23 October 2017
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  • 23/10/2017 - BANGLADESH – VATICAN

    The pontiff will be in Dhaka from 30 November to 2 December. There is hope "the man who comes from afar will push the Christian community to come out of their homes and proclaim the Gospel". May Bangladeshi Christians "be more missionary among the people".




    23/10/2017 - SAUDI ARABIA – IRAQ – UNITED STATES – IRAN

    Tillerson: A Riyadh-Baghdad axis aimed at Tehran


    The US Secretary of State is in Riyadh to counter Iran’s "Malign behavior". Shia militias that fought the Islamic State group must surrender their weapons or join the army. For Washington, the partnership between King Salman and Prime Minister Abadi is fundamental to Iraq’s rebirth.


    23/10/2017 - QATAR

    Conference in Doha addresses the persecution of Christians, promotes shared values


    The meeting took place at the Doha Institute for Higher Studies. There is no "magic wand" to solve the problem of intolerance. Full citizenship and the rule of law are needed.


    23/10/2017 - INDIA

    Kashmir: the bell of Srinagar church to toll again after 50 years

    by Nirmala Carvalho

    The interreligious ceremony is set for 29 October. The previous bell was destroyed in a fire that gutted the bell tower in 1967. Hindu, Sikh, and Muslim representatives will ring the bell with Christians.


    23/10/2017 - SYRIA - RUSSIA - USA

    Moscow: The US campaign against Isis has erased Raqqa 'from the face of the earth'


    The Syrian city suffered the same fate as Dresden at the end of World War II. UN investigation speaks of "shocking loss" of human lives among civilians. Washington replies: risk of collateral damage minimized. At least 270,000 displaced people, it will take months for their return.


    23/10/2017 - PHILIPPINES

    Marawi, Manila declares the end of battle with jihadists


    Military operations ended in the night. The soldiers tried to convince the guerrillas to surrender, without success. About 40 corpses found in two buildings and a mosque near Lake Lanao, possible mass suicide. The fighting resulted in the deaths of at least 1,131 people, including 919 militants and 165 of soldiers and policemen. 1,780 hostages released.


    21/10/2017 - VATICAN

    Cardinal Filoni: World Mission Day is not a question for only priests and religious


    "The Christian faith is born precisely because, as Saint Matthew says in Chapter 28, Jesus gave the last commandment, the last mandate to his disciples: Thus go, baptise, and make disciples.” The number of Catholics in the world is up, but their proportion is down. The number of bishops is up, as are permanent deacons, but that of priests and religious is down.


    21/10/2017 - PAKISTAN

    Nawaz Sharif’s son-in-law sparks outrage over his discriminatory comments about Ahmadis

    by Shafique Khokhar

    The Rwadari Tehreek Movement calls for immediate action against Muhammad Safdar. His speech “was an incitement of violence towards minorities, and was against the vision of the founder of Pakistan, Muhammad Ali Jinnah."


    20/10/2017 - YEMEN

    Education for 4.5 million children at risk in Yemen


    Some 1,600 schools have been destroyed or damaged, whilst another 170 have been used for military purposes or shelters for displaced people. One school in ten has been closed. About three quarters of teachers have not been paid in a year. Without education, children could become child soldiers or child brides.


    20/10/2017 - PAKISTAN

    US drone kills Taliban leader


    Umar Khalid Khorasani was wounded last week in Afghanistan. Islamic group Jamaat-ul-Ahrar militants claimed the attack on Gulshan-i-Iqbal park in Lahore in 2016, which resulted in more than 70 mostly Muslim victims. Anti-terrorism operations ahead of visit by US Secretary of State.


    18/10/2017 - IRAN – EUROPEAN UNION – UNITED STATES

    EU disowns Trump over Iran nuclear deal, a “key pillar” for international non-proliferation


    At a time of acute nuclear threat, European leaders intend to preserve the agreement signed with Iran despite Trump’s threat to terminate it. For UN atomic agency, the deal is fundamental for the security of the US, its allies and the region. The IMF rejects the US president’s demand to cut loans to Tehran.


