21 February 2017
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  • 21/02/2017 - BANGLADESH

    The Commission for Dialogue and Ecumenism organized a workshop, attended by Catholics, Hindus and Muslims. "Politicians often work only for their own benefit." "Christians must create more interfaith seminars to reduce religious fanaticism in Bangladesh"


     


    by Sumon Corraya

    20/02/2017 - EGYPT - ISLAM

    Al Azhar under the influence of Daesh Islamism

    by Kamel Abderrahmani

    The official religious institutions and so-called Islamic universities are the cause of the immobility of the Muslim world. The programs taught and literature used at Al Azhar are the same that are applied on the ground by all armed terrorists. No comparison possible between Al Azhar and the Vatican. The Vatican has hosted Iraqi Muslims and Syrians fleeing the war. Al Azhar has never done anything for Christians and Yazidis. The persecution of Nasr Mohamed Abdellah, eager to modernize Islam. The comment of one Muslim student.


     


    20/02/2017 - LEBANON – EGYPT

    Cairo, freedom of religion and state secularism at Muslim-Christian conference in al-Azhar

    by Fady Noun

    At the initiative of the Grand Imam Ahmed el-Tayeb, the Sunni University will host an interfaith meeting on 27-28 February. Lay people and clergy, academic and scientific figures, Christian and Muslim leaders will be present. Lebanese President Aoun, the only Christian head of state of an Arab country, has been invited.


    18/02/2017 - PAKISTAN

    Pakistani police kill over 100 terrorists in raid following Sufi temple attack

    by Shafique Khokhar

    The suicide attack in Sindh killed more than 80 people gathered in prayer. The National Action Plan against Terrorism was approved, but lacks the political will to put it into practice. "We must eliminate the Islamic religious element in the Constitution".


    17/02/2017 - SAUDI ARABIA

    First woman to head Saudi stock exchange


    NCB Capital Co. CEO Sarah Al Suhaimi gets to run the Mideast’s largest bourse. For Saudi women, thanks to their foreign education, the financial sector provides greater space for their social and professional development.


    17/02/2017 - PAKISTAN

    Pakistan's Catholic Church strongly condemns Sufi temple attack

    by Kamran Chaudhry

    The suicide attack caused 75 deaths, including 20 children, and over 200 injured. Islamabad imposed a crackdown on terrorism and closes the border with Afghanistan. Catholics fear violence even against the churches. Tomorrow will a youth march in Karachi.

     


    17/02/2017 - YEMEN - GULF

    Yemen, battle for hegemony between Saudi Arabia and the UAE a source of death and destruction


    Fighting between rival factions supported by Saudi Arab and UAE intensifies in the province of Aden to the south of Taez. Allies against the Shiite Houthi rebels, are actually waging a bloody fight and civilians are paying the price. The desire for independence of the people, ready to fight against any invader.

     


    17/02/2017 - PAKISTAN

    Sindh, Islamic State militant blows himself up in a Sufi temple: 75 dead and 200 injured


    The attack took place in the temple of Lal Shahbaz Qalandar, in the city of Sehwan. 20 children among the dead The militant chose time when the place was crowded to attend a ritual dance.

     


    16/02/2017 - PAKISTAN

    Taliban attackers warn churches that they can be targets if they back the government

    by Kamran Chaudhry

    Jamaat-ul-Ahrar, a group linked to Tehreek-e-Taliban Pakistan, is responsible for the attack on the Punjab Assembly, whose death toll rose to 14 victims. Christian, Sikh, and Muslim places of worship are not Taliban targets as long as they keep their distance from the government.


    16/02/2017 - INDONESIA

    Elections in Jakarta: Election of governor goes to run off

    by Mathias Hariyadi

    In the first round the outgoing governor "Ahok", a Christian at the center of a story of a blasphemy case, won 43% of the votes. His rival Baswedan, a Muslim, just below the 40% threshold. Decisive 17% of the votes won by the eldest son of former President Yudhoyono. The vote took place without incident. Second round to be held on 19 April.

     


    15/02/2017 - SYRIA

    As fighting intensifies in Southern Syria, Jordan gets ready to intervene


    The city of Dara'a is the scene of fierce fighting between Syria’s regular army and armed rebels. An intervention by Jordan seems a possibility. Jihadis want to “liberate” the country. Meanwhile, discussions centre on a possible Sunni zone from Dara'a to Deir Ez Zor.


