God Always Answers Prayer…

February 29, 2012 by admin  
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God always answers prayer
If the Lord has you on hold… hold on!
If the Lord has said “NO” to you… thank Him!
If the Lords is molding your heart and mind… go with His change!
If the Lord opens doors that you have asking Him to open… Praise Him!
Be blessed wherever you are in your life today! God has His hands on the situation!

Bible, Word of GodDifference between What we say and God says
- fwd: meena saldanha

Obama: ‘Son of Islam’?

February 29, 2012 by admin  
Filed under newsletter-world, Persecution, USA, World

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Obama bowing before the saudi king, 2009

Obama bowing before the saudi king, 2009

USA, February 27, 2012: Many in the media are indignant with Reverend Franklin Graham, head of the Billy Graham Evangelistic Association. Invited on “Morning Joe” last Tuesday to discuss Christian persecution, the hosts turned the focus to interrogating Graham on whether he thought President Barack Obama was Christian or not. Though the Reverend concluded that Obama “has said he’s a Christian, so I just have to assume that he is,” he appeared skeptical, suggesting Obama’s policies disagree with Christian principles, and thus earning the full ire of much of the fourth estate.

Intrinsically trivial on many levels, this incident nevertheless brings several important points to the fore.

First, Graham was absolutely right to say that, “under Islamic law, the Muslim world sees Barack Obama as a Muslim, as a son of Islam”: according to Sharia, if one’s father is Muslim, one automatically becomes Muslim. In fact, the reason behind last week’s church attack in Egypt, when thousands of Muslims tried to torch a church and kill its pastor, is that a Christian girl fled her father after he converted to Islam: she did not want to be Muslim, and was rumored to be hiding in the church. (This would not be the first time in recent months that churches were attacked on similar rumors.)

Because of this automatic passage of Islam from father to son—with the death penalty for those seeking to apostatize, the condemned Iranian pastor being just the most visible example—and because Obama attended a madrassa (a Muslim religious school) during his youth in Indonesia, many Muslims are convinced that Obama is a “secret” Muslim. In a Forbes article, “My Muslim President Obama: Why members of the faith see him as one of the flock,” writer Asma Gull Hasan elaborates:

[Since Election Day, I have been part of more and more conversations with Muslims in which it was either offhandedly agreed that Obama is Muslim or enthusiastically blurted out. In commenting on our new president, "I have to support my fellow Muslim brother," would slip out of my mouth before I had a chance to think twice. "Well, I know he's not really Muslim," I would quickly add. But if the person I was talking to was Muslim, they would say, "yes he is." …. Most of the Muslims I know (me included) can't seem to accept that Obama is not Muslim. Of the few Muslims I polled who said that Obama is not Muslim, even they conceded that he had ties to Islam…. The rationalistic, Western side of me knows that Obama has denied being Muslim, that his father was non-practicing, that he doesn't attend a mosque. Many Muslims simply say back, "my father's not a strict Muslim either, and I haven't been to a mosque in years." Obama even told The New York Times he could recite the adhan, the Islamic call to prayer, which the vast majority of Muslims, I would guess, do not know well enough to recite. [Read the entire article, which is more eye-opening than the author probably intended.]

Another reason why many Muslims believe Obama is Muslim (a reason Ms. Hasan’s article understandably omits) is that, under the Islamic doctrine of taqiyya, Muslims are permitted—in certain contexts even encouraged—to deny being Muslim, if so doing secures them or Islam an advantage. Accordingly, Islamic history is full of stories of Muslims denying and publicly cursing Islam, even pretending to be Christian, whenever it was strategic.

In other words, if an American president was a secret Muslim, and if he was lying about it, and even if he was secretly working to subvert the U.S. to Islam’s advantage—not only would that be justified by Islamic doctrines of loyalty and deception, but it would have ample precedents, stretching back to the dawn of Islam. Such as when Muhammad commanded a convert from an adversarial tribe to conceal his new Muslim identity and go back to his tribe—which he cajoled with a perfidious “You are my stock and my family, the dearest of men to me”—only to betray them to Islam’s invading armies.

Graham further upset “progressive” sensitivities by saying “All I know is under Obama, President Obama, the Muslims of the world, he seems to be more concerned about them than the Christians that are being murdered in the Muslim countries,” adding that “Islam has gotten a free pass under Obama.”

Yet who can deny this? Whether by expunging any reference to Islam in U.S. security documents, or enabling Muslim persecution of Christians, or ordering NASA to make Muslims “feel good” about themselves, or bowing to the anti-Christian Saudi king—the President has made his partiality for Islam very clear: Islam is undoubtedly getting a “free pass” under Obama.

What Franklin Graham’s critics fail to understand is that, when it comes to Obama’s religious identity, the Reverend probably has Jesus’ dictum in mind: “By their fruits shall ye know them”—that is, pro-Islamic actions speak louder than Christian words.

- raymond Ibrahim

New book tells Asia Bibi’s story from prison

February 29, 2012 by admin  
Filed under Asia, newsletter-asia, Pakistan, Persecution

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Asia-Bibi-FamilyPakistan, February 27, 2012: A new book on Asia Bibi’s imprisonment and death sentence in Pakistan includes an unpublished letter she wrote to her husband and children urging them to have faith in God.

