Hindu Extremist Attack on Home Traumatizes Pastor and Family

“If the attackers had managed to come into the room where the family was hiding, we would be looking at a much worse situation,” Pastor Kumar said. “I do not doubt that they would have killed the family.”

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NEW DELHI, October 29, 2019 (Morning Star News) – A Hindu extremist mob in northeastern India tried to kill a pastor and his family in an attack on their home Sunday night (Oct. 27), the church leader said.

At 1 a.m. on Monday (Oct. 28), Hindu extremists brandishing swords, bricks and rods broke through windows and the roof of the home of pastor Palathingal Joseph Johnson in the Rajasan area of Vaishali District, Bihar state, he said.

Members from the hardline Hindu groups shout in Chandigarh

“10 to 15 Hindu extremists shouting slogans of ‘Jai Shri Ram! [Hail, lord Ram]’ trespassed into my house,” Pastor Johnson told Morning Star News. “They were using vulgar language declaring that they will kill me and my children and will outrage my wife’s modesty.”

The assailants also carried wooden sticks and appeared to be drunk, he said. They were members of the Hindu nationalist Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh or RSS, parent organization of the ruling Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP), he added.

Pastor Johnson, his wife Shalomi, and their four children ages 7 to 13 hid themselves in one of the rooms in their two-room house. The attack was well-planned, the 44-year-old pastor said.

“We heard their conversation from behind the closed door – they were talking like professional terrorists,” he said. “They did not call each other by name. They had divided themselves into three teams, and one of the attackers assigned tasks to the teams by saying – ‘A section – break the windows,’ ‘B section – break the cars,’ ‘C section – climb the roof.’”

Unable to break open the front door, they began to break windows, he said.

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“Soon we heard the noise of the glass breaking,” he said. “One team climbed the roof of our house, but they could not break open the roof to enter the house. So, they twisted the aluminum corrugated sheet and entered.”

The room where he and his family were hiding did not have a latch on the inside, so the pastor hid his children under the bed while he and his wife braced themselves against the door, holding it shut with all their strength.

Pastor Johnson first tried calling the police emergency number but could not get through, he said. He then called a Christian in their neighborhood and asked her to gather people to help.

“While my wife and I caught hold of the door from inside, the attackers were pushing the door from outside trying to open it,” Pastor Johnson told Morning Star News. “That moment I could see death face-to-face. A delay of two more minutes would have cost us our lives.”

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The Christian he had called reached the house with 50 other villagers just in time, he said. “The Hindu extremists fled from our home when they saw a mob larger than their numbers,” he said.  Though traumatized, his three daughters, ages 13, 12 and 9, and his 7-year-old son were very brave and did not cry out, he said.

“Along with us, they constantly kept on chanting, ‘There is victory in the blood of Christ,’” he said.

Pastor Johnson came out of hiding to find his home and cars damaged. The attackers had used bricks and thick wooden sticks to break the house windows and the windshields and doors of his two parked cars. They also ruined a toilet, he said.

An activist and the presbyter of Indian Pentecostal Church in Nalanda Patna, pastor Gautam Kumar, said the assailants took advantage of area residents celebrating the Hindu festival of Diwali, as the sound of their firecrackers late at night hid the sound of the break-in.

Diwali
Diwali Celebration 

“If the attackers had managed to come into the room where the family was hiding, we would be looking at a much worse situation,” Pastor Kumar said. “I do not doubt that they would have killed the family.”

Pastor Johnson, who has been living in the area for more than 10 years, leads the Set Free Church, where between 50 and 100 people attend worship every week. His home has a hall where the worship service is held on Sundays and two adjoining rooms where the family lives.

He also oversees an orphanage in the nearby Hajipur area, Pastor Kumar said. 

Two policemen have been deployed outside the pastor’s home, and five members of his church volunteered to stay with him and his family for their protection, he said.

A First Information Report (FIR) was registered after initial investigation, case No. 427/19, dated Oct. 28, under Indian Penal Code sections for rioting, rioting armed with a deadly weapon, unlawful assembly, criminal trespass, house-trespass, promoting enmity between different groups on grounds of religion and outraging religious feelings.

The case was to be investigated by Assistant Sub-Inspector Jaykumar Singh.

A policeman at the Bidupur police station who declined to give his name told Morning Star News that the FIR has been registered but no arrests have been made.

HIndu Police
Hindu Police Officers

Distressed by the rising number of attacks on Christians in Bihar and in the country as a whole, Pastor Kumar told Morning Star News that he is heart-broken.

