier, has completed his journey home. Surrounded by his loving family, Otto died today at 2:20pm.”

They said the student had been “unable to speak, unable to see and unable to react to verbal commands”.

Otto appeared in a news conference in 2016 confessing to stealing the sign

“The awful torturous mistreatment our son received at the hands of the North Koreans ensured that no other outcome was possible beyond the sad one we experienced today.”

Timeline of events

  • 30 Dec 2015 – Mr Warmbier travels from Beijing to Pyongyang with a tour group.
  • 2 Jan 2016 – He is arrested at Pyongyang International Airport as he tries to leave the country. Later that month, North Korea announces it is holding Mr Warmbier for a “hostile act”.
  • 16 March 2016 – Mr Warmbier goes on trial in Pyongyang where he confesses to stealing a propaganda poster, and is sentenced to 15 years of hard labour. He is believed to have slipped into a coma shortly after his trial.
  • Early June 2017 – US officials and Mr Warmbier’s parents are told about his condition
  • 13 June 2017 -He is released from North Korea and medically evacuated to the US. Doctors say he has suffered a severe brain injury.
  • 19 June 2017 – Mr Warmbier dies.

The economics student from the University of Virginia had travelled to North Korea as a tourist.

A month after his arrest, he appeared at a news conference tearfully confessing to trying to take a sign from his hotel as a “trophy” for a US church.

“The aim of my task was to harm the motivation and work ethic of the Korean people,” he said.

Foreign detainees in North Korea have previously recanted confessions, saying they were made under pressure.

The company Mr Warmbier travelled with, China-based company Young Pioneer Tours, has announced it will no longer take visitors from the US to the country.

“The way his detention was handled was appalling and a tragedy like this must never be repeated,” it said in a statement.

“Despite constant requests, we were denied any opportunity to meet him or anyone in contact with him in Pyongyang, only receiving assurances that he was fine.”

‘No sign of botulism’

North Korea said last week that it had released Mr Warmbier “on humanitarian grounds”.

Shortly before he was freed, his parents told the Washington Post newspaper they had been informed by the North Korean authorities that their son had contracted botulism, a rare illness that causes paralysis, soon after his trial.

He was given a sleeping pill and had been in a coma ever since, the newspaper said.

Fred Warmbier, father of Otto Warmbier, speaks about his son’s imprisonment in North Korea during a press conference in Wyoming, Ohio on June 15, 2017

But a team of doctors assessing him in Cincinnati said they had found “no sign of botulism”.

Doctors confirmed that there was no sign he had been physically abused during his detention, based on scans.

They believe respiratory arrest led to his condition, which is caused by a lack of oxygen and blood in the brain.

President Donald Trump said Mr Warmbier’s death had deepened his administration’s resolve “to prevent such tragedies from befalling innocent people at the hands of regimes that do not respect the rule of law or basic human decency”.

“The United States once again condemns the brutality of the North Korean regime as we mourn its latest victim,” the presidential statement added.

“He was kind, generous and accomplished,” Sen. Rob Portman, R- Ohio, said in a statement after Warmbier’s passing. “He had all the talent you could ever ask for and a bright future ahead of him. His passing today is a loss for Ohio and for all of us.”

Commenting on Warmbier’s death, Ohio Gov. John Kasich said in a statement that “this horrendous situation further underscores the evil, oppressive nature of the North Korean regime that has such disregard for human life.”

The North Korean government is still holding three American citizens in prison.

Source: BBC, The Christian Post.

 

Founder of the African Children's Choir, Music For Life and Friends In The West.