“My children, don’t lose courage or faith in Jesus Christ,” Bibi says in her book, “Get Me Out of Here,” released the week of Feb. 20.

Spanish publisher LibroLibres issued the new memoir, which was written by Bibi in her prison cell with the help of French journalist Anne-Isabelle Tollet.

Bibi’s case gained worldwide attention in 2010 when she was condemned to death for violating Pakistan’s blasphemy laws, which state that anyone who offends Islam will be hanged. Critics say the country’s blasphemy laws are often unjust and have become a tool for abusing religious minorities as well as vengeance between Muslims.

Bibi is still awaiting a ruling on the appeal of her death sentence and has been moved to an isolated cell without any windows, sink or toilet because of Muslim threats against her life.

In her letter to her family, Bibi movingly addresses her husband Ashiq and their five children while she awaited the granting of the appeal of her death sentence.

“Even since I have returned to by cell and have known that I am going to die, all my thoughts have turned to you, my beloved Ashiq, and to you, my beloved children. Nothing pains me more than to leave you alone in total anguish,” she said.

However, despite her fear, Bibi encouraged her family to keep alive their desire to be happy even though life is not always easy.

“We are Christians and poor, but our family is a light…I still don’t know when they will hang me, but be at peace, my loves, I shall go with my head held high, without fear, because I will be in the company of Our Lord and the Virgin Mary, who will welcome me into their arms,” she said.

Below is the full text of her letter:

My beloved Ashiq, my beloved children:

Since I have returned to my cell and have known that I am going to die, all my thoughts have turned to you, my beloved Ashiq, and you, my adoring children.  Nothing pains me more than to leave you alone in total anguish.

Imran, my oldest son of 18 years, I hope you find a good wife who you will make as happy as your father has made me.

Nasima, my firstborn daughter of 22 years, you already have a husband whose family has embraced you so much. Give your father little grandchildren who you will raise in Christian charity like we have raised you.

My sweet Isha, you are 15, yet still a little rowdy. Your father and I have always considered you to be a gift from God. You are so kind and generous…Don’t try to understand why your mother is no longer at your side, but you are so present in my heart.  You have a small place there reserved only for you…

Sidra, you are only 13, and I know that since I have been in prison you have taken charge of the home, you are the one caring for your older sister Isha, who needs so much help.  I am so sorry I have thrust you into adult life, when you are such a young girl and should still be playing with your dolls.

My little Isham, you are only 9 and you are going to lose your mother. My God, how unfair life can be!  But since you will continue going to school, you will be well prepared to defend yourself against the injustice of men.

My children, do you lose courage or faith in Jesus Christ. Better days shall smile upon you and up there, when I am in the arms of the Lord, I will continue to watch over you. But please, I ask the five of you to be prudent, I ask you not to do anything that would offend Muslims or the laws of this country.

My daughters, I hope you are fortunate enough to find a husband like your father.

Ashiq, I have loved you since the first day, and the 22 years we have spent together prove it. I have never stopped thanking heaven for finding you, for being fortunate to have a marriage that was based on love and not arranged, as usually happens in our province. We both had personalities that perfectly matched…Slanderous individuals have crossed our path. Behold, there you are alone with the fruit of our love: keep guard over the courage and pride of our family.

My children…the greatest desire of your father and I has been to be happy and to make you happy, even though life is not easy every day. We are Christians and poor, but our family is a light. I would have liked so much to see you grow up, to continue raising you and to make you into honest persons…And you will be! …I still don’t know when they will hang me, but be at peace, my loves, I shall go with my head held high, without fear, because I will be in the company of Our Lord and the Virgin Mary, who will welcome me into their arms.

My good husband, continue raising our children like I would have liked to have done with you. Ashiq, my beloved children, I shall leave you forever, but I will love you for all eternity.

Mom

- cna/ewtn news

Delhi Christians focus on communal harmony *Delhi Archbishop’s open letter *Justice for CV victims

February 29, 2012 by admin  
Filed under Gujarat, India, newsletter-india, Persecution

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Gujrat Pogrom 2002New Delhi, February 28, 2012: A rally of the capital’s Christian community at Raj Ghat, led by Archbishop Vincent Concessao, has demanded that the government speedily enact a law against communal violence to ensure lasting religious harmony and peace in the country. The Bill against communal and targeted violence [access to justice and reparation} drafted by the National Advisory council in 2011 provides the basis for such law, the meeting said. The Delhi rally was part of a national wide campaign to remember the victims of the Gujarat anti Muslim pogrom in 2002 on the tenth anniversary of the horrendous violence.

A large number of leaders of Muslim political parties and groups participated in the two hour programme where speakers slammed the Gujarat government for its attitude towards the victims.

