06/18/2013PAKISTAN Punjab: young Christian dies under torture in police custody with 22 broken bones by Jibran Khan Irfan Masih was arrested on 8 June suspected of a murder he did not commit. For days, he was subjected to abuse in order to extort a confession. He died on Sunday from the serious injuries he suffered. "So what if he died? So many die anyway every day," a police officer said. Human rights activists call for justice, whilst the victim's family is in hiding for fear of reprisals. Islamabad (AsiaNews) - Taken into custody by police without evidence or
a judge's warrant, a 20-year-old Christian man was held in prison for nine days
during which he was abused...
06/17/2013ISLAM Oasis: with the death of secular humanism, it is time to build new bridges by Bernardo Cervellera On the first day of the Oasis Centre's annual conference, participants hear that secularism and the 'crisis of man'-that of an inward-looking man, stalked by radical environmentalism, man as an animal, a 'monkey'-appear to be at an end. Islamic parties brought to the fore by the Arab spring are failing. As new religious experiences emerge in the Arab world, states try to bring under their bureaucratic control. But, as Benedict XVI put it, faith and reason must engage in dialogue. In Najaf (Iraq), a Council for dialogue between religions has been set up for the purpose of promoting basic universal human rights and full citizenship for all of the country's religious communities.
06/17/2013INDONESIA Jakarta: police rejects compulsory headscarf for female officers by Mathias Hariyadi Islamists want to impose the jilbab on women police officers. Some human rights groups and lawmakers back the request. However, police spokesman said the force's internal rules impose the same uniform on all officers and so the headscarf is inadmissible, except in Islamist-ruled Aceh province.
06/17/2013SYRIA Massacres by Islamic extremists bolster Bashar al-Assad Ignored for months by Western media, massacres by Islamist brigades have appeared on pro-rebel media with reports on summary executions, Islamic courts and the mass killing of Shias, justified in the name of the hatred against Assad. However, in al Qusair and Aleppo, residents have welcomed the return of the regular army.
06/17/2013IRAN Hopes for a new era in Iran as moderate Rohani wins presidential elections The new president won with over 50% of the vote. The turnout was 72%. Outcome welcomed by the United States, European Union and Gulf monarchies. The hope is that Rohani will put a definite stop to the nuclear ambitions pursued by his predecessor Ahmadinejad. Israeli government skeptical: "The international community must not indulge in dreams."
06/17/2013BANGLADESH Bangladesh Nationalist Party (and Islamists) wins municipal elections by Sumon Corraya The Bangladesh Nationalist Party (BNP) wins 60% of the vote in Sylhet, Barisal, Khulna and Rajshahi. Heavy defeat for the ruling party, the Awami League. Victory thanks to support of the Jamaat-e-Islami, the Islamic party for months fomenting violence across the country.
06/15/2013ISLAM Oasis: benefits and risks of secularization in Muslim-Christian sphere At the annual meeting of the Scientific Committee of the magazine founded by Card. Angelo Scola, testimony from Saudi Arabia, Morocco, Turkey, Egypt, Iran, Nigeria. Many personalities from the international academic world present. Discussion focuses on secularization brought about by the "Arab Spring", the fundamentalist fallout and western secularism.
06/14/2013INDONESIA Central Java: fatwa against Catholic schools, "forbidden" to Muslims by Mathias Hariyadi In a "controversial" statement, the local Ulema Council in Tegal said that such schools are haram, "morally unsound." Politics and local authorities have fuelled the controversy for electoral advantage. However, the families of Muslim students have defended the schools, claiming the right to free choice in matters of education.
06/14/2013ISRAEL - PALESTINE Jaffa, Christian cemetery and graves desecrated. Graffiti in Hebrew Some vandals covered the walls and the tombstones in the cemetery Greek-Orthodox in Jaffa with offensive graffiti. The community denounces continuing cases of discrimination by extremist Zionists. Authorities responsible for the climate of tension: they defend settlers instead of Israeli citizens.
06/14/2013SYRIA - USA U.S. to arm Syrian rebels "Red line" crossed: Assad's forces used chemical weapons "to a minimal extent." The rebels want anti-tank and anti-aircraft weapons. Bill Clinton suggests a no-fly-zone, similar to Libya. Holy See and the United Nations against any military escalation. Victims of conflict: 93 thousand people, of whom 80% were men. But there are also 1,700 children under 10 years of age.
06/13/2013IRAQ Chaldean Synod: revitalising the Christian presence in Iraq and freedom for Syrian bishops by p. Albert Zarazeer This is the thrust of the paper that marked the end of the meeting held in Baghdad on 5-10 June. The Fathers call for the creation of a "competent" Christian political class, urging the faithful to be "a bridge between cultures." The Synod also stressed the importance of the ecumenical movement and calls for an "honest dialogue" with the Assyrian Church of the East. It issues special thanks to Pope Francis.
06/13/2013INDONESIA Extremists attack a peaceful Muslim-Christian conference in Surabaya by Mathias Hariyadi Members of the Islamic Defenders Front stopped an interfaith meeting by force. The images caught on video were posted on YouTube. Complicit with the violent protesters, police detain event organisers. Orthodox Christian activist notes the conference had the right permits, bemoans rising intolerance.