21 January 2018
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  • 18/01/2018 - EGYPT – LEBANON

    A conference was held on 16-17 January at al-Azhar. Many prominent figures from Lebanon took part, including the Maronite Patriarch Bechara Al-Rahi. The Arab world is divided between "complicit passivity" and "noisy but ineffective speeches". For a former Lebanese premier, coordinated actions are needed to ensure greater efficacy on behalf of Jerusalem’s "pluralistic identity " and "religious freedom". Card Al-Rahi called for joint prayers, Islamic-Christian interfaith solidarity in the Arab world, and support for the Palestinians.


    by Fady Noun

    18/01/2018 - PAKISTAN

    1800 Pakistani Imams issue a 'fatwa' against suicide attacks


    The Islamic directive is contained in the book "Pakistan's Message", published by the government of Islamabad. President of Pakistan: "Building a moderate Islamic society". The kamikaze attacks are "haram" (forbidden) and violate the principles of the Koran.


    17/01/2018 - EGYPT

    North Sinai, a young Copt killed: he had a cross tattooed on his wrist


    The killers promise to "kill more Copts". Bassem Herz Attalhah was killed under the eyes of his brother, who saved himself because his tattoo was hidden by his sleeve. Already in 2010 al Qaeda had promised to clean Sinai from Christians.


    16/01/2018 - PAKISTAN

    ‘I don’t want to be next’: children protest following Zainab’s rape and murder (Photos)

    by Shafique Khokhar

    The Cecil & Iris Chaudhry Foundation organised a rally in Lahore. Sexual violence against minors is a scourge in Pakistan. A series of proposals is presented to protect defenceless children.


    15/01/2018 - PAKISTAN

    Lahore, Child protection policies more important than countering terrorism

    by Kamran Chaudhry

    Activists demand policies and laws for the protection of minors. Disdain and protests for the rape and murder of seven year old Zainab. In the first six months of 2017, 1764 cases of child abuse. Of these, about 62% occurred in Punjab. In Lahore, the first child protection unit in all of South Asia. Prohibit child marriage and corporal punishment in schools.


    15/01/2018 - IRAQ

    Baghdad, twin bombing leaves 26 dead and 90 wounded. Msgr. Warduni: destabilizing acts


    Central sector of the capital targeted. Day labourers gather in the areas waiting for call up. Interior sources: Death toll destined to increase. Auxiliary of Baghdad: Tensions fuelled by delay in budget approval and the next parliamentary elections, scheduled for May.


    13/01/2018 - TURKEY – UNITED STATES

    Ankara warns against travelling to the US due to the risk of attacks and arbitrary arrests


    The Turkish government issued an advisory to its citizens to take further precautionary measures. The move appears to be in retaliation for a similar statement by the US. Turkey’s the statement warns that Turks may be subjected to arbitrary detentions based on testimonies of unrespected sources. It also points to the danger of terrorism.


    13/01/2018 - PHILIPPINES

    Marawi bishop returns to the cathedral devastated by violence


    "It was heart-breaking," said Mgr Dela Peña who led a prayer around the altar of the church desecrated by terrorists. Reconciliation between Christians and Muslims is fundamental. The Catholic Church is helping people affected by the conflict with an assistance programme.


    13/01/2018 - SAUDI ARABIA

    Women allowed in Jeddah motor show


    The women-only event is held for the first time in the Saudi kingdom. Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman’s attempts to modernise the kingdom continue.


    12/01/2018 - PAKISTAN

    Pakistan mourns child raped, killed and thrown into a rubbish dump


    Zainab was seven years old and lived near Lahore. The Government of Punjab is offering a reward of US$ 90,000 to anyone who can help police find the murderer. Yesterday two more children were killed in the province, triggering two parallel investigations. The entertainment industry and the sports world have denounced the "violated rights of minors".


    12/01/2018 - IRAN - EU - USA

    Europe against Trump, try to save the Iranian nuclear deal


    London, Paris and Berlin are working to preserve an pact essential for international security. The JCPO must be maintained, while imposing new "red lines" on the Islamic Republic. But the unpredictability of the US president weighs on efforts. White House decision on the extension of the terms expected today.