The statement adopted at the meeting, which ended in a candle-light finale, said: The Christian community worldwide believes that Love – caritas – is an extraordinary force which leads people to opt for courageous and generous engagement in the field of justice and peace.  It is a force that has its origin in God, Eternal Love and Absolute Truth. In the 2,000 years of its existence in the country, our community has striven for Peace, and for Justice even as it has brought , as Mother Teresa did,  human concern and love to the wounded, the despised, the deserted and those abandoned and left to die.  And there is nothing worse than the aftermath of  communal violence where communities are goaded to wage arson, rape and murder against their brothers and sisters of another faith. In the 1990s, India, according to government estimates, saw more than 6,000 communal riots, including the terrible anti Sikh violence in Delhi and other cities.

“The first few years of  the 21st Century has marked two major acts of communal violence that have wrought shame on our great civilization, and shamed our noble motherland, India. The first was  the anti Muslim pogrom in 14 districts of Gujarat in February-March 2002, whose tenth anniversary we observe today in deep sorrow and empathy with the victims. The other was the August 2008  violence against Christians in Kandhamal District of Odisha and several other states which saw much rape and murder, and a massive and mindless arson that signed an entire people. What took place during those terrible months is beyond description.  There are volumes of writings, audio visual materials, witnesses and victims who suffered and saw their loved ones die. For those who want proof of this carnage, there is no dearth of it.

“Victims of both acts of violence still await justice. The deaths by murder have not been avenged – most of the killers remain scot free. Most widows have been given just token compensation. There has been no reparation.

“In Gujarat, Civil Rights organizations allege the Chief Minister made this carnage happen and saw to it that all preventive actions were curbed.  As early as December 2003, the then Chief Justice of India V.N. Khare presiding over a Divisional Bench criticized the Government of Gujarat saying, “I have no faith left in the prosecution and the Gujarat government. I am not saying Article 356. You have to protect people and punish the guilty. What else is raj dharma? You quit if you cannot prosecute the guilty.” And in a landmark ruling on February 8th, 2012, the Acting Chief Justice of Gujarat Bhaskar Bhattacharya, very emphatically stated, “Gujarat government’s inadequate response and inaction (to contain the riots) resulted in an anarchic situation which continued unabated for days on…the state cannot shirk from its responsibilities”. In the violence, 790 Muslims were killed and 223 more people were reported missing; 523 places of worship were damaged: 298 dargahs, 205 mosques, 17 temples, and 3 churches. Muslim-owned businesses suffered the bulk of the damage. 61,000 Muslims fled their homes. Police shootings that killed 93 Muslims and 77 Hindus.

“The religious polarization is not good for the nation. The impunity enjoyed by the officials, police officers and above all by senior politicians including the chief minister of Gujarat mocks the Rule of Law, the justice dispensation system and above all, the Constitution of India.

“Many a  brave woman and man, social activists have kept the struggle for justice alive. There has also been an effort to bring new laws into force that will, hopefully, curb communal violence and mass crimes of hate in the future. The Prevention of Communal and Targeted violence [Access to Justice and Reparations] Bill 2011 drafted by the National Advisory Council is one such draft law.

“Yet, the manner of initiating a debate on the Bill in the last National Integration Council meeting did not inspire confidence in the victim communities of the Congress Party’s resolve to implement its 2004 election promise. We would like to place on record that the Constitutional and fundamental right of human dignity as a citizen of this country, and meaningful right to life in all its aspects as interpreted by various pronouncements of the Supreme Court of India, are of prime importance to each of us and no amount of political goodies can substitute it.

“As we express solidarity with the victims of  the 2002 Gujarat violence against Muslims, and other acts of communal violence, and as we pay our homage to the dead in such violence, we demand of the Union government and the Justice apparatus  including  the High Courts and the Supreme court:

1. Justice for the victims — by ensuring that the guilty and those behind them including officials and politicians are brought to book

2. Ending the environment of impunity in which political and Government leaders escape  the law of the land.

3. Urgent and immediate steps to ensure that the survivors can rebuild their lives, get commensurate employment and means of livelihood, farmers get back their land and business victims can resume businesses.

4. Measures by the state government to restore confidence among the victims and ensuring that their life return to normal. One index of this will be when members of the minority communities feel safe enough to live in mixed areas in cities in Gujarat.

5. Ensuring adequate presence of religious and other minorities in the police, investigation and justice apparatus to  strengthen confidence and a trust; and

6. Enacting of the Prevention of Communal and targeted Violence Bill with adequate safeguards on strengthening federalism, early warning and rapid action systems to nip violence before it can assume alarming proportions.”

- fwd: john dayal

Gujarat Pogrom: Archbishop’s open letter to the nation

 

Archbishop Vincent M ConcessaoNew Delhi, February 28, 2012: On the occasion of the 10 anniversary of Gujarat pogrom 2002, Archbishop Vincent M Concessao, Archbishop of Delhi has expressed deep sympathy with the victims of the riots and called for justice to all victims of communal violence in India including the Kandhamal killings. The Archbishop has written an open letter to all leaders of the country over the issue of communal violence and peace and sought their support for the communal violence bill.

