Response To The Escape Of Christmas Day Bomber

The recent escape under suspicious circumstances of Kabiru Sokoto has exacerbated the tension between Muslims and Christians in Nigeria. Sokoto was accused of planning the bombing of St. Theresa Catholic Church in Madalla, which claimed 38 lives. The unclear nature of the escape has prompted claims of complicity from both Muslim leadership and the police from certain quarters. While resisting the urge to lay allegations for which they do not possess evidence, our friends at the Christian Lawyers Association of Nigeria are calling for a decisive and transparent response to this utter failure by the Government of Nigeria.

The Christian Lawyers Fellowship of Nigeria (CLASFON) hereby condemns in strongest terms the Nigerian Police Force for negligence and deliberately allowing the suspect in the person of one Kabir Sokoto arrested in connection with the Christmas day (25th December 2011) bombing of St.Theresa’s Catholic Church Madalla, Niger State, that led to the gruesome termination of 45 lives of innocent Nigerians and about 60 persons still recuperating in various hospitals both within and outside Nigeria.
CLASFON hereby unconditionally demand the following:-

1. That the Federal Government of Nigeria should with immediate effect suspend the Commissioner of Police concerned in the person of Mr. Zakari Biu and the Inspector General of Police, Mr. Hafiz Ringim for toying with the sensibilities of Nigerians and treating with impunity the time bomb that the Nation is sitting on which is systematically exploding as a consequence of the unseriousness to date in the handling of the Boko Haram menace.

2. Commencement of the criminal prosecution of Mr. Zakari Biu and everyone in the investigating team for criminal negligence of duty in allowing, aiding and abetting the escape of the suspect (Kabiru Sokoto) from lawful custody under S.128 of the Penal Code Law.

3. The Federal Government should within 7 days from the date of this publication deploy every resource at its disposal to re -arrest and arraign the suspect immediately and if the suspect is found to be outside the shores of Nigeria, engage the Interpol to apprehend and arraign him before the International Criminal Court.

4. CLASFON further reiterates the demand of other Nigerians that it is high time that a comprehensive overhauling/restructuring of the entire security apparatus of Nigeria be carried out without further delay, THIS HOUSE MUST NOT FALL IN OUR GENERATION!

5. Finally, that should the above demands not be met, CLASFON as one of the major stake holders and pain bearers of the consistent, intentional and deliberate attacks on the body of Christ in Nigeria would be forced to seek redress/compliance of the said demands in the appropriate forum, both within and outside the Country.


Faith like a Child

The Testimony of Christian Children in the Midst of Violence

Caring for vulnerable children is one of Jubilee Campaign’s most closely held values and over the years God has given us many opportunities to exemplify His character by caring for the fatherless. One of the most enduring and rewarding opportunities is our work supporting the Maluku Orphans in Indonesia.

Until the end of the 20th Century, the Maluku Islands were an example of peaceful diversity, with Christians and Muslims intertwined in rich communities with traditions going back hundreds of years. Unfortunately, the global surge in Muslim extremism which would eventually hit the US on 9/11 reached Maluku near the end of the 1990s.

Funds and weapons flowed into Maluku from more extremist nations, along with several hundred extremists from outside Indonesia. An incident between a Christian bus driver and a Muslim student provided the spark necessary to set the region ablaze. Eventually the local Muslim and Christian communities united against the foreigners, but thousands died in the struggle.

In traditional communities such as those in Maluku, orphans are cared for by relatives or friends, back by the community as a whole. However, these traditional mechanisms were overwhelmed by the sheer number of orphans and some children simply had no one left to care for them.

Jubilee Campaign found donors to sponsor individual children, giving them food, clothing, and education. Most of the children in our Maluku Orphan program were cared for in the traditional way, and the assistance ensured that their caregivers were not overwhelmed as well as ensured that the orphaned children received an education which is not free in Indonesia.  Generous donors gave for the construction of the Caleb House, named after a boy named Caleb Chandler who tragically passed away in Fairfax, Virginia.  The Caleb House program was designed to provide counseling and special care to the most traumatized of the orphaned children in a safe, loving environment based on the Gospel.

Over the past decade we have been able to participate in the lives of hundreds of orphans. It has been a deeply rewarding experience to see the work of God in these young souls as they respond to His love.

Unfortunately, over the past months, we have seen an upsurge in violence both in Maluku and throughout the nation of Indonesia. Yet we are deeply encouraged by the response of the children at Caleb House and wanted to share the testimony of these children’s response to rising violence in the wake of this year’s 9/11. Please Enjoy.

The Testimony

On Sunday Sept 11th 2011 around 12pm, after the burial of a motor-cycle-taxi driver who was killed recently due to an accident in the Nona Mountain area in Ambon, stone throwing incidents happened between Muslim and Christian groups. The incidents happened in the Pule Tree Bridge area and in front of The Silo Church. These incidents continued escalating to the point that they attacked one another with stones, bombs, and firearms which caused house burning in the areas of Waringin and Talake. Some people were injured and some killed and plenty of roads were blocked.

