by George Conger, CEN
Over 105,000 Christians were killed because of their faith in 2012, an Italian sociologist told Vatican Radio last week, with reports from Africa, India and Asia showing a surge in anti-Christian persecution over the Christmas holidays.
Yousef Nadarkhani, the Iranian pastor jailed sentenced to death for apostasy from Islam but released after an international protest campaign was re-arrested at his home on Christmas Day, Christian Solidarity Worldwide reports.
In a 26 December 2012 statement, CSW’s Chief Executive Mervyn Thomas said Pastor Nadarkhani had been returned to prison Iran. CSW reported he had “been returned to jail on the orders of the director of Lakan Prison, who claimed he had been released several days too early due to the insistence of his lawyer Mohammed Ali Dadkhah,” who is also in an Iranian jail for having defended Mr. Nadarkhani.
The Mohabat News service reported that on 27 Dec, approximately 50 converts to Christianity from Islam were also arrested by police in Tehran for unlawful assembly. The converts were released after several hours of police interrogation, but the Rev. Vruir Avanessian, remains in custody.
In Nigeria, the Islamist terror group, Boko Haram, attacked a church service on Christmas Eve in a village in Yobe State, killing the pastor and several members of the congregation. The First Baptist Church in the northern city of Maduguri was attacked by gunmen during a Midnight Service on Christmas Eve and the church’s deacon was killed. Reports on the total death count vary, with reports ranging from 12 to 24 killed. CSW reports that since 2010, 45 Christians have been killed in Christmas church attacks launched by Boko Haram.
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