    18/10/2017 - EU - PAKISTAN

    EU: grave concern for human rights in Pakistan


    The Council of the Europe publishes the report on "Human Rights and Democracy in the World in 2016". Weak judicial system, lack of education, violence against women, discrimination of minorities, presence of terrorism. This morning an attack on a police convoy.


    17/10/2017 - IRAQ

    Iraqi forces seize two Kurdish-held oil fields near Kirkuk


    The Kurds had held the Bay Hassan and Havana fields since 2014. Together they produced 250,000 barrels a day, providing Kurdistan 40 per cent of its oil exports. As Turkey backs Iraq the US calls for calm and dialogue. For Kurdish experts, voters in the referendum were "fooled by false promises".


    17/10/2017 - SYRIA

    Arab-Kurdish coalition takes infamous Raqqa square used for executions


    Decapitated and crucified bodies remained hanging on poles or from lanterns for days. The offensive of Syrian Democratic Forces (Fsd) continues in the "capital" of the Caliphate. Currently, jihadists still control 10% of the territory, including the main hospital and the stadium. The structure is used as prison and weapon storage. Highly symbolic victory for coalition.


    16/10/2017 - EGYPT

    Coptic priest’s murderer is a Islamist fanatic, says bishop


    For Abba Estiganous, bishop of Beba, religion is behind the murder of "martyr" Sam'an Shehata. His murderer, Mohamed Sonbaty, attacked his own relatives in the past and set fire to their home. For neighbours, he is a known radical. The Catholic Church shares the pain and offers prayers.


    16/10/2017 - BANGLADESH

    The late Fr Benjamin Costa, a well-known educator, is mourned in Dhaka

    by Sumon Corraya

    More than 3,000 people attended his funeral. The priest was involved in education for 35 years. He founded the country’s first Catholic university. Prime Minister Hasina and former students praise him.


    16/10/2017 - IRAQ

    Kirkuk, clashes between Iraqi and Kurdish troops. Fear of a new conflict


    The two sides exchanged artillery fire early Monday, south of the city. Baghdad aims to retake military bases and oil fields which Kurdish peshmerga fighters took in 2014 during the fightback against Isis. Three major oil fields produce some 250,000 barrels per day, accounting for 40 percent of Iraqi Kurdistan's oil exports.

     


    13/10/2017 - PAKISTAN

    Islamabad, election commission bans 'terrorist' party


    The Milli Muslim League was launched in August as a "clean face" of an Islamist group banned by the government. The latter is covering an al-Qaeda-affiliated armed movement. "To prevent militants from entering the political arena with democratic means."


    13/10/2017 - VATICAN - LEBANON

    Pope: Middle East and interreligious dialogue in meeting with Hariri


    Francis received Lebanese Prime Minister Rafic Hariri. The importance of intercultural and interreligious dialogue as well as "the value of collaboration between Christians and Muslims in promoting peace and justice, emphasizing the historical and institutional role of the Church in the country's life and the importance of Christian presence in the Middle East ".


    13/10/2017 - EGYPT

    Coptic priest killed in stabbing incident in Cairo outskirts, executed by an extremist


    The murder took place in El-Marg, a north-east suburb of the capital. Local sources speak of "hate crime" carried out by an element close to fundamentalism. The police have found and detained the assailant, now being questioned. Egyptian Christians targeted by Islamic extremism.

     


    12/10/2017 - EGYPT - PALESTINE

    Gaza to pass under Palestinian Authority control by December 1st


    The agreement between Fatah and Hamas was signed today in Cairo after two days of intense negotiations. The security of the Rafah border will be managed by the Palestinian Authority. Abbas: definitive agreement.


    12/10/2017 - PAKISTAN

    Social activists demand apology after lawmaker suggests Ahmadi ban

    by Kamran Chaudhry

    Safdar is a retired Captain and son-in-law of former Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif. He spoke against Ahmadi believers, who already are discriminated in Pakistan. A Muslim faithful: “An online petition will be launched.”


    12/10/2017 - EGYPT - LIBYA

    Fr. Rafic: Discovery of remains of Coptic martyrs in Libya brings ‘comfort’


    The Egyptian Catholic Church spokesman says the discovery "renders justice" to families. In the past elements of the Muslim Brotherhood had questioned the massacre. Construction of the Martyrs Church of Libya at Aour completed. The government is moving for the repatriation of bodies, but operations are difficult.


