07/27/2015TURKEY – SYRIA – IRAQ Ankara changing strategy vis-à-vis the Islamic state and the Kurds at NATO meeting by Sami Osman Tomorrow’ "emergency meeting" is set for Ankara with all NATO representatives. Yesterday Turkish jets carried out air strikes against PKK bases north of Dohuk and Arbil in Iraqi Kurdistan. Turkey wants to ensure that no autonomous Kurdish region emerges in Syria. Clashes occur in Istanbul and Diyarbakir. Ankara (AsiaNews) – NATO is set to convene tomorrow after Turkey called for an “emergency meeting,” following a violent escalation pitting for the first time Turkish forces against the Islamic state (IS) group as well as its old nemesis, the Kurdistan...
07/27/2015ISRAEL – PALESTINE After yesterday's clashes in Jerusalem, Palestinian dies today trying to escape arrest The young man, 18, was wounded in the leg, and fell as he tried to leap from one roof to another. Yesterday's clashes were caused by an attempt by ultra-Orthodox Jews to commemorate Tisha B'av, a day of remembrance for the destruction of both the First and Second Temples in Jerusalem, on the Esplanade of the Mosques, where, according to Jewish tradition the temples once stood.
07/26/2015 VATICAN-SYRIA Pope: urgent appeal for the release of Fr. Dall'Oglio, kidnapped two years ago in Syria At the Angelus, Pope Francis recalls the Jesuit priest, the two Orthodox bishops and all those who have been kidnapped, calling on all present to join him in the recitation of a Hail Mary. Joined by the presence of two young people, he opens registration for WYD in Krakow and registers himself as teh first pilgrim online with a tablet. Commenting on today's Gospel: "Who among us does not have his" five loaves and two fish "? If we are willing to put them in the hands of the Lord, they will be a bit more love in the world to go around".
07/25/2015TURKEY Ankara unleashes air raids and arrests against Islamic jihadists and Kurdish militants by Sami Osman Jihadist bases in Syria and PKK locations in northern Iraq targeted. 320 people arrested in 22 provinces of Turkey. They include suspected Islamic state militants and Kurdish militants. Demonstration in Istanbul dispersed with tear gas and rubber bullets. Mounting tensions ahead of tomorrow's a big demonsration "for peace" invoked by the Kurds.
07/24/2015CHINA Wenzhou: 90-year-old bishop and 26 priests protest against cross demolitions by Joseph Yuan This is not the first time that the old bishop and his priests speak out against the demolition campaign against crosses and churches, which has touched more than 400 buildings. During the protest, police tried to disperse the group, which sought to submit a petition. The faithful recite a Crown of the Divine Mercy is in support of the Chinese Church. In Lishui, churches are expected to be torn down by 31 August.
07/24/2015UNITED ARAB EMIRATES – ISLAM A new anti-discrimination law is a step forward in terms of religious freedom by Samir Khalil Samir A well-known Islam expert looks at a new law adopted by the United Arab Emirates that outlaws “all forms of discrimination based on religion, caste, creed, doctrine, race, colour or ethnic origin”. Equality is foreign to Islam. The new law punishes anyone who promotes “religious hate” or funds organisations that spread hatred. In the highly educated UAE, "Christians are treated well."
07/24/2015PAKISTAN Lahore: ‘Youhanabad Project,’ a summer camp for children victimised by church attacks by Shafique Khokhar Promoted by Christian associations, the initiative is aimed at alleviating the psychological suffering of children. It began on 12 June and will end on 14 August with a grand finale. Activities include group theatre, music, outings, educational visits, meetings and discussions. For Michelle Chaudhry, this will give children back their confidence and hope.
07/23/2015ISRAEL - IRAN After nuclear deal, Israel ought to become Iran’s best ally by Uri Avnery This is the thesis of Uri Avnery, leader of Gush Shalom, a major supporter of peace between Israelis and Palestinians. According to the great statesman and peace activist, Iran only wants to be a regional power in the Islamic world, able to trade with everyone, inspired by a sophisticated experience that goes back thousands of years. Iran, which faces backward-looking Gulf monarchies and emirates, could be a great ally against Daesh. Meanwhile in Israel Netanyahu, politicians and the media continue to blunder.
07/23/2015PAKISTAN For Muslims and Christians, Asia Bibi’s misfortune can be an opportunity to reform the blasphemy laws by Shafique Khokhar Iftikhar Ahmad, coordinator of South Asia Partnership Pakistan, calls for a "serious discussion" to achieve change. Religious groups are "more powerful" than the state, and laws are being used against the innocent. For Pakistani priest, the justices’ decision sends a "positive signal". Bibi should be released and get compensation for the “psychological harm” she received, Christian activist said.
07/22/2015UAE UAE: a law against religious discrimination A presidential decree criminalises any act that stirs religious hatred and also prohibits discrimination "on the basis of religion, caste, creed, doctrine, race, colour or ethnic origin". Receiving financial support for such activities is also punishable under the new law.
07/22/2015INDONESIA – ISLAM Possible attacks on churches trigger high security alert in Indonesia by Mathias Hariyadi This follows the burning of two Protestant churches in Central Java, ostensibly sparked by an arson attack against a mosque in Papua during celebrations marking the end of Ramadan. Mainstream and social media have failed to report that a 15-year-old Christian boy was killed by police in the latter incident. The government urges people not to give in to provocations.