While expressing solidarity with the victims of the 2002 Gujarat violence against Muslims, and other acts of communal violence, he demanded the Union government and the Justice apparatus including the High Courts and the Supreme Court:

1. To ensure that the guilty and those behind them including officials and politicians are brought to book

2. To end the environment of impunity in which political and Government leaders escape the law of the land.

3. To take urgent and immediate steps to ensure that the survivors can rebuild their lives, get commensurate employment and means of livelihood, farmers get back their land and business victims can resume businesses.

4. To ensure adequate presence of religious and other minorities in the police, investigation and justice apparatus to strengthen confidence and trust.

Text of the letter:

The Christian community worldwide believes that Love – caritas – is an extraordinary force which leads people to opt for courageous and generous engagement in the field of justice and peace. It is a force that has its origin in God, Eternal Love and Absolute Truth. In the 2,000 years of its existence in the country, our community has striven for Peace, and for Justice even as it has brought, as Mother Teresa did, human concern and love to the wounded, the despised, the deserted and those abandoned and left to die. And there is nothing worse than the aftermath of communal violence where communities are goaded to wage arson, rape and murder against their brothers and sisters of another faith. In the 1990s, India, according to government estimates, saw more than 6,000 communal riots, including the terrible anti Sikh violence in Delhi and other cities.

The first few years of the 21st Century has marked two major acts of communal violence that have wrought shame on our great civilisation, and shamed our noble motherland, India. The first was the anti-Muslim pogrom in 14 districts of Gujarat in February-March 2002, whose tenth anniversary we observe today in deep sorrow and empathy with the victims. The other was the August 2008 violence against Christians in Kandhamal District of Odisha and several other states which saw much rape and murder, and a massive and mindless arson that signed an entire people. What took place during those terrible months is beyond description. There are volumes of writings, audio visual materials, witnesses and victims who suffered and saw their loved ones die. For those who want proof of this carnage, there is no dearth of it.

Victims of both acts of violence still await justice. The deaths by murder have not been avenged – most of the killers remain scot free. Most widows have been given just token compensation. There has been no reparation.

In Gujarat, Civil Rights organizations allege the Chief Minister made this carnage happen and saw to it that all preventive actions were curbed. As early as December 2003, the then Chief Justice of India V.N. Khare presiding over a Divisional Bench criticized the Government of Gujarat saying, “I have no faith left in the prosecution and the Gujarat government. I am not saying Article 356. You have to protect people and punish the guilty. What else is raj dharma? You quit if you cannot prosecute the guilty.” And in a landmark ruling on February 8th, 2012, the Acting Chief Justice of Gujarat Bhaskar Bhattacharya, very emphatically stated, “Gujarat government’s inadequate response and inaction (to contain the riots) resulted in an anarchic situation which continued unabated for days on…the state cannot shirk from its responsibilities”. In the violence, 790 Muslims were killed and 223 more people were reported missing; 523 places of worship were damaged: 298 dargahs, 205 mosques, 17 temples, and 3 churches. Muslim-owned businesses suffered the bulk of the damage. 61,000 Muslims fled their homes. Police shootings that killed 93 Muslims and 77 Hindus.

The religious polarization is not good for the nation. The impunity enjoyed by the officials, police officers and above all by senior politicians including the chief minister of Gujarat mocks the Rule of Law, the justice dispensation system and above all, the Constitution of India.

Many a brave woman and man, social activists have kept the struggle for justice alive. There has also been an effort to bring new laws into force that will, hopefully, curb communal violence and mass crimes of hate in the future. The Prevention of Communal and Targeted violence [Access to Justice and Reparations] Bill 2011 drafted by the National Advisory Council is one such draft law.

Yet, the manner of initiating a debate on the Bill in the last National Integration Council meeting did not inspire confidence in the victim communities of the Congress Party’s resolve to implement its 2004 election promise. We would like to place on record that the Constitutional and fundamental right of human dignity as a citizen of this country, and meaningful right to life in all its aspects as interpreted by various pronouncements of the Supreme Court of India, are of prime importance to each of us and no amount of political goodies can substitute it.

As we express solidarity with the victims of the 2002 Gujarat violence against Muslims, and other acts of communal violence, and as we pay our homage to the dead in such violence, we demand of the Union government and the Justice apparatus including the High Courts and the Supreme Court:

1. Justice for the victims — by ensuring that the guilty and those behind them including officials and politicians are brought to book
2. Ending the environment of impunity in which political and Government leaders escape the law of the land.
3. Urgent and immediate steps to ensure that the survivors can rebuild their lives, get commensurate employment and means of livelihood, farmers get back their land and business victims can resume businesses.
4. Measures by the state government to restore confidence among the victims and ensuring that their life return to normal. One index of this will be when members of the minority communities feel safe enough to live in mixed areas in cities in Gujarat.
5. Ensuring adequate presence of religious and other minorities in the police, investigation and justice apparatus to strengthen confidence and a trust; and
6. Enacting of the Prevention of Communal and targeted Violence Bill with adequate safeguards on strengthening federalism, early warning and rapid action systems to nip violence before it can assume alarming proportions.