    12/10/2017 - BANGLADESH

    Cox's Bazaar: Caritas distributes food to 70,000 Rohingya

    by Sumon Corraya

    Dhaka's government grants permission to bring food and basic necessities for 60 days. The social arm of the Catholic Church collaborates with the World Food Program in the Ukhiya refugee camp. Every day volunteers distribute beans, hot meals, sugar and oil.


    11/10/2017 - PAKISTAN

    Christian boy tortured to death by Punjab police

    by Shafique Khokhar

    He was killed during school lessons. He refused to convert to Islam. He had argued with his classmates who were witness to and promoters of the murder. Activists condemn violence and impunity at the expense of religious minorities: anyone who is free to act as an accuser, judge, and executioner. Justice and Peace: This trend is not new, but growing, uncontrolled and unpunished.


    11/10/2017 - VATICAN - ASIA

    Two centenaries for the Eastern Churches

    by Stefano Caprio

    Tomorrow Pope Francis goes to the Pontifical Oriental Institute together with patriarchs and metropolitans of the Eastern Catholic Churches to celebrate the centenary. The occasion is also the centenary of the birth of the Vatican Congregation for the Oriental Churches. The richness of oriental traditions, their experience of coexistence (and persecution) with other religions, their life alongside Latin traditions.


    11/10/2017 - UN - ASIA

    U.N. Chief says death penalty has 'no place in 21st century’


    He urged member states that still carry out executions to join the 170 countries that have halted or abolished the practice. China, Iran, Saudi Arabia and Iraq responsible for 87 per cent of all recorded executions. In 2016, executions worldwide were down 37 per cent from 2015. The risk of a miscarriage of justice is an "unacceptably high price" to pay.

     


    10/10/2017 - PAKISTAN

    Asia Bibi's former lawyer, 'fighter for minorities', has died

    by Kamran Chaudhry

    Choudry Naeem Shakir was 73 and had been ill for some time. He is one of the most illustrious socialist exponents in his country. Asia Bibi winner of the Sakharov Prize for Freedom of Thought 2017, but "she does not even know". Messages of condolence from Christians and Muslims.

     
     


    10/10/2017 - INDIA

    Uttar Pradesh’s nationalist government to build a ‘grand statue’ of Ram in Ayodhya


    The project forsees a 100 meter-high monument on the banks of the Saryu River. It will cost around 25,5 million euros. The Chief Minister wants to boost religious tourism to Hindu worship sites in the State. The city of Ayodhya is the scene of a long disputes between Hindu and Muslim believers.


    09/10/2017 - IRAQ - VATICAN

    Chaldean Synod: 'Solidarity and Pride' of Iraqi Christians, witnesses of peace, faith and unity


    Patriarch and bishops express "appreciation" for the role of the armed forces in the fight against terrorism. The  desire to celebrate  "the liberation of the entire territory". At a "critical and difficult time" a renewed appeal to dialogue between Baghdad and Erbil. Prayer for vocations.






    Editor's choices

    VATICAN
    Papal letter for the 100th anniversary of Maximum Illud on the activity of missionaries in the world



    Pope Francis plans an Extraordinary Missionary Month for October 2019 to awaken the commitment of the missio ad gentes and transform ordinary pastoral outreach along missionary lines. The goal is to move away from tiredness, formalism and self-preservation. From Benedict XV's missio ad gentes to Vatican II, from Pope John Paul II to Evangelical Gaudium, this is the Church’s “essential task”,


    CHINA - VATICAN
    Wang Zuoan: Pope Francis is sincere, but he has to submit to two conditions

    Li Yuan

    In an interview with Commercial Radio, the director of the State Administration of Religious Affairs reiterated the urgency of cutting relations with Taiwan and not interfere in China's domestic affairs, including religion. Fang Xinyao and Ma Yinglin, two bishops present at the party congress, heap praise on Xi Jinping's speech. Others warn against “fake pastors but real slaves”. An underground Catholic expresses his fears.


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