Sixteen Christian Converts Arrested…and Beaten (Iran)

Tehran, 29 July (AKI) – Sixteen Iranians who converted from Islam to Christianity were arrested on Tuesday in Malakshahr, on the outskirts of the central Iranian city of Isfahan.

The six women, eight men and two adolescents who were arrested were assisting in a conversion ceremony and baptism of three new members of the church at a private house that had been transformed into an evangelical church.

The owners of the home, an elderly couple, were allegedly beaten up before they were locked up in an unmarked lorry.

In April, 10 Christian converts were arrested in Shiraz.

The official evangelical churches in Isfahan received orders not to allow any Muslims to attend their ceremonies and not to facilitate in any way the conversions.

Iranian law does not stipulate any punishment for those who convert from Islam to other faiths, even if the converts are subject to repression.

A few months ago, the government presented a bill which is currently being discussed in parliament, to include in the penal code the crime of “Ertedad” which is the act of abandoning the Muslim faith.

If the parliament does approve the law, the punishment for abandoning Islam will be the death penalty.

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Religious Police Arrest 55 at ‘gay’ Party (Saudi Arabia)

Riyadh, 30 July (AKI) – Saudi religious police have arrested 55 people at a party allegedly held by homosexuals at a farm in Qatif province in the east of the country.

According to a report on the Arab satellite TV channel, al-Arabiya, two young men were allegedly found wearing women’s make up and dancing on stage together.

The detainees were all handcuffed when they were arrested. Saudi police said during their search they found drugs and alcohol and other items that are prohibited under the country’s strict Sharia law.

A similar police blitz was carried out more than a month ago at another farmhouse in the same area where 21 alleged homosexuals were arrested. Some of those arrested were Filipinos and Pakistanis living in Saudi Arabia.

Many of them were reportedly wearing women’s clothes and makeup at the party which was organised to celebrate the birthday of one of the group’s members.

On that occasion, religious police found alcohol, clothing and makeup hidden inside.

Muslims storm Protestant school in Jakarta, injuring 265 students

Police evacuated the Christian Theological Arastamar Institute (STT SETIA) which is located in an eastern district of the Indonesian capital after it suffered damages during clashes between Christians and Muslims over the week-end. At least 1,500 students were moved to nearby police headquarters and a local Christian-based political party. The situation remains critical and further violence between opposite factions cannot be ruled out.“The school foundation urged us to intervene to protect people,” said East Jakarta District Police Chief Senior Superintendent. “For this reason we moved everyone out.”

Last night hundreds of residents from the village of Kampung Pulo had taken up arms threatening to storm the school after being instigated by an imam at a local mosque who claimed that a bunch of Christian gangsters were coming to “protect” the school after it was attacked on Saturday by a Muslim mob, causing damage to the building and hurting hundreds.

In an attempt to solve the problem East Jakarta District Chief Murdani held a close door meeting with the warring parties to discuss the issue. At the same time though, he said that police would conduct a thorough investigation and check if the school’s legal status was in order and that it respected all building regulations. In case of violations he would issue orders to demolish the unlawful structures.

At present hundreds of agents are guarding the school and have orders to stop any act of violence and disarm people.

The Arastamar High School for Theology and Biblical Studies, locally known as STT SETIA, was established by Rev Mathew Mangentang in 1987.

The SST SETIA has more than 29 branches school across the country. In Jakarta alone it has thousands of students, including 265 who were injured in latest clashes.

Tensions between Christians and Muslims flared up on Saturday following rumours that a SETIA student had stolen a motorcycle that belonged to a Muslim from a neighbouring village.

Senny Manafe, a spokesperson for the school, rejected the accusation, claiming instead that the attacks were triggered by a trivial incident. In an attempt to chase a mouse in the street, a student threw a slipper against a house owned by a local Muslim. Outraged by the deed, the latter kicked and punched the student as people gathered drawn by the rumour that a Christian student had tried to steal the Muslim’s motorbike.

“Many students suffered various injuries to the head. Others were burnt by Molotov cocktails,” Manafe said.

The violence and charges against SETIA are the work of Risman Hadi, chairman of Muslim Brotherhood Forum of Kampung Pulo Village, who in the past opposed the opening and continued existence of the Christian institute.

