What shape or form does Malaysia’s adoption of religious freedom take in order to remain true to the freedom’s intrinsic components, which has mainly been developed in the individualistic West? How does the Malaysian government ensure a healthy respect and encourage a flourishing of diverse religious life for its citizens?Read More
Christian leaders who face injustice at the hands of governing authorities often see their families and loved ones forced to endure great hardships. The St. Charles Institute has received an urgent appeal for prayer from Pastor Ezra Jin of Zion Church Beijing that highlights this sad reality.Read More
On August 30, 2018, a group of Chinese Christian pastors and leaders issued a joint statement, a declaration for the sake of Christian faith. This statement comes at a time of increasing tension between the Chinese government and China’s Christian community. Many believe this marks a significant moment in the country’s church and state relations.
Since the official “Regulations on Religious Affairs” came into effect on February 1, 2018, the state has enforced a dramatic tightening of controls over religious matters. The new regulations have emboldened relevant governmental departments in charge of religion, and a fresh wave of attacks on religious gatherings, places of worship, and individuals have since erupted.Read More
On August 20, 2018, a “Contract Due Notice” appeared on the lobby of the Longbaochen Commercial Mansion, at No. 176 Beiyuan Road, Chaoyang District, Beijing. The Notice states that the third floor office lease signed under Beijing Jianweitang Culture Co., Ltd. has expired, and the company must move out within 15 days. Since August 24, anyone entering and exiting the building received a copy of the “Contract Due Notice,” notifying all Jianweitang-related members to terminate all activities on the third floor.
The third floor, which Jianweitang rents out entirely, covers 2,400 square meters. Jianweitang pays three million Chinese Yuan (approximately $440,000 USD) per year for the third floor. The company has never defaulted on rent and has promised to continue paying the full amount of rent punctually in the future.
Why, then, would the landlord, Longbaochen Commercial Mansion, be so eager to expel such a reliable tenant?Read More
“The morning after the execution of the Egyptian Christians in Libya , I arrived at the Bible Society office in the morning feeling sad and depressed. I met a young coworker who told me that she was ‘very encouraged.’ I could not imagine what on earth could encourage her!
“‘I am encouraged,’ she said, ‘because now I know that what we have been taught in history books about Egyptian Christians being martyred for their faith is not just history, but that there are Christians today who are brave enough to face death rather than deny their Lord. When I saw these young men praying as they were being prepared for execution, and then many of them shouting, “O Lord Jesus,” as their throats were being slit, I realized that the gospel message can still help us to hold on to the promises of God even when facing death!’”Read More
"As Christians, with every struggle or difficulty, we do receive an immense amount of grace from God that will, at least, balance the intensity of the struggle. And I think it is with that grace that people are able to forgive because if you are asking on the outside they will say, 'Well if this happened to one of my relatives I could never forgive.' But, I suppose the difference is that once it happens to any person that person is given much grace. And how he or she decides to use it will offset the anger.”Read More
79% of the world’s population (3 out of 4 ppl) live with a high to very high level of restriction on religious practice. Specifically, 40% of countries have high or very high levels of restrictions, up from 34% in 2014.Read More
The violence in Egypt has escalated to a new level. From December 11, 2016 to April 9, 2017, there have been 88 killings. St. George’s Church in Tanta and the St. Mark’s Cathedral complex in Cairo experienced the most fatalities, 28 each. The attack at the St. Mark’s Cathedral complex took place in the chapel of St. Peter and St. Paul, which is adjacent to St. Mark’s Coptic Orthodox Cathedral. As worshipers participated in Sunday morning mass on December 11, 2016, people were killed by a suicide bomber. St. Mark’s Cathedral in Cairo is the most sacred space for the Coptic Church. The deeply, personal significance of this attack for Copts is analogous to the way Catholics would react if the Vatican were bombed.Read More
David Byle’s love for the Turkish people permeates his heart with unshakeable resolve as evidenced by his perseverance despite multiple efforts by the government to stop him. Since 2007, he has been detained four times by Turkish authorities. He has also overcome a five-year battle with the authorities to regain the right to possess a residence permit. Once again, his residency is in jeopardy as he strives to continue evangelizing while fighting a pending deportation order.Read More
"Persecution is systematic. Official authorities or fanatics, supported by the government, demolish many churches. Also, they persecute priests. Many are arrested and brought to partisan courts. They deny Christians the right to preach. Also, according to article 126 of Sudanese penal code, [if one commits] apostasy, you will be sentenced to death. ... Many Sudanese who [have] converted to Christianity are continuously harassed, arrested, and tortured. I know many who have left the country."
On July 16, 2007, Shaymaa al-Sayed's family defied familial bonds and, in public, threatened her with death as her and her husband enjoyed a fair in Alexandria, Egypt. She had been in hiding from them for four years. Presumably taken into protective custody by the police, she was transferred to State Security Investigation [SSI] in Cairo. The nightmare continued. The SSI electrocuted her. Photographed her naked. And tortured her for a week. On the 23rd, she was released to her family. Dragged out of the police station screaming, they beat her severely before driving away.
Her "crime?" Converting from Islam to another religion. What is the price for converting to another religion in the United States? For religious minorities in 13 countries, the price for committing apostasy or blasphemy is death.
There is a concentrated effort by extremist Muslims to “export [this type] of repression into the free world.”Read More
Since the early part of the twentieth century, the Christian population has dropped from 20 percent to .02 percent. Of the almost 79.5 million people living in Turkey, less than 150,000 Christians remain. ... Many believe President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan is consolidating power to return Turkey to an official Islamic nation.
One major pre-coup indication of this desire is multiple attempts to revise the country’s constitution. The inability to ratify a new constitution evidences protracted, political in-fighting between pro-West Turks and pro-Islamic forces in the government. Speaker of Parliament Ismail Kahraman recently voiced his support for the new constitution. "We are a Muslim country. That is why we need a religious constitution," he said. So the distance grows greater between what Turkey was and what it is yet to become.Read More
In an effort to make sure victims of persecution are heard and remembered, The St. Charles Institute is announcing the launch of “The Voices Project.” Through a series of interviews, articles, and country profiles, “The Voices Project” will provide a platform through which we can listen to the voices of the persecuted, and gain insight into the challenges they face. Through this project, rather than seeking to BE the voice of the voiceless, we will seek out ways for you to hear THEIR voices.Read More