Persecution in Nigeria: Boko Haram’s Murderous Crusade Against Christians: “A religious war threatens Nigeria, yet the administration has downplayed the religious roots of the conflict, preferring to emphasize the malign impact of poverty and poor governance,” says Doug Bandow of the Cato Institute. “At a recent Senate hearing, Assistant Secretary of State Johnnie Carson made the rather astonishing claim that ‘religion is not the primary driver behind extremist violence in Nigeria.’ He should read the State Department’s own report on religious liberty,” says Bandow. Read more>>

Election of Hard-Line Islamic Governor in Indonesia Followed by Closure of 17 Churches: The election of a hard-line Islamic governor in Indonesia’s Aceh Province last month appears to have opened the way for a crack-down on the minority Christian community. Emboldened by the April 9 election of Zaini Abdullah of the militant Aceh Party, hundreds of Islamists demonstrated on April 30, demanding area church buildings be not only sealed but demolished.  Police Chief Bambang Syafrianto suggested that the Christians be given three days to tear down their church buildings, and that an enforcement team would be formed to demolish them if they failed to do so.  Read more>>

Bhatti Murder Case in Pakistan Increasingly Murky: The investigation into the murder of Pakistan’s only cabinet-level Christian, Shahbaz Bhatti, has become mired amid suspicions of a possible cover-up. Lax investigations, a series of freed suspects and lack of coordination across law enforcement organizations have stalled the case. “Shahbaz Bhatti’s murder is no ordinary case,” said Napolean Qayyum, who belongs to the Pakistan People’s Party, as Bhatti did. “He represented the minorities in the highest forums of government, was a prominent member of a minority religious community himself and was very vocal against the blasphemy laws.” Read more>>

Open Doors Applauds New Members of International Religious Freedom Caucus: Sixteen members of Congress have joined the International Religious Freedom (IRF) Caucus in the past several weeks, partially due to the advocacy efforts of Open Doors USA. The caucus was founded in 2006 and is co-chaired by Rep.Trent Franks (R-AZ) and Rep. Heath Shuler (D-NC) and currently has 66 members. The new members of the caucus include: Ann Marie Buerkle (R-NY), Ken Calvert (R-CA), Mike Capuano (D-MA), Trey Gowdy (R-SC), Tim Griffin (R-AR), Tim Huelskamp (R-KS), Randy Hultgren (R-IL), James Lankford (R-OK), Tom Minora (R-PA), John Olver (D-MA), Mike Pence (R-IN), Ted Poe (R-TX), Mike Pompeo (R-KS), Scott Rigell (R-VA), James Sensenbrenner (R-WI) and Henry Waxman (D-CA). Open Doors is also encouraging Senators to join the IRF Caucus in order to make it a true bicameral endeavor.  We urge you to contact your legislators in Washington and inquire to see if they are members of the IRF Caucus.  If they are not, please ask them to join and if they are already members, please thank them for making international religious freedom a priority. Read more>>

Lawyer of Iranian Pastor on Death Row Faces Prison: The main defense lawyer for Iranian pastor Yousef Nadarkhani, who is appealing a death sentence, may be facing imminent imprisonment for defending the rights of Iranians. Charges against him included “membership of an association seeking the soft overthrow of the government” and “spreading propaganda against the system through interviews with foreign media,” according to a press statement by Amnesty International. Read more>>

Features

Heaven's Metal: An Oral History of the Genesis of Christian Metal

Heaven's Metal

When rock emerged from blues and 'heavy metal' began to surface, faith-based metal acts also rose to start their own journeys. Initially shunned by both believers and non-believers, they were fighting for their spot at the table, ultimately building a legacy that would go on to change the genre forever. HM presents an oral history of the beginning of Christian metal music, featuring Guardian, Tourniquet, Holy Soldier, Whitecross, and, of course, Stryper.

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Atreyu- 2021

Atreyu's Baptism

At their core, Atreyu is a hard rock band with metal riffs and pop choruses. Now, after more than 20 years, the band has stepped boldly into their next chapter with a change in lineup and an album that proves the lifeblood of Atreyu is stronger than ever.

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Photo by Ashley Osborn

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Imperial Triumphant - 2021

Alphaville’s Metal Renaissance

With influences that span Miles Davis and Stravinsky to Geddy Lee and Les Claypool, jazz metal force Imperial Triumphant is the epitome of genre-bending. HM contributing writer Andrew Voigt spoke with the band about their unique style, the massive bass presence in their music, and the rise and fall of civilization.

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Photo by Alex Krauss

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