Four Protestants in Turkmenistan were arrested and fined in late February after police discovered Bibles in their possession. Although the judge initially refused to hear the case against the four Christians, citing a lack of evidence, she later changed her position and fined them for “violation of the law on religious organizations.”
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The Bibles were discovered when police searched a home where three believers were staying with a fourth Christian. During the search, a police officer found a Bible in each of the three visitors’ bags. He confiscated the Bibles and took all four Christians, who asked not to be identified, to the police station.
Amid its ongoing bombing campaign in the Nuba Mountains area, the government of Sudan has enacted a new ethnic cleansing strategy denying citizenship to anyone deemed a “southerner.” The determination is based purely on ethnicity, rather than any of the traditional criteria for citizenship, such as residency or property rights. Khartoum has set April 8 as the deadline for “southerners” to leave or establish alien residency, though no residency terms have yet been established.
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In the southern self-determination referendum, Sudan’s president warned over a year ago that he would purge the North of non-Arab and non-Islamic elements. He told the British newspaper The Guardian, “If south Sudan secedes, we will change the constitution, and at that time there will be no time to speak of diversity of culture and ethnicity. … Sharia and Islam will be the main source for the constitution, Islam the official religion and Arabic the official language.”
Eleven orphans in Laos who were threatened with expulsion from a government school because of their Christian faith have continued to attend church. They slip away one by one on Sunday mornings and walk to church unnoticed.
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In August, the boys’ headmaster called them into his office and told them to stop attending church. Initially, seven of the boys stopped attending, but four of the boys refused to obey the headmaster despite the possibility that they could be expelled from the government-sponsored school. After seeing the faithfulness of these four boys, the other seven eventually decided to continue going to church as well.