“A handful of people in our country are spreading false propaganda against the Christian community and are polarizing the masses with false information that Christianity is a foreign religion, and that Christians are anti-nationalists,” he said. “It is heart-breaking that the masses are believing this lie, and thus Christians are being targeted throughout the country.”

Pastor Johnson said that he previously had received several mild threats and warnings from Hindu extremists and could sense that trouble in some form was forthcoming, he never imagined it would be this severe. The last time he had been threatened was six months ago, he said.

“I knew persecution will come and I was mentally prepared to face it, but I had never thought it would be scary like this,” he said. “I saw my death before my eyes, and the thought of my wife and children dying with me was even scarier.”

 

Article originally published by Morning Star News

Edited by Babylon Today

‘I am very discouraged’ says American Pastor Marking 500 Days in Turkish Prison

“He’s obviously gone in and out of just kind of discouragement, wondering what’s going to happen, what’s the end game here,”

American pastor Andrew Brunson has been locked up in a Turkish prison for 500 days. The anniversary of Brunson’s captivity passed quietly Monday, but the American Center for Law and Justice is still aggressively working on his case.

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 On Oct. 7, 2017 Andrew Brunson and his wife, Norine, were summoned to a local police station in Izmir, Turkey. At the time, this didn’t seem like anything to be worried about. The couple, originally from North Carolina, had lived for 23 years in Turkey’s third largest city, where Andrew was the pastor of the Izmir Resurrection Church, a small protestant congregation of about 25. The Brunsons had raised three children in Turkey and had applied for permanent residency. They went willingly to the police station, thinking they were finally going to get it. Instead, Andrew and Norine were taken into custody, accused of missionary activities “against national security,” and told they would be deported. Norine was released on Oct. 9 and so far has been allowed to stay in Turkey, but more than six months later, Andrew remains locked up. On Dec. 11, he was moved to a counter-terrorism center and charged with “membership in an armed terrorist organization.” A judge ordered that he be detained rather than deported.

 

“He still remains merely a suspect of alleged crimes; no indictment has yet to be handed down,” CeCe Heil, executive counsel for the non-profit organization, told CBN News.

The ACLJ is fighting on Brunson’s behalf and reports the pastor wrote a heartfelt note to his wife through an embassy official this month.

“I am very discouraged. Please have prayer for me,” Brunson wrote. “I love you – can’t handle the thought of growing old in this place, without you.”

“I think being trapped in a Turkish prison with really no end in sight has been hard on Pastor Brunson,” Heil said. “Of course he has his faith to sustain him and the prayers of faithful believers all over the world… but as you can imagine, this 500 days in prison, he’s lost quite a bit of weight.”

“He’s obviously gone in and out of just kind of discouragement, wondering what’s going to happen, what’s the end game here,” she added.

Heil said the accusations against Brunson range from membership in an armed terrorist organization to espionage and overthrowing the government. “So very ridiculous claims against an innocent pastor,” she said.

Heil explained to CBN News that under Turkish law, Brunson can remain in prison for seven years without ever being charged. 

Testifying at the US Helsinki Commission hearing late last year, she said, “Pastor Brunson maintains his innocence and denies all the accusations.”   

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 Inside of a prison in Turkey

It seems that Brunson is a political hostage of Turkey. Last year, Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan seemed to indicate that the pastor will only be released when Washington gives Turkey a Muslim cleric living in the US who is Erdogan’s rival.

“..they (the US) get up and say… ‘Give us so and so cleric,'” Erdogan said at a police academy graduation ceremony in Ankara in September, referring to Brunson.

Erdogan then brought up Pennsylvania-based Muslim cleric Fethullah Gulen, saying, “You have a cleric there. You give him to us and we’ll give you this one.”

Turkey has been seeking the extradition of Gulen, who was once Erdogan’s ally, and whose supporters have been blamed for trying to overthrow Erdogan’s government in 2016. Gulen has denied any role in the coup attempt.  Heil said Erdogan even recently talked about a swap.

“It certainly seems that Pastor Brunson has become a political pawn,” she told CBN News. “He lived 23 years in Turkey without any incident, without any problem.”

“After the failed coup attempt in July of 2016, then Pastor Brunson’s suddenly arrested as a national security threat and then remains in prison,” she continued.