    11/01/2018 - PAKISTAN

    For Pakistani activists, a “rape culture” places no value in children

    by Shafique Khokhar

    The country mourns Zainab, 7, from near Lahore. Her body, left in a rubbish dump, shows signs of torture. The "culture of rape" feeds on a cultural background defined by the division between men and women, misogyny, and abuses in madrassas.


    11/01/2018 - PAKISTAN

    Pakistani Church condemns the 'brutal' rape and murder of a 7-year-old girl

    by Kamran Chaudhry

    Zainab lived in Kasur, near Lahore. Her small body found in a landfill. She was raped several times and strangled to death. Protests against police inaction. An awareness campaign to eradicate "the cancer of pedophilia".


    11/01/2018 - IRAN

    Tehran changes law on drug trafficking, sparing thousands sentenced to death


    Up to 5 thousand people on death row. Head of the judiciary: all convictions will be reviewed. Human rights activists: If applied appropriately, it represents a "significant step" in reducing the death penalty. Since 1998, the Islamic Republic has executed almost 10 thousand people for drugs.


    09/01/2018 - PAKISTAN

    Salman Taseer’s heirs commemorated him in private, oppose extremism

    by Shafique Khokhar

    Human Rights Focus Pakistan held a ceremony in Faisalabad. Christians and Muslims of good will work across the country against discrimination and the persecution of minorities. Taseer’s struggle continues with others bearing the torch.


    09/01/2018 - SAUDI ARABIA

    Soccer stadiums to open to women in historic first


    Stadiums will open their doors to women in the capital on 12 January, for a match between Al-Ahli and Al-Batin. Following Riyadh, on  January 13 in Jeddah and January 18 in Dammam. A massive presence of women is expected at the events. Saudi Princess: work is underway to welcome entire families. Despite the timid reforms, the gender gap remains wide.


    05/01/2018 - AFGHANISTAN

    Islamic State on its way to Kabul



    05/01/2018 - BANGLADESH

    Bangladesh’s U-15 women’s football team wins on the field and against radical Islamism

    by Sumon Corraya

    Prime Minister Hasina greeted the national team that won every match without conceding a single goal. In predominantly Muslim Bangladesh, Muslim clerics strongly discourage girls and women from taking part in any sport.


    05/01/2018 - IRAQ

    Chaldean patriarch: Christmas clebrations in Mosul and Iraq, hope for Christians and Muslims


    Millions of people took to the streets in Baghdad, Mosul, Najaf, Basra to celebrate. For the first time in three and a half years a Mass celebrated in the former Isis stronghold. The church cleaned up and arranged by young Muslims. The five challenges for the future of Iraq. And the Iraqi Churches’ duty to safeguard unity to protect the future of the community.


    05/01/2018 - PAKISTAN

    Activist detained in Lahore to prevent her from commemorating Salman Taseer

    by Kamran Chaudhry

    Saeeda Diep is the executive director of the Institute for Peace and Secular Studies. Each year, she organises a prayer vigil in memory of the late governor of Punjab, who was killed for defending Asia Bibi and challenging the country’s blasphemy laws. “There was no statement from the bishops,” priest says.


    04/01/2018 - BANGLADESH – MYANMAR

    Data collection begins next week for Rohingya repatriation to Myanmar


    Bangladeshi authorities pledge that return for the first 100,000 refugees will be voluntary. The operation is set to start on 22 January. But the Myanmar government has not received any completed form yet.


    04/01/2018 - IRAN

    Tehran: Pasdaran declare the 'end of sedition’, but tensions remain


    Gen. Ali Jafari applauds the "security preparedness and people's vigilance" that led to the defeat of enemies. And he accuses monarchists, anti-revolutionaries and "enemy" forces outside Iran. But in some cities, outbreaks of tension remain. Trump continues to blow on the fire of the uprising and promises support "at the right time".


    03/01/2018 - PAKISTAN

    Blasphemy charges against acquitted bloggers are a political tool for partisan interests

    by Shafique Khokhar

    Last year Muslim radicals instigated a trial for blasphemy on social media. For the government, using false cases is a “dangerous game”. Some changes to the Penal Code are proposed.