On Behalf of the Christian Community
Archbishop Vincent M Concessao,
Archbishop of Delhi

- fwd: prashanti

Delhi meet demands justice for CV victims

 

Rememberance of Gujrat Pogrom 2002New Delhi, February 28, 2012: Leaders of various religions prayed for peace in India and demanded justice for victims of the sectarian violence in Gujarat on its tenth anniversary yesterday.

“We should all unite to fight communal forces if we want this nation to develop,” Archbishop Vincent Concessao of Delhi told a gathering at an inter-faith meet organized in New Delhi at Rajghat, the mausoleum of Mahatma Gandhi, an advocate of nonviolence.
Some 300 people from Hindu, Muslim, Sikh and Christian communities attended the event in New Delhi, organized by the Delhi archdiocese and federation of Catholic associations.

The prelate said there should not be any discrimination on the bases of religion, caste or creed as “we all are equal in front of the law.”

The meet also paid homage to the victims of anti-Christian violence that took place in Orissa’s Kandhamal district in 2008.

The violence in the western Indian state of Gujarat was triggered by the burning of a train in Godhra allegedly by a Muslim mob, killing 58 Hindu pilgrims on February 27, 2002.

This in turn prompted retaliatory attacks against Muslims and communal riots on a large scale across the state in which 790 Muslims were killed and 523 places of worship, including 17 temples and 3 churches, were damaged.

Hussain Ilias, a Muslim leader said at the inter-faith meet, “it is very unfortunate that even after ten years people are still fighting for justice. He said justice delayed is justice denied.”

He said suppression will stop only when we punish the culprits else incidents like this will be repeated in other states.

Muhammad Aliem, another Muslim leader, blamed the Gujarat government for the genocide.

Archbishop Concessao, had earlier in the day in an open letter, urged the state government to take measures to restore confidence among the victims so that they can rebuild their lives.

Father Cedric Prakash, who is the director of an NGO in Gujarat, at a similar meeting in Ahmedabad, said “minorities in the state are still treated like second-class citizens and a good section of them are confined to ghettos without even basic amenities.”

He said that realization and repentance are the first steps toward normalization and for enduring peace.

- ucan

Diocesan account closed amid anti-nuclear stir

February 29, 2012 by admin  
Filed under Issues, National, newsletter-india, Tamil Nadu

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Nuclear PlantTamil Nadu, February 29, 2012: Bishop Yvon Ambroise of Tuticorin has termed as unjust the freezing of one of the diocesan bank accounts for allegedly diverting funds to support a movement against a nuclear plant.

Last week, the federal government announced that it had clamped down on the accounts of three Non Governmental Organizations associated with the protest against the Koodankulam nuclear plant in Tamil Nadu state.

However, the government refused to divulge the NGO’s identities, but media reports hinted one of the accounts belonged to Tuticorin diocese.

Sources in Tuticorin diocese said the transaction in the account of the Tuticorin Diocesan Association was stopped on February 12. Federal agencies had scrutinized the diocesan accounts last month.

V. Narayanasamy, minister of state for parliamentary affairs, said these NGOs were receiving funds from foreign countries for social service causes such as helping the physically handicapped, eradication of leprosy or for religious purposes, but were using the money for anti-nuclear protests.

The development came amid the protest against the US$3 billion nuclear power plant built with Russian Technology. Three districts in Tamil Nadu began protesting the nuclear plant since September 2011, saying it was hazardous and would threaten their lives.

The plant, which is expected to produce 2000 MW of electricity, was scheduled to start operation in last December.

Pro-nuclear plant groups and a section of the media have accused the Church officials of allowing the protests to use church premises for their stir.

Earlier Bishop Ambroise had denied any direct Church involvement in the protest. He said some Church leaders supported the protest “as it is a people’s movement,” but they did not instigate them as reported in the media.

The prelate said the freezing of the account is the latest development. “We have to work how to resolve the matter and diocese will consult experts before taking any legal measures.”

However, he said, the work of the diocese will go on unhindered.

- ucan

Gujarat Riots 2002: Indian-American Muslims mourn victims, demand justice *Bihar Budget: Minority Welfare Dept. to get Rs 125 Cr

February 29, 2012 by admin  
Filed under Bihar, Economics, Gujarat, India, Issues, National, newsletter-india, Persecution

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New-Age-Islam-antiUS-rallyUSA, February 25, 2012: On the eve of the tenth anniversary of the horrible genocide of Muslims in Gujarat in February 2002, the Association of Indian Muslims of America, Washington DC, an NGO of Indian-American Muslims has lamented the prolonged delay in the Indian government’s action against the perpetrators of that horrible crime.

“In these ten years the mainstream media, a large number of NGOs and the Supreme Court in India have often stated that plenty of testimonies including eye-witness accounts from a variety of citizens in Gujarat support the often stated fact that the then government of the state of Gujarat and chief minister Narendra Modi were responsible for that murderous mayhem. Yet for ten long years the Indian government has refused to institute either an official government enquiry or legal proceedings against the known culprits,” the AIMA said in a statement.