“And just recently, President Erdogan has demanded a swap, basically saying a cleric for a cleric or a pastor for a pastor,” Heil said. “You have Fethullah Gulen; we have Pastor Brunson. Let’s do a swap.”

But she doesn’t believe the US will agree to the deal.

“I don’t believe that the US will ever trade prisoners; that’s not the way that we typically operate,” she told CBN News. “So I believe they’ll keep following through with Turkey, who is a NATO ally and continuing to demand his release.”

Heil said President Donald Trump has repeatedly asked for Brunson’s release. In addition, just last week, she said Secretary of State Rex Tillerson met with Erdogan and Turkish Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu and again asked for the pastor to be freed   

“It seems like this meeting last week between Tillerson, Erdogan and Cavusoglu, it seems like they came out of that meeting hopeful that the US-Turkey relationship will be restored,” Heil said. “So we’re hopeful that Pastor Brunson will be part of that resolution.”

In the meantime, Heil said the most important thing people can do for Brunson is pray for him, but she also encourages taking action by signing an ACLJ petition, “Free Pastor Andrew,” which has more than 426,000 signatures so far.

“That’s very helpful because as we speak to our government as well as Turkish government and European government, it’s very helpful just to show the mass amount of people who have their eyes on this matter and are concerned about this matter and are demanding his release,” she said.

EDITORS NOTE: I wonder if Jakes, Olsteen, Dollar, Copeland, the pope and the other filthy rich “men of G-d” have signed that petition! I wonder if they even took up an offering to help support this man’s family.  I wonder if they’ve even used their resources to bring any significant attention to this matter. I wonder if they held any “night vigils,” I wonder if this man will even be thought of or mentioned during “lent,” I wonder what they would do if this were Oprah, Just wondering…….

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ISIS Threatens Attacks on Churches in Washington DC, New York on Christmas

“We meet at Christmas in New York soon,” reads the caption of the poster…

Islamic State supporters have threatened to launch a terror attack in Washington, D.C. and New York on Christmas, according to the SITE intelligence group. A propaganda poster carries a picture that shows Washington’s National Cathedral erupting in flames while indicating that New York could be their target.

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“We meet at Christmas in New York soon,” reads the caption of the poster, which otherwise carries an image of Washington’s National Cathedral, reveals SITE, which monitors extremist communications online.

The poster was found circulating through a pro-Islamic State encrypted channel, Telegram.

“ISIS is incentivized to make threats like this, which come at no cost to them. ISIS is not dispatching fighters around the world for complex coordinated terrorist attacks, but has largely relied upon individuals and citizens already living in Europe and the United States to commit unsophisticated attacks,” Newsweek quotes Harrison Akins, a researcher at the Howard Baker Center, as saying. “These individuals’ affiliations with ISIS are often tenuous and are perhaps better described as ‘inspired by’ rather than operationally directed. So perhaps somebody within the U.S. will take it upon themselves to commit an attack on Christmas, which falsely bolsters the perceived capabilities and reach of the group.” 

In October, a 27-year-old man from Virginia, Mohamad Khweis, became the first U.S. citizen to be convicted of successfully joining the Islamic State terror group, also known as IS, ISIS, ISIL or Daesh, and was sentenced to 20 years in prison. Over 100 people in the U.S. have been charged with trying to support or join IS, but Khweis succeeded.

IS managed to encourage over 40,000 fighters from more than 110 countries to travel to join their fight before and after the declaration of the “caliphate” in June 2014, according to a report, “Beyond the Caliphate: Foreign Fighters and the Threat of Returnees.”

The report, recently released by the Washington-based security intelligence consultancy Soufan Center, states that there are now at least 5,600 citizens or residents from 33 countries who have returned home — accounting for about 15 percent of the fighters.

The report claims that for the U.S., 129 fighters succeeded in leaving the country and only seven have returned.

While IS has lost its territory in Syria and Iraq, the threat is far from over in the  Middle East or elsewhere.

Iraq declared earlier this month that its territory is now “fully liberated” from IS, overlooking warnings by allies that the terror group still poses a threat to the country in the form of guerrilla warfare.

“As ISIS continues to lose land, influence, funding streams and conventional capabilities, we expect them to return to their terrorist roots by conducting high-profile attacks on helpless civilians such as those we’ve already seen in Nasiriyah, Ramadi, and elsewhere over the past weeks,” a spokesperson of the U.S.-led international coalition said at the time.

Iranian influence is now present in Nineveh towns once mostly populated by Christians before IS took over, and has prevented some from returning to their homes.