    15/02/2017 - PAKISTAN

    Commission for Justice and Peace condemns Lahore attack

    by Shafique Khokhar

    Top Commission officials issue a joint statement. The suicide attack killed 13 people, including two policemen. A prayer and candlelight vigil was held at the cathedral. The NCJP calls on the government to enforce the National Action Plan against terrorism and provide security forces with the right equipment.


    15/02/2017 - CHINA

    Eight die in Xinjiang knife attack.


    The three attackers killed by Chinese security forces. Five other people injured in the attack. Suspicion falls on Islamic Uighur separatists.

     


    15/02/2017 - TURKEY

    Ankara, continues purges: 600 activists and pro-Kurdish politicians arrested


    Several political activists arrested accused of alleged links to the PKK, which Ankara considers a terrorist group. Mayors of towns with a Kurdish majority relieved of their duties. HDP leaders: arrests aim to weaken the opposition ahead of the referendum on the presidential system.


    14/02/2017 - PAKISTAN

    Lahore attack death toll rises to 13. The archdiocese closes schools and cathedral

    by Kamran Chaudhry

    A suicide bomber blew himself up in front of the Punjab Assembly. The attack was claimed by the Jamat-ul-Ahrar, a faction of the Tehreek-e-Taliban Pakistan. It is the same extremist group which last year hit a gathering of Christians during the celebrations for Easter. Archbishop prays for the families of the victims and the wounded.

     


    13/02/2017 - INDONESIA

    Indonesian Catholics to take part in local elections amid tensions and threats

    by Mathias Hariyadi

    Local elections are set for Wednesday. Some associations call for a “choice based on the interest of [. . .] the nation,” and the defence of a pluralistic state.


    10/02/2017 - MYANMAR

    The "new" Myanmar is hostage to the military and ethnic and sectarian divisions

    by Francis Khoo Thwe

    In Kachin State, a Christian nurse is raped and murdered. China and Myanmar discuss security along the latter’s northern border. International media coverage focuses on the persecution of the country’s Muslim minority. Sources tell AsiaNews that violence against "various religions and ethnic groups" tends to be obscured by that against the Rohingya. Social and political factors are at play.


    10/02/2017 - SYRIA – ISLAM

    Head of a new Jihadi coalition says no to Astana talks, yes to a united Islamic Syria (Video)

    by Pierre Balanian

    For the first time since Hayy’at Tahrir Al Sham was founded a month ago, its leader Hashim al Shaikh issued a message. He calls for unity with other fundamentalist forces to build a Syria that maintains "its Islamic identity." For the moment, Hayy’at has been involved in eliminating all Islamists "traitors."


    10/02/2017 - PAKISTAN

    A cradle for abandoned children: the Edhi Foundation against any discrimination (Video)

    by Kamran Chaudhry

    The philanthropic foundation runs Pakistan’s largest network of ambulances, orphanages and drug rehab centres. In 2016, its ambulances carried more than 67,000 patients. the Foundation also transported 994 bodies, and buried 296 unclaimed dead people. Caritas calls on the government to support such initiatives.


    10/02/2017 - INDIA

    Ultranationalist chief: Everyone is Hindu in India, even Muslims

    by Nirmala Carvalho

    Mohan Bhagwat is the leader of the Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh. He spoke at a Hindu conference in Madhya Pradesh. "Muslims are also Hindus by nationality but Islamic in faith." "Some evil forces will exploit the poor, the sick and the ignorant, and will ensure that they act against the country."


    10/02/2017 - LEBANON

    Beirut, Adyan foundation launches a website dedicated to pluralism and interreligious dialogue

    by Fady Noun

    The goal is to ensure the inalienable right of citizenship to diversity, in Lebanon and in the Arab world. Called "taadudiya", the site is inspired by the idea that pluralism is a fundamental cornerstone of unity. Father Fadi Daou: Against those who want to raise walls we respond with openness and debate.

     


    09/02/2017 - PAKISTAN

    Missing activist who reappeared breaks the silence, calls for rule of law in Pakistan


    Ahmad Waqas Goraya went missing in early January only to reappear last week before fleeing to the Netherlands. Activists and international organisations blame his disappearance on the authorities. He now fears Islamic radicals even though he is abroad. Hundreds of liberal thinkers self-censor their online profile.


