Saturday, November 29, 2008

NOW Violence in India is Getting Press Coverage

195 dead. Over 200 wounded. Blood all over the train station. By now we have all seen the coverage of the three horrifying days of attack in Mumbai (formerly Bombay) on the news and in the press.

Americans and British citizens in particular were singled out by gunmen who took (and killed) hostages in the luxurious Taj Mahal hotel and attacked Western diners in restaurants. The tragedy has been everywhere in the news this week. An hour ago, a local rabbi was on our nightly news discussing the committed Chabad House couple who were killed yesterday. He lamented how such good-hearted, giving individuals would be attacked for the religious beliefs that they held.

There's just one question that's been bothering me.

Why now? Why, just now, since religious extremists in India have been on the rampage since August, is this finally getting the world and the media's attention? Could it just be that....because a half dozen Americans were killed? Now the massacres qualify for "crisis" status. Before this week, the thousands of Indian Christians who were murdered in cold blood didn't even register on the world news' radar. (They're still finding rotting corpses in the jungles, by the way). As I posted earlier this week, the bounty for a dead pastor is now $250. The terrorists even provide the kerosine and matches to light them on fire.

Just in case you've missed my periodic updates on open season on Christians in Northern and Central India, here are a few of this month's news briefs from GFA and Voice of the Martyrs:

India: More than 70,000 Displaced Christians in Orissa
Extremists Demand End to Christian Activity in Orissa
Orissa Attacks Described
Attacks on Christians in India Spread Beyond Orissa

Here is a telling survey result table from VOM. It indicates that fewer than 11% of those polled have even seen any reports about India's violence against Christians anywhere in the secular media:
Have you seen coverage of the widespread attacks on Christians in Orissa, India…

Only from The Voice of the Martyrs 26.55% 1518 votes

From VOM and in the Christian media 24.07% 1376 votes

In both Christian and secular media 10.93% 625 votes

I’ve not seen any reports of these attacks 38.43% 2197 votes

Total: 5716
These results were generated on Nov 29, 2008 20:02:45.
powered by

This survey is not scientific and reflects the opinions of only those Internet users who have chosen to participate.
Kind of makes you think, doesn't it?

Here's but one of the attacks that never made international headlines:

7 Month's Pregnant, Kamalini Naik Cut into Pieces for Her Faith

As narrated by an independent writer:
Mrs. Kamalini Naik's husband was asked to become a Hindu for which the fanatics threatened to kill his mother. Seeing his mother under their grip Mr. Naik denounced his faith.

Then they called his wife Kamalini Naik who was 7 months pregnant. She strongly stood for her faith in Christ and immediately the fanatics cut her into pieces and her one and half year son in front of her husband and other Christians.
But now, Westerners are involved so the violence has been deemed "newsworthy". Being mutilated or set on fire just for being a Christian just isn't important enough to make the papers.


Barbara said...

Just a question, mainly for thought:

Would more news coverage make it better for those who have lost their lives and their family members, for their suffering on behalf of their faith to be more public than it is?

Or do we, from the comfort of our homes, react out of the weakness of our flesh at what appears to be an injustice only in the degree of attention given to a massacre, when in fact the very same salvation for which the Christians' injustices are suffered...was bought and wrought through another act of injustice upon injustice...and yet He never once complained - and in fact, He loved them and asked for their forgiveness?

Just askin'...

Honestly, from what I've read about much of what goes on in Orissa, the better it is that much of it doesn't go public because from what I've read there are more false converts who are readily going back to Hinduism and many of the Dalits are prone to "convert" to whatever religion - including Christianity - that they think will get them out of the "untouchable" caste so that they can obtain the government privileges available to others - and are loudly asserting this, thus attracting more dishonor and more persecution to all who carry the name of Christ. Many of Paul's admonitions about how to behave in hostile territory appear to have fallen on deaf ears. The persecution of the Iraqi Christians in Mosul made Fox News.

Marie said...


While I agree with you that there are probably many false converts and that's really for God to worry about, but actually I think you have the Dalit situation backwards. When Hindu "untouchables" leave Hinduism for another faith, they lose the paltry amount of government-provided welfare that was previously available to them, as well as the Indian equivalent of "affirmative action" - the right to vy for the small quota at public schools available to them. When they become Christians, they face more persecution than before; not less. This has been an ongoing problem for the families served by GFA's Bridge of Hope schools, among others. Two years ago, there was a bill proposing fines on those who convert (which, fortunately, was vetoed in the Indian Parliament), but in the last several years the government has made life as miserable as possible for indigenous Christians.