Gujarat is a state from where many illustrious advocates of justice and non-violence including Mahatma Gandhi have risen and have preached the message of peace. Yet in the same state the mass crime occurred in which over two thousand innocent Muslims were killed and the houses of about 100,000 Muslims were destroyed, rendering them homeless.

The genocide against Muslims of Gujarat is a dirty stain on the face of secular and democratic India. “Today we Indian Muslims who live in North America mourn the hapless victims of that gory violence and once again appeal to the President and Prime Minister of India to institute legal action against the criminals and bring them to justice,” said AIMA.

- tcn

Bihar Budget: Minority Welfare Dept. to get Rs 125 Cr

 

BJP leader and Deputy Chief Minister of Bihar, Sushil Kumar ModiBihar, February 25, 2012: The Rs 78,686 Crore Bihar budget for the year 2012-2013, with a state plan size of Rs 28,000 Crore will have an allocation of Rs 125 Crore for the Minority Welfare Department. BJP leader and Deputy Chief Minister Sushil Kumar Modi, who holds the portfolio of finance, presented the 8th budget in a row in the state assembly on Friday.

The JDU-BJP government led by Chief Minister Nitish Kumar on 24th Feb. announced to give 25 acre land to Maulana Mazharul Haque University. The construction work will start from the next financial year, the government promised in the budget speech.

The Minority Welfare Department will get Rs 125 Cr. The amount will not cover graveyard fencing, Hunar, Taleemi Markaz schemes as they are funded by other departments.

According to the budget, the chief minister minority employment loan scheme, which came into effect in 2011-12, will get Rs 15 Cr. In the last financial year, it was allocated Rs 11 Cr. The hike will also go to minority education loan scheme, which was also started in 2011-12. Last it year it had Rs 4 Cr but in 2012-13 it will get Rs 1 Cr more, i.e. Rs 5 Cr.

However, the government has cut the fund for much-touted minority hostel modernization scheme. The one year old scheme will get only Rs 1.7 Cr while it was allocated Rs 2 Cr last year. Under the scheme, minority hostels in all districts will have generator set, TV, Refrigerator and other facilities.

The Rs 7000 Cr-surplus budget will give thrust on agriculture. After the new budget comes in place, cars, motorcycles, flats, bricks will be dearer. Moreover, cigarette and tobacco products will have tax hike between 13.5% to 20%.

Some other features of the budget are:

Rs 9508 Cr for agricultural roadmap.
Rs 2234 Cr for 21-km road along the Ganga (from Didarganj to Digha) in Patna
25000 flats in Patna, Gaya, Muzaffarpur, Bhagalpur.

- tcn

Suicide bomber strikes Nigerian church during service; three killed *Lent: Prayer, Penance and Charity to renew our relationship with God

February 29, 2012 by admin  
Filed under newsletter-lead, Nigeria, Persecution, World

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Church of Christ in Nigeria AttacksNigeria, February 28, 2012: A suicide bomber forced his way into the grounds of a major Nigerian church, killing three people plus himself during a service on Sunday morning.

He drove a Volkswagen Audi car packed with explosives into the compound of the Church of Christ (COCIN) headquarters in Jos at 7.20am on Sunday 26 February. The vehicle sped past a security checkpoint and exploded three metres from the church building.

Two women and an 18-month-old child were killed, and around 50 people were injured in the blast. One of the women had recently fled the anti-Christian violence in Yobe state.

The church and surrounding buildings were damaged, and the windows of around 30 cars parked in the compound were shattered.

The attack took place about 15 minutes into the first of the three services of the day. Around 3,000 worshippers attend services at the Church of Christ headquarters.

One church member, who was planning to attend the second service, said: “It makes me feel tense… we don’t know to which extent this will go until it is controlled.”

Militant Islamist group Boko Haram, which has been behind numerous attacks on Christians in Nigeria, has claimed responsibility for the blast.

Prior to the incident, a list of potential Boko Haram targets in Jos, which included the COCIN headquarters, had reportedly been found.

Elderly Christian’s Throat Slit

Elsewhere in Nigeria, an elderly Christian woman was murdered, with a threatening note – believed to be directed at her son, a pastor – left on her chest.

Shetu Haruna Malgwi (79) was attacked in the north-eastern city of Maiduguri on Wednesday 22 February. The assailants slit her throat, then wrote a note in Arabic with red pen that said, “We will get you soon,” and placed it on her chest. A Bible had been left under the church choir member’s feet.

Boko Haram has been blamed for Mrs Malgwi’s murder.

Church Bomb Blast

On the previous Sunday, 19 February, five people were wounded when a bomb planted near an abandoned car exploded outside a church in Suleja, near the capital Abuja, during a service.

Security guards at the church had noticed something suspicious by the car before the service began and had prompted the pastor to get everyone inside.

Boko Haram is suspected of being behind the bombing. The group, which wants to establish an Islamic state in Northern Nigeria, issued on New Year’s Day a three day ultimatum for Christians to leave the North.

Since that deadline expired, numerous churches have been targeted and many Christians have been shot dead.

Boko Haram has also struck at the security forces and at mosques deemed “insufficiently Islamic”. The group is believed to have killed over 300 people so far this year.

