30 April 2017
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  • 29/04/2017 - INDONESIA

    Citizens want to express their admiration. Each day thousands go to the town hall. The area in front of the palace flooded with signposts and floral decorations. Radical Islamist group's initiatives against the Christian governor continue. On 9 May the verdict of the blasphemy trial. Ahok: "Disliked and hated because of my faith and my ideas."


    by Mathias Hariyadi

    29/04/2017 - EGYPT - VATICAN - ISLAM

    Pope in Egypt: Enthusiasm and admiration online and in press

    by Loula Lahham

    Four significant moments marked the first day of Francis in Egypt. Admiration and appreciation for the courage shown by the pontiff: "Thank you for having risked your security for us." And some would like an Egyptian capital, as it is today, "clean, uncrowded and of a particular beauty. Reminiscent of the past."


    28/04/2017 - EGYPT - VATICAN

    Pope in Egypt: the ecumenism of blood unites Copts and Catholics


    Francis and Patriarch Tawadros II want to move on the path of full unity. They prayed in the church attacked in December. “[J]ust as the heavenly Jerusalem is one, so too is our martyrology; your sufferings are also our sufferings.”


    28/04/2017 - EGYPT – VATICAN

    Pope in Egypt: Egypt called to condemn violence and poverty in the Middle East


    In his address to Egyptian authorities, Francis stressed Egypt’s role and responsibility in the future of the region. "In the fragile and complex situation of today’s world, which I have described as ‘a world war being fought piecemeal’, it needs to be clearly stated that no civilized society can be built without repudiating every ideology of evil, violence and extremism that presumes to suppress others and to annihilate diversity by manipulating and profaning the Sacred Name of God.”


    28/04/2017 - EGYPT – ISLAM

    Al-Azhar conference in Cairo tries to decouple Islam and violence

    by Fady Noun

    Egyptian president al-Sisi forcefully backed the meeting to fight the ideology of the Islamic state. Coptic Orthodox Bishop of Tanta says that terrorism has to be fought with peace. Violence binds fundamentalism and relativism. Qur'anic exegesis remains a problem.


    28/04/2017 - EGYPT - VATICAN

    Pope in Egypt: The future depends on the encounter of religions and cultures


    Francis in Cairo intervenes at the Peace Conference organized by Al-Ahram. Never commit violence in the name of God. "Without giving in to forms of facile syncretism,  our task is that of praying for one another, imploring from God the gift of peace, encountering one another, engaging in dialogue and promoting harmony in the spirit of cooperation and friendship."


    28/04/2017 - ISLAM – VATICAN – EGYPT

    A Muslim writes to the pope: Dear Pope Francis . . .

    by Kamel Abderrahmani

    He admires the charity shown by the pontiff towards Syrian Muslim refugees, and his push in favour of love and against hatred. Islamic scholars are not like this, he says, they do not denounce Daesh’s hatred and do nothing for Christians. He calls on the pontiff to press President to Sisi and Al Azhar to reform Islam. Without this Al Azhar risks being the academy of world fundamentalism. Here is the letter from our friend and collaborator Kamel Abderrahmani.


    28/04/2017 - EGYPT - VATICAN - ISLAM

    Egypt is in festive mode (and on full alert) ready to welcome Pope Francis

    by Loula Lahham

    The President of the Republic al-Sisi personally supervising the security apparatus. Cairo wants to show itself as a tolerant, fraternal and welcoming country. Today, the intervention at al-Azhar peace conference. Over 35,000 people (accredited) for tomorrow's Mass at the aeronautics academy. More extremist threats against Christians in Minya.


    27/04/2017 - EGYPT – VATICAN

    For Indian Jesuit, the pope’s visit of peace in Egypt will make history


    Fr Bimal Kerketta has lived in Egypt for 14 years. Pope Francis is a "man of peace. He has resisted terror and extremism [. . .] with great courage and wisdom.” Egyptians love him because despite threats and the tragic attacks against the two Coptic churches, he has not postponed his visit.