    03/01/2018 - IRAN

    Tens of thousands of Iranians take to streets to defend government. More victims and arrests


    Huge turnout for marches against the USA and in support of the leadership. The death toll rises to 23 dead and 450 arrests. Khamenei: External "enemies" who want to foment chaos and target institutions. Zarif: Security and stability depend on the Iranians, free to "protest and vote". Poverty and unemployment are the fundamental reasons for the demonstrations. 


    02/01/2018 - EGYPT

    A bloody New Year in Egypt as two Coptic brothers killed


    An armed man opened fire at a Christian-run liquor store in Giza, killing two people. ISIS claimed responsibility for the attack on the church of Mar Mina in Helwan. Solidarity between Christians and Muslims against terrorism is growing. Fr. Rafic: The attacks are an "intimidating message" to the government and president for their tolerance towards Christians.


    02/01/2018 - PAKISTAN

    Activists applaud acquittal of Lahore intellectuals

    by Kamran Chaudhry

    The families of former suspects consider the possibility of asking for compensation. The hate campaign "orchestrated by people involved in abductions". Donald Trump's tweet against financing terrorism. The blasphemy laws "continue to be abused".


    02/01/2018 - PAKISTAN

    Islamabad, abducted intellectuals acquitted of blasphemy


    Bloggers and activists have all fled abroad. Public pressure favours their acquittal. One activist spoke of torture. Demands for an investigation against those who spread "false propaganda".


    02/01/2018 - IRAN

    Demonstrations continue in many Iranian cities. Policeman killed


    Demonstrations are in their fifth day. Underpinned by economic difficulties, youth unemployment, rising prices, but also criticism of the government and corruption of the regime. Rouhani: Yes to criticism, no to violence. Revolutionary Guards say the protests are supported from abroad. Reactions in the US, Israel, Saudi Arabia. Russia: An internal affair.


    31/12/2017 - VATICAN

    Pope expresses closeness to Egypt’s Orthodox Copts, offers a 'special greeting' to families


    During the Angelus, Pope Francis prayed for the victims of the Cairo attacks and the conversion of “all violent hearts”. Speaking about the Holy Family, he said that "the child belongs to God" and the parents "are the guardians of his life, not the owners". Even for the families that have been “wounded” or marked by “failure”, the “path of resurrection” is open.  The pontiff calls on people to thank God for the past year and every good thing they may have received.


    30/12/2017 - EGYPT

    Copts mourn, bury their dead after the attack in Mar Mina

    by Loula Lahham

    Eight Copts were shot to death at the entrance of the church during an attack claimed by the Islamic State group. Two police officers also died. Lives were saved thanks to the quick response by Muslim worshippers to an appeal by the imam of the neighbouring mosque to rescue 'Coptic brothers’. Since 2011, the Copts have been targeted by Islamists.


    29/12/2017 - SAUDI ARABIA

    Chess grandmaster boycotts Riyadh, not for politics but to feel free


    Her decision will cost her two titles and the chance to earn US4 160,000. Other high-level players have also refused to participate.






    Editor's choices

    EGYPT – LEBANON
    Muslims and Christians meet in Cairo for Jerusalem, 'the cause of causes'

    Fady Noun

    A conference was held on 16-17 January at al-Azhar. Many prominent figures from Lebanon took part, including the Maronite Patriarch Bechara Al-Rahi. The Arab world is divided between "complicit passivity" and "noisy but ineffective speeches". For a former Lebanese premier, coordinated actions are needed to ensure greater efficacy on behalf of Jerusalem’s "pluralistic identity " and "religious freedom". Card Al-Rahi called for joint prayers, Islamic-Christian interfaith solidarity in the Arab world, and support for the Palestinians.


    CHINA
    Yunnan: Christians accused of membership in an apocalyptic sect get up to 13 years in prison



    The Three Grades of Servants cult, an underground pseudo-Protestant sect founded in Henan, is especially strong in the countryside. Those convicted claim they are just ordinary Christians and know nothing about the sect. Defense lawyers have been threatened with loss of their license to practice.


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