Muslims Kill Christian Teenager For Courting Muslim Girl

LAHORE, PAKISTAN (BosNewsLife)– The body of a Christian teenager has been hauled out of a canal in Pakistan’s second largest city Lahore after he was beaten to death there for courting a Muslim girl, BosNewsLife learned Friday, July 18.

Source: http://www.bosnewslife.com/index.php?//page.newsPayment&id=3710

Homosexual Honour Killing (Turkey)

The partner of murdered gay student Ahmet Yildiz has been forced to flee Turkey in fear of his life.

Yildiz, a 26-year-old physics student, was shot leaving a cafe on the Bosphorus strait during the weekend.

His body was found in his car.

He was believed to be fleeing the attack when he lost control of the vehicle and crashed.

His partner, who held a German passport, left the country on the advice of the consulate.

He had no rights over his partner’s body, which has been left lying in the city morgue.

The murder is believed by Mr Yildiz’s friends to be an “honour killing” carried out by members of his own family.

“From the day I met him, I never heard Ahmet have a friendly conversation with his parents,” a close friend told The Independent.

“They would argue constantly, mostly about where he was, who he was with, what he was doing.”

Mr Yildiz’s friends fear that because of his family’s rejection of his sexuality they will not claim the body. His friends have no power to collect the body for burial.

Standing outside the morgue that held Mr Yildiz’s body, a friend of his told The Independent: “We’ve been trying to contact Ahmet’s family since Wednesday, to get them to take responsibility for the funeral. There’s no answer and I don’t think they are going to come.”

It is common for families of “honour killings” not to collect the body of the victim.

In the months leading up to his murder, Mr Yildiz had been to a prosecutor to report death threats he had received. The case was dropped.

Ahmet Yildiz represented his country at an international gay gathering in San Francisco in 2007.

Sedef Cakmak, a friend and member of gay rights group Lambda said: “He fell victim to a war between old mentalities and growing civil liberties.”

Turkey has tried to project a more liberal attitude towards the LGBT community since it began lobbying the European Union for membership status.

This year’s gay Pride in Istanbul was the largest ever recorded in the city.

The ruling party, Justice and Development Party (AKP) was the first in Turkey’s history to send a deputy to a conference on Gay rights.

The AKP has struggled to balance the demands of Turkey’s more liberal population with the conservatives.

In May an Istanbul court placed a ban on the country’s largest LGBT civil rights group, Lambda.

Woman are usually the victims of “honour killings” and Ahmet Yildiz’s case is considered unique.

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The body of Ahmet Yildiz, Turkey’s first suspected victim of a gay “honour killing,” has been removed from the city morgue.

The remains of the 26-year-old physics student had been left there by his family, a move common in “honour killings” cases.

In Turkey only family members of the deceased have rights over the body.

While reports say Mr Yildiz’s corpse has been collected, no one knows which family member has claimed it. He was shot leaving a cafe on the Bosphorus strait during the weekend.

His body was found in his car.

His partner, who held a German passport, left the country on the advice of the consulate.

Speaking exclusively to PinkNews.co.uk he said:

“Ahmet had been receiving threats for as long as I knew him. He told me this has been going on since his coming out a year ago.

“When he came out to his parents, who had always suspected, they made him feel guilty about it.”

Mr Yildiz’s partner, who asked not to be named as he is in fear of his life, said had he joined his partner for an ice cream on last week, he would have been shot dead himself.

“Ahmet had asked me if I wanted to go out for an ice cream. as I had just settled down for the night at Ahmet’s flat, I declined.

“A couple of minutes later there were burst of loud gunfire outside the flat. I knew immediately that involved Ahmet and rushed out of the flat,” he said.

“I arrived at the scene to see Ahmet’s car reversing out of his parking space, trying to escape.

“I fought through some onlookers just in time to see him with his eyes open and asked him please don’t die, then he shut his eyes.”

Turkish police have yet to launch an investigation into the shooting.

Many of Mr. Yildiz’s friends, including his partner, believe his family are involved and murdered him because he was openly gay.

“Even before Ahmet came out there was trouble with his family,” Mr Yildiz’s bereaved partner said. “When he came out it only got worse.”

Homophobia in Turkey has always been rife, but according to Mr Yildiz’s partner, it has gotten worse over the last four years.

He describes homophobia in Turkey to be “unbelievably bad.”