- barnabas team

Lent: Prayer, Penance and Charity to renew our relationship with God

 

Pope - LentVatican City, February 26, 2012: In his reflections before praying the Angelus this morning with faithful gathered in St. Peter’s Square, Benedict XVI commented on the Gospel reading from this Sunday’s liturgy, St. Mark’s narrative of the temptation of Jesus in the wilderness.

“The Lord chose to undergo the attack of the tempter so as to defend us with His help and instruct us with His example”, said the Holy Father quoting a text written by St. Leo the Great. This episode teaches us that man is never free from temptation, but we can become stronger than any enemy “by following the Lord every day with patience and humility, learning to build our lives not without Him or as if He did not exist, but in Him and with Him, because He is the source of true life. The temptation to remove God, to regulate ourselves and the world counting only on our own abilities, has always been present in the history of man”, the Pope said.

In Christ, God addresses man “in an unexpected way, with a closeness that is unique, tangible and full of love. God became incarnate and entered man’s world in order to take sin upon Himself, to overcome evil and to bring man back into God’s world. But His announcement was accompanied by a request to respond to such a great gift. Indeed, Jesus said “repent, and believe in the good news’. This is an invitation to have faith in God and to convert every day of our lives to His will, orienting our every action and our every thought towards what is good. The period of Lent is a good time to renew and strengthen our relationship with God through daily prayer, acts of penance and works of fraternal charity”.

Following the Angelus the Pope greeted pilgrims in a number of different languages, asking them to pray for him as he and the Roman Curia retire for their Lenten spiritual exercises, which begin this evening.

- vis

Priest on attempted murder charge

February 28, 2012 by admin  
Filed under Goa, India, newsletter-india, Persecution

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Priest on attempted murder chargeGoa, February 28, 2012: Around 1,500 others also detained after policemen attacked.

A Goa parish priest and more than 1,500 parishioners have been charged with attempted murder after six policemen were attacked and injured on Saturday night.

Enraged parishioners attacked the policemen after they turned up at around 9pm at St Francis Xavier Church in Velim to talk to Father Romano Gonsalves.

The crowd thought the policemen had come to try and intimidate the parish priest who was raided recently by income-tax and police officials.

Fr Gonsalves tried to shield the policemen in his bedroom but the parishioners dragged them out and beat them up.

“The attack was unprovoked. The unarmed policemen had gone there officially to conduct a pre-poll assessment,” Superintendent of Police Atmaram Deshpande said.

The priest said the policemen had come to his church, around 50km south of the state capital Panaji, to inquire whether the parishioners would be boycotting upcoming elections.

The earlier raid had sparked a public outcry and parishioners had demanded an apology, threatening to boycott assembly polls on March 3 if they did not get one.

“I told them I could only speak for myself,” the priest said.

Thinking the priest was in trouble, church workers rang the bell, which attracted a crowd attending an election rally, the priest said.

Senior Congress leader Shantaram Naik criticized the police for the way they handled the situation.

“They had no business to go there at night,” he said.

Forest Minister Filipe Neri Rodrigues, who is contesting the seat, also condemned the police.

They had acted in bad faith and committed gross violations, all the more worse since a tense situation was sorting itself out and it being so close to polling day, he said.

- ucan

A permanent abode for 127 families affected by flood in Raichur District

February 28, 2012 by admin  
Filed under Karnataka, National, newsletter-india, State

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A permanent abode for 127 families affected by flood in Raichur DistrictKarnataka, February 24, 2012: One hundred and twenty  seven newly built houses for the flood victims of Manvi and Sindanoor talukas of Raichur dist. were inaugurated in a joyous function, in the presence of huge gathering, the local MLA, and other leaders of the area, in Pannur. These houses  built by The Centre for Non Formal & Continuing Education, an NGO run by the Jesuits of Karnataka, in Manvi, Raichur Dist, for the needy people irrespective of caste creed and religion.  The Jesuits  have been working  in the remote corner of the district for the past 10  years  and have been instrumental  to start a CBSE school  and a P U college, for Dalits, where more than  1500 students from 65 villages are being educated.

The  opening ceremony of  the houses took place in the presence of Mr. Hampayya Nayak, MLA of  Manvi, Mr. Bosraj ex MLA and  Secretary of KPCC, Mr. Basavan  Bagvat, ex MLA and President  of CADA, Mr. Gangadar Nayak, ex MLA, Fr. Terence Farias SJ, Superior of Pannur Mission, Fr. Maxim the Parish Priest of Jagir Pannur,  Fr. Eric Mathias SJ, Director of CNF&CE and  other civic authorities.

Mr. Hampayya Nayak, MLA of  Manvi, speaking  on the occasion reiterated his appreciation of the Jesuit Fathers commitment to the cause of the poor and  have shown to these people where God is really found. He said that God is experienced when  a person  brings hope  to  the hopeless, providing the homeless with a home and those without clothing with clothes to put on and  those who are illiterate  with the gift  of knowledge through education  and those longing for love with loving care. He appreciated the commitment of Pannur Jesuits for setting aside their CBSE School for Dalits, the untouchables, Deavadasi children and  a preferential option for the village girls.