I personally believe that it is very wrong that the world ignores the persecution and genocide these people are facing. If it were any other religion or ethnic group, I am confident it would receive much coverage (ironic, in that Christians are an oppressed minority on the Indian Subcontinent). The message being sent to the world is that it is okay to kill, rape and maim Christians and then burn their homes and churches - it's not even worth mentioning; let alone an international outcry. This is clearly the worldview that will prevail during the Tribulation.

The violence and evil being perpetrated is sickening. It disturbs me on a level that I don't attribute to "the weakness of my flesh" from the comfort of my home. That is why I am speaking out against it and making my church aware of what's going on. When the early church was persecuted (it heated up after the stoning of Stephan), most of the Christians fled Jerusalem and scattered. They didn't all hang out waiting for their persecuters to come and drag them from their homes. Most of the Indian victims have no choice - they posses neither the visas nor the necessary money to flee. We owe it to them, as our brothers in Christ, to take a stand.

Hadassah said...

For my two cents, Marie, I think that the carnage in Orissa is not getting reported because the victims are poor and don't have anything to contribute to the world economic stage. In the eyes of the decision makers in the media, that makes their stories unimportant. God, of course, sees things very differently.

But bravo to you and to others that are keeping us aware of what is happening to our brothers and sisters in Christ around the world. I am thankful to know about it for so many reasons. It puts my own "problems" into perspective and reminds me that Christianity is much bigger than just my little corner of the world. And it keeps me praying for the people who are being persecuted.

Barbara said...

Here's what I'm referring to, all those links by TeamPyro back when it all hit the fan:

As noted by Phil: Moreover, the situation in India is terribly confounded by the issue of so-called "mass conversions," urged even by some evangelical groups. Mass conversions are frequently publicized in advance and usually appear to be socially rather than spiritually motivated. India's Dalits (sometimes called Untouchables) are especially prone to use mass conversion as a social protest. (To quote a good friend of mine who is an Indian pastor: "Mass conversions . . . can result in social not true Christianity and much false conversions of the low castes who [merely] want aid and social recognition.") Mass conversions to Buddhism are common among Dalits as well.

Some so-called Christian groups in India seem to have forgotten that being a Christian is a matter of personal faith in Christ and obedience to Him as Lord. That's not an incidental idea, but the very heart of the gospel and the principle of sola fide. A failure to make the gospel clear is one of the sad by-products of the decline of Western evangelicalism—and it is tragic to see the effects of that decline hurting the church in India as well. Authentic Christianity is not a caste or a social identity, and that fact too often gets lost or obscured, especially in India.

Marie said...

Aha....thanks for the links; I will read them as soon as I am done going through my e-mail. I COMPLETELY missed this on Pyro (although I am usually a pretty regular reader over there) and it seems to run completely counter to KP Yohannen's portrayal of the Church in India. Very interesting, indeed. Thanks for posting it.

Marie said...

'K, I've read the articles and skimmed some of the ones Phil linked to. I still don't see any justification for the atrocity being unreported in the media, nor the "easy grace" pseudo-conversions. From the reports listed, it sounds like a lot more Christians are dying horrible deaths for their faith than are de-converting back to Hinduism out of fear.

Also, re: "mass conversions" - nothing in either article seemed to indicate that the people are being coerced to convert, and no evidence has been supplied to indicate they were being bribed. I clicked on the link where Phil cited evangelical groups encouraging it; it sounds to me that the masses of people are just coming; the Gospel is being preached; and the holy Spirit is leading them into truth. I have read about the Dalits coming to Christ en masse before through Gospel for Asia's ministry (D'Souza is a well-known figure to me) but nothing would indicate these mass conversions are involuntary. That's key.

I'm still thoroughly confused by the quote about "aid and social recognition". Everything I've read to date about the subject indicates life gets harder when those low down on the pecking order go from Hindu to Christian; not vice-versa. I wish Phil had cited a source for that one.

MarieP said...

Yes, I too am saddened by the media's lack of report on the persecuted Christians in India. It's almost as if they are saying, "Well, they're getting what they ask for..." I am SO glad Jesus told us that just as the world hated Him, so it would hate us. It should prevent any pity parties on our part...