    07/02/2017 - PAKISTAN

    Pakistan soon to outlaw mob violence and forced conversions of minorities

    by Kamran Chaudhry

    Pakistan’s parliament passes law that punishes sectarianism, lynching and false accusations that lead to wrongful convictions. Now the bill awaits the president’s approval. Christian activist praises the effort to curb terrorism. Leader of an Islamist group defends the blasphemy law.


    07/02/2017 - INDONESIA

    Archbishop of Jakarta: vote against extremism and violence

    by Mathias Hariyadi

    Local elections are set for 15 February in Jakarta, the provinces and regencies in a country where tensions are rising due to campaigns and protests promoted by extremist Muslims. The capital’s Christian governor is one of their target. For Mgr Suharyo, the Church is nonpartisan, but it defends the fundamental values ​​of the state.


    07/02/2017 - MYANMAR

    Myanmar, Burmese Cardinal: the dawn of hope blurred by ethnic and sectarian violence

    by Card. Charles Maung Bo

    In a letter to the faithful, the Archbishop of Yangon reminds that the country needs care, not new wounds. The anti-Rohingya violence in Rakhine, the attacks against civilians in Kachin and Shan, the Muslim lawyer's murder are "red flags." The appeal to the government and to the international community to work together for peace.

     


    06/02/2017 - UNITED STATES - MIDDLE EAST

    Middle East migrants allowed back in US. The wrath of Trump


    The Washington Court of Appeals rejects appeal by the Department of Justice. Court ruling that blocked the entry ban decided by the White House remains valid. The President claims the courts "endanger" the country. But none of the attacks on US soil is the work of citizens from nations affected by the decree.

     


    06/02/2017 - KAZAKHSTAN - SYRIA

    Astana, the new round of talks on ceasefire in Syria


    Today's meeting was attended by Russian, Iranian and Turkish delegates, together with representatives of the United Nations. Jordanian diplomats present for the first time. The talks focused on the "control principle" of the truce in force since the end of December. The Syrian Democratic Forces prepare new phase in Raqqa offensive, jihadi stronghold in Syria.


    03/02/2017 - IRAQ

    For pastor in Amadiya, Trump’ order is an opportunity to make Iraq a plural and united country


    Fr Samir is directly involved in the refugee emergency. For him, the US president’s decree is an opportunity for Islam to rethink and renew itself. The order affected families "ready to go". The head of Iraq’s counterterrorism was prevented from leaving for the United States to meet his family. “No one wept” when Saudi Arabia closed its doors.


    02/02/2017 - JAPAN - UNITED STATES

    The movie ‘Silence’, apostasy and the joy of martyrdom

    by Bernardo Cervellera

    The movie is not an apology for apostasy. It has the courage to raise religious questions about God, suffering, his silence in an age of indifference. It reiterates the topicality of martyrdom, but lacks the Catholic joy shown by Japanese saints and all the martyrs of the Church. Japan is not a "swamp," but a land of concerns and conversions.


    01/02/2017 - BANGLADESH

    Tight controls on insults to the religious sentiment at Dhaka’s book fair

    by Sumon Corraya

    Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina opened the month-long Amar Ekushey Fair today. February is considered the "month of the language". The event is a venue for thousands new books. Plainclothes agent will monitor stalls to ensure respect for religions.






    Editor's choices

    VATICAN-CHINA-HONG KONG
    Card. Tong’s article on China-Holy See dialogue, arouses joy and dismay

    Bernardo Cervellera

    The Hong Kong bishop’s optimism over a change in the method of appointing bishops and the function of the Patriotic Association. But it is unclear whether it is real change or just nominal, in words. Underground bishops are patriotic and love their country, but the Party is suspicious of them. Freedom in episcopal appointments is “essential", but the bishops are not free to exercise their ministry. Patriotic bishops controlled in their visits with members of the universal Church. The "bugs" (hidden microphones) in a bishop’s office.

     


    HONG KONG-CHINA-VATICAN
    Card. Tong: The future of Sino-Vatican dialogue from an ecclesiological point of view

    Card. John Tong

    The Hong Kong Cardinal outlines the steps that hope to propel dialogue between China and the Holy See. Themes include the Pope's role in the appointment of bishops; A change of vision in the Patriotic Association; the possible integration of the underground bishops in the Episcopal Conference. A new article by card. John Tong, following a previous article published a few months ago on "Communion of the Church in China with the universal Church."


     


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