As a result of the conflict, the children at Caleb House could not attend the Sunday service at GBI ROCK because in order to reach the church, they had to pass the conflict area. This time’s conflict has caused several Caleb House children to experience fear and sorrow again, since they heard the sounds of gun shots and bombs again. However, at that time, all the children gathered and prayed as they do it routinely. They believe that God would protect and save them.

The night after the house burning incident in Waringin area, people who lived in a nearby village called Ahuru evacuated for their safety to an area close to Caleb House, but because there were no place to stay, they could only sit down at a small church/religious hall next to Caleb House. That night, Caleb House children immediately prepared room in Caleb House and they spontaneously went to pick up the Ahuru people to stay at Caleb House for a few days, until the situation was stabilized. And by the time they were about to move back home to Ahuru village, the children escorted them back.

During the time of conflict, schools and offices were closed so the children studied at Caleb House, but they got scared because in the surrounding areas as people frequently tested out their homemade bombs so there were loud explosions. The power also went out many times. These made them more scared of the situation but they pray persistently for the town’s safety.

Even up to this moment, we and the children still continue on praying since we heard that the conflict might occur again. The children are very sure that the Lord Jesus will help and keep them safe.

Trend of Christmas Attacks on Jos Churches Continues

For the second year in a row, Muslim extremists in Nigeria attacked Christians in Jos on Christmas, killing the police officer assigned to guard the church. One of the church members is the cousin of our primary contact on Nigerian human rights issues. There were no fatalities among the congregation but the police officer assigned to guard the church was shot and killed by the terrorists.

According to eye-witness accounts, the co-ordinated attackers had two teams. The first waded a gully at the rear of the church to plant the bombs, while the second team waited in front of the church with guns. Recent bombings in Jos used bombs of such low quality that they caused very few deaths. In fact in one recent instance the bomb failed to go off at all. The attackers apparently planned to increase their body count by using the explosion to flush the congregation out where the second team would be waiting for them.

Our sources indicate that the plan went awry when the police officer noticed the second team too soon. Our contact’s cousin “Gale” (Alias used for safety) dropped to floor as the gun fire began. While the police officer was gunned down, officers stationed at a security checkpoint near the church heard the shots and rushed to the scene. Gale and the rest of the congregation hid in the church vestry while the cops and the ambushers exchanged fire. Although the first bomb went off before the security personnel forced the attackers to flee, four of the attackers were captured and the other bombs were disarmed.

Eventually the guns went silent and Gale picked herself up and dusted off the shrapnel to find that every member of of the congregation had survived. The quick and decisive response of the security forces as well as the bravery of the police officer saved those who came to celebrate the Lord’s birth.

Gale’s cousin in the US who has worked closely with Jubilee says, “with every passing day, this horror has gotten closer and closer to home. I am glad I have been committed to this before it directly affected my family. For every Christian, our motto should be “there but for the mercy of God, go I.” I am so grateful to Jubilee campaign for their support for freedom, justice and safety for Christians in Nigeria and around the world.”

Jubilee hails the effective response of the police force to this attack. While we grieve for the loss of the police officer, this incident proves that an effective response by security forces can minimize the damage of terrorist attacks. Jubilee will closely monitor this situation to ensure that effective prosecutions necessary to finally stamp out these terrorists actually take place. The people of Nigeria need justice and those behind what the White House has called “senseless attacks” must be unveiled. We will keep you updated as we follow up on this incident.

Uncertain Times for post-Kim Jong Il North Korea; Final Verdict on Yousef Nadarkhani Case Delayed

The Death of a Dictator

2011 has been a hard year for oppressive governments. Protestors forced the dictators of Tunisia and Egypt to step down. Armed militias in Libya, with some NATO backing eventually killed Gaddafi and put his body on display. The rumbles of revolution shook autocratic governments from Morocco to China, drawing promises of reform from some and brutal crackdown from others.Now in the last month of 2011 the North Korean government has announced that Kim Jong Il, the violent and erratic dictator of North Korea died of a heart attack last week. Kim Jong Il, who assumed power in 1994, is responsible for recklessly pursuing nuclear weapons while the North Korean people starved and killing dissidents, reformers and members of any religion except the cult of personality which worships his father Kim Il Sung.

Kim Jong Un, the third son of Kim Jong Il, has been groomed to take his father’s place and continue the program of death and destruction which has killed over 3 million North Koreans and reduced the nation to a poverty stricken wreck held together only by the military. This time of transition will be a delicate one, with internal conflicts between high-ranking North Korean generals or a renewal of hostilities with South Korea and the U.S. very possible.

While we pray that Kim Jong Un will rule well and begin to heal the wounds of his country, we are very aware that a time of insecurity and thus increased persecution is imminent. We must pray for the people of North Korea at this critical time.