    27/04/2017 - TIBET – CHINA

    Tibet remembers Panchen Lama, held by Beijing for 22 years


    Gedhun Choekyi was six years old when he was kidnapped. Since then, he has been held incommunicado. This week Tibetans marked his 28th birthday. Beijing seeks to impose itself on the future of Tibetan Buddhism, but Tibetans demand the lama’s release.


    27/04/2017 - CHINA – VATICAN

    Police raid at the underground Catholic Mass in Heilongjiang


    Acting together, the Religious Affairs Bureau, Public Security and the United Front carried out the operation. Seized before Easter, the bishop of Wenzhou is back home. Bishop Guo Xijin of Mindong is still in police custody. The confrontation with the Vatican increases.


    27/04/2017 - GERMANY - SYRIA - ISLAM

    The Sword and Kalashnikov do not lead to God, says former Isis jihadist, convert to Christianity

    by Pierre Balanian

    Hassan Abu Hamza wanted to be called Paul, in memory of the saint who, like him, is of Syrian origin. He intends to retrace his footsteps of tolerance after being a fierce persecutor. Online there are those who accuse him of having betrayed Islam. Others think it is a "Daesh attempt to infiltrate" fighters in Europe.


    26/04/2017 - LEBANON – EGYPT – VATICAN

    Francis in Egypt to strengthen Benedict XVI's "healthy secularism" in order to fight extremism

    by Fady Noun

    A recent conference in al-Azhar renewed the bases of the traditional relationship between the material and spiritual domains in Islam. Clearer bases are needed in the dialogue between Muslims and Christians. Benedict XVI’s teachings are important to understand the relationship between religion and politics and the difference between Christianity and the West.


    26/04/2017 - NEPAL

    After Kathmandu’s Assumption cathedral hit by arson attack, Vicariate holds prayer for peace

    by Christopher Sharma

    On 18 April, unknown arsonists caused a fire at the pastor’s residence. Investigations have not led to any arrests. In 2009 three people died in another attack. This “won’t discourage us. We shall continue with our duties,” said parish priest.


    26/04/2017 - INDIA

    Madhya Pradesh: After eight years, bishop absolved from charge of forced conversion

    by Nirmala Carvalho

    Bishop Mathew Vaniakizhakkel is the emeritus bishop of Satna. Along with five Catholics, in 2009 he was denounced for conversion, conspiracy and disturbance of peace among religions. The accuser then repented and asked for forgiveness. Christian Leader: "Anti-conversion law is a tool to harassing Christians." 


    26/04/2017 - EGYPT - VATICAN - ISLAM

    Emeritus of Giza: beyond violence, the Pope comes to Egypt as a messenger of dialogue and encounter

    by Loula Lahham

    In an exclusive interview with AsiaNews Msgr. Antonios Aziz Mina describes a country, and a Christian community, still wounded by recent attacks, but ready to welcome the pontiff. The pain of Muslims for attacks on churches. Egypt capable of breaking the backward-looking bonds of the Islamic State. In the East, there are economic interests that revolve around oil.


    25/04/2017 - IRAQ

    Despite the danger of attacks, millions of Shia pilgrims visit the Imām Mūsā shrine


    Masses of Shias commemorate the martyrdom of the seventh imam at the Al-Kādhimiya shrine, bringing the Iraqi capital to a standstill. Despite fears, no attacks or serious accidents have taken place. For the Chaldean Patriarch, the government has ensured “safe celebrations". The attempt to "national reconciliation" continues.


    25/04/2017 - VATICAN-EGYPT

    Pope Francis in a video message: Dear people of Egypt ...

    by Papa Francesco

    To mark his upcoming visit to the country (28-29 April), Pope Francis today sent a video message to the Egyptian people. " Our world, torn by blind violence, which has also afflicted the heart of your dear land – needs peace, love and mercy; it needs workers for peace. "


    25/04/2017 - VATICAN - EGYPT

    Pope Francis in Egypt, without an armored car. Program of visit


    Plans for Pope to tour among faithful in a golf car. The theme of the visit is "The Pope of Peace in Egypt of Peace". After visiting Al-Sisi and the great imam of Al Azhar, Francis will participate in the International Peace Conference organized by Al Tayyeb. A prayer for the