“I can only speak for the Istanbul area but in the countryside it is much worse. In the country honour plays too strong a role for the family,” he said.

Mr Yildiz’s partner is not optimistic about his chances to bring Ahmet’s murderers to justice.

“I know the Turkish system. I know I haven’t got a leg to stand on. Human rights are known and accepted in the West but are not freely available in Turkey.

“I have no claim to his estate and body and cannot even collect my personal belongings from his flat. I cannot even bury my loved one.

“Apart from giving my statement to the press, I as an individual have absolutely no chance to bring his parents to justice for this murder of their son and my partner.”

Mr Yildiz’s partner has given statements to the police at the site of Ahmet’s murder, as well as handing in a signed statement to the local police station.

He fled Turkey the night of Mr Yildiz’s murder and has been living in fear of his life since.

Islamic Extremists Kill Somali Christian Convert

Story here: http://www.persecution.org/suffering/ICCnews/newsdetail.php?newscode=8208&title=islamic-extremists-kill-somali-christian

Female suicide bombers kill 70 Iraqis (Iraq)

Al Qaeda in Iraq conducted two successful strikes in Baghdad and the northern city of Kirkuk. At least seventy Iraqi civilians were killed and more than 300 wounded in four suicide attacks, CNN reported. The attacks were carried out by female terrorists.

The attacks in Baghdad occurred in three separate locations as the female bombers targeted Shia pilgrims traveling on foot to a shrine in the Kadhamiyah district. The three bombers waded into the crowds and detonated their suicide vests within thirty minutes of each other. Thirty-two Iraqis were reported killed and 102 were wounded.

In Kirkuk, a female suicide bomber detonated her vest in the middle of a crowd of more than 5,000 Kurds who gathered to protest the delay of provincial elections in Kirkuk. Just after the detonation, gunmen opened up on the crowd. Thirty-eight Iraqis were killed and 178 were wounded in the deadly attack. Five more were wounded after a clash broke out between “unknown gunmen” and security forces outside the headquarters of the Turkmen Party. A curfew was immediately imposed on the province.

Kirkuk remains a flashpoint for violence as Kurds, Arabs, and Turkmen vie for political power in the northern city. The Kurds seek to bring the oil-rich city into the political sphere of the Kurdistan Regional Government while Kurds have retaken lands from Arabs settled in the region during the rule of Saddam Hussein. Last week, the Iraqi Parliament passed a law delaying provincial elections and setting up a power-sharing agreement between the parties. The Kurdish political parties walked out of Parliament in protest.

Today’s attacks demonstrate that while al Qaeda has suffered major setbacks in Iraq, the network still maintains the capacity to conduct high-profile, mass-casualty suicide strikes. The last major attack occurred on July 24, when a female suicide bomber killed eight Awakening fighters and wounded 15 during an attack in Baqubah.

Al Qaeda suicide bombers also struck in Diyala province on July 15. Two suicide bombers detonated their vests within the Saad military camp as Iraqi Army recruits gathered. Twenty-two recruits were killed and more than 55 wounded.

The last major bombing in Baghdad occurred on June 18, when a car bomb detonated in the Shia neighborhood of Hayy Hurriyah in Baghdad’s Kadhamiyah district. The US military determined the attack was carried out by cell run by a Mahdi Army leader named Haydar Mahdi Khadum Al Fawadi.

US, Iraqi forces target al Qaeda’s networks

The US and Iraqi military have heavily targeted al Qaeda networks in the central and northern provinces over the past two days. Eighty-eight al Qaeda operatives were captured and four were killed during operations.

Today, Coalition special forces captured 30 suspected al Qaeda fighters during raids in Abu Ghraib and Mosul. An al Qaeda cell leader and a bomb maker were captured in Abu Ghraib and a financier for Ninewa province was captured in Mosul. Also, Coalition forces surrounded “a hideout for AQI facilitators and smugglers coming in from Syria” in a village southwest of Mosul, and captured 15 terrorists.

Yesterday, US and Iraqi forces killed four al Qaeda fighters and detained 58 suspects during search operation in Ninewa province. Four Iraqi soldiers were killed during gun battle.

Iraqi and US forces are massing for a major offensive in Diyala province, where al Qaeda still maintains sanctuaries in the rural regions. The operation is expected to begin in early August.