Families affected by flood in RaichurMr. Bosraj the ex MLA was all in praise for the quality of the  new houses built with great care and love. He appreciated the quality of whatever is done for the poor.   He assured the Jesuits his  full support  in our ventures for  the betterment of  village people.

Mr. Basavan  Bagvat, ex MLA and President  of CADA, expressed  his  satisfaction at the newly built houses for 127 families.  He promised whatever help is needed for  any  project for the development of the people.

There were  more than a thousand people gathered for the programme from various villages.  Fr. Terence Farias the Superior of Pannur Jesuits welcomed the gathering and thanked all guests for the support   assured by them. The well planned, and neatly built houses were appreciated by all. The cultural programme given by the children  of the village was much appreciated  by the whole gathering.

The Jesuit Mission of Pannur, Karnataka  includes, a Health Centre,  effectively  run by the  St. Joseph’s of Tarbes Sisters of  Mysore Province,  a school and a college, and extensive  social work in  about 75 villages. Considering the recent  deaths of several little children on account of malnutrition  in  Raichur Dist, a nutrition programme for the children of 50 villages is  being worked out.

By. Fr. Terence Farias SJ

- fwd: eric mathias

First Sunday of Lent: A time for Recollection and Renewal has come!

February 27, 2012 by admin  
Filed under newsletter-miscellaneous

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lent_crucifixionLent is a season of grace. It is a time for conversion and spiritual growth. In the book of Prophet Joel 2:12-13 we read-”…Return to me with all your heart, with fasting, with weeping, and with mourning; rend your hearts and not your clothing…”The season of Lent is a call to come back to the Lord and seek His mercy. “…Repent, and believe in the Good News!” (Mk. 1:15). It is a period of strengthening and testing so that we may continue the mission of Christ with renewed vigour.

A camel’s story

A mother camel and her baby are talking one day and the baby camel asks, “Mom why have we got these huge three-toed feet?” The mother replies, “To enable us trek across the soft sand of the desert without sinking.” “And why have we got these long, heavy eyelashes?” “To keep the sand out of our eyes on the trips through the desert “replies the mother camel. “And Mom, why have we got these big humps on our backs?” The mother, now a little impatient with the boy replies, “They are there to help us store fat for our long treks across the desert, so we can go without water for long periods.” “OK, I get it!” says the baby camel, “We have huge feet to stop us sinking, long eyelashes to keep the sand from our eyes and humps to store water. Then, Mom, why the heck are we here in the Toronto zoo?” Modern life sometimes makes one feel like a camel in a zoo. And like camels in a zoo we need sometimes to go into the desert in order to discover who we truly are.

Lent invites us to enter into this kind of desert experience. The desert was the birthplace of the people of Israel into the people of God. The Hebrew people who escaped from Egypt as scattered tribes arrived the Promised Land as one nation under God. It was in the desert that they become a people of God by covenant. In the course of their history when their love and faithfulness to God grew cold, the prophets would suggest their return to the desert to rediscover their identity, their vocation and their mission as a way of reawakening their faith and strengthening their covenant relationship with God. In today’s gospel we read that after Jesus was baptized “the Spirit immediately drove him out into the wilderness. He was in the wilderness forty days, tempted by Satan; and he was with the wild beasts; and the angels waited on him” (Mk. 1:12-13). The great prophets Elijah and John the Baptist were people of the desert: they lived in the desert, ate desert food and adopted a simple desert lifestyle. The desert is the university where God teaches His people. The desert was the school where Jesus came to distinguish between the voice of God which he should follow and the voice of Satan which is temptation. In the desert we come to know ourselves, our strengths and weaknesses, and our divine calling.

In the Second reading, Peter encourages Christians to endure the unmerited suffering of persecution. Unmerited suffering was good not only for their personal salvation but for the salvation of others, as we can see in the life and example of Christ. “For Christ also suffered for sins once for all, the righteous for the unrighteous, in order to bring you to God” (1 Pet. 3:18).As we begin the season of Lent, the Church invites all her sons and daughters to join Christ in the forty-day journey of fasting, penance and almsgiving. Some Christians may find this call difficult on the grounds that they may not need this type of voluntary suffering. In urging believers to embrace suffering without wrongdoing, Peter mentions baptism, comparing it to Noah’s ark which saved those who had recourse to it. In the course of history, Christians have debated with one another over the amount of water required for baptism. Is baptism to be done by sprinkling, pouring, or total immersion in water? Peter reminds us that the amount of water is inconsequential since it is not a body bath designed to remove dirt but a matter of conscience. “And this is a picture of baptism, which now saves you by the power of Jesus Christ’s resurrection. Baptism is not a removal of dirt from your body; it is an appeal to God from a clean conscience” (1 Pet. 3:21).

Lent is a time of retreat for the whole church in preparation for the renewal of our baptismal vows at Easter. Let us pray for the grace to observe the Lenten season in such a way as to purify our consciences and join Christ in the suffering of atonement for the good of all sinners living and dead. Amen.

-  Fr. Ciril D’Souza SVD

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