Reprieve Without Freedom

Despite the massive expressions of outrage regarding the case of Yousef Nadarkhani, this Iranian pastor remains in prison. As you know Yousef was arrested for protesting the mandatory Muslim indoctrination of his children, charged with apostasy and imprisoned in 2009. Over the past two years Nadarkhani has suffered torture, seen his wife imprisoned, weathered threats that his children would be sent to a Muslim orphanage.Unable to shake this pastor’s faith, the Iranian government sentenced him to death for apostasy. His case was appealed all the way up to the Iranian Supreme Court, but in the end the courts verbally sentenced him to death on September 25,  2011. Fortunately the response from the free world has put Iran under enormous pressure for blatantly violating one of the most basic rights of the human soul.

Fearing the international response if they  execute him and the internal response if they release him, the government of Iran engaged in a series of delaying tactics, trying to stall until the furor dies down. The most recent announcement from the head of the Iranian Judicial system indicates that there will be no final decision until March or April.

Jubilee Campaign rejoices that the outcry on Yousef’s behalf has been so effectual. We believe that the Lord has granted us this time to raise even more support before we deliver our petition in February. We pray that our efforts along with all those fighting for Yousef’s freedom will grow to the point where Iran cannot ignore them.

In the meantime we urge you all to pray that the Lord will preserve Yousef’s life. While Yousef is the first Christian to be publicly condemned for apostasy in two decades Iranian prisons are run by Muslim extremists and extrajudicial executions are common. Despite the danger, we recognize that God has his hand over Pastor Nadarkhani and we pray that he and the many other pastors and evangelists imprisoned in Iran will be released soon.

Jubilee Campaign Netherlands Launches

Jubilee Campaign’s Netherlands Branch has launched to raise awareness of about Yousef Nadarkhani, an Iranian pastor who was condemned to death for converting from Islam to Christianity. Over the past several years Pastor Yousef has endured torture, threats to his life, and finally a death sentence for simply following the faith he sincerely holds. Infuriated and threatened by his refusal to deny Christ the Iranian authorities imprisoned his wife and threatened his children. Then they publicly condemned him to death for apostasy, the first such condemnation in twenty years. As the clock ticks down toward Yousef’s execution, Jubilee Campaign is collecting signatures calling for Yousef’s release which we will deliver to the Iranian embassy in the Netherlands, one of the last Iranian embassies left in the free world.

A History of Neglect
For years the West has failed to effectively respond to Iran’s ongoing human rights abuses, particularly the ones relating to religious freedom. Instead, the U.S. in particular chose to focus on the nuclear issue to the detriment of the human rights agenda. While the talks and pressure have utterly failed to deter Iran from its nuclear ambitions this tactic has communicated to Iran’s leaders that the West does not particularly care about religious freedom in Iran.

However, the news of Pastor Yousef’s death sentence drew an overwhelming response from people throughout the free world. The Government of Iran fell back on classic Big Lie tactics common to oppressive governments. False charges of rape and espionage were created out of whole cloth, and Iranian embassies around the world posted press releases “explaining” the Nadarkhani case. Faced with an impending international incident, the local court which condemned Pastor Yousef to death appealed for judgement from the highest authority in Iran, the Supreme Leader Grand Ayatollah Khamenei.

The Dictator’s Dilemma
Understand that if ever there was a judicial decision that is purely political, this is it. The Ayatollah Khamenei does not wish to cause an international incident, especially at a time when relations between the west and Iran are already so strained. However he cannot afford to appear to pander to a Christian, particularly when Iran’s internal political scene is so vigorous. Khamenei did not get to be the undisputed ruler of one of the world’s most oppressive governments by being foolish.

Confronted with an unexpected international response while simultaneously dealing with strident internal extremists, Khamenei is trying to wait out the storm. According to the last reports we have received, Nadarkhani’s fate will be announced during late December, at the height of the holiday season. The fickle nature of the western public has helped dictators in the past and it could help Khamenei now.

Iranian executions are carried out very quickly, often on the same day that the verbal announcement is made. If Khamenei makes the announcement around Christmas Yousef would likely be dead before the Western public comes up for air. This is the best case scenario for Khamenei. He communicates a brutal message to the Iranian Christians, soothes the extremists in his own government, and assumes that any Western response will be minimal.

A Call To Action
This course of action depends on the idea that we the people of the western democracies are fickle and unconcerned with the life of an poor pastor halfway round the world. We must show the government of Iran that we have not forgotten, that Pastor Yousef is not alone. Jubilee Campaign is collecting signatures for a petition which we will deliver to the Iranian Embassy in the Netherlands just before Christmas, when we expect the announcement will be made. We want to emphasize, the government of Iran wants Pastor Yousef dead. We encourage you all to go to the website and sign the petition protesting the imprisonment of Yousef Nadarkhani and calling for his release.

Click Here to Sign the Petition
Click Here to see tweets about #Nadarkhani and add your own.
Click Here to go to the Save Yousef Nadarkhani Facebook Page
Click Here to download a poster which you can put up at your churches or other public bulletin boards.
Click Here to download a background pamphlet explaining the history of the case.

Most of all, please continue praying for Pastor Yousef and for the all of the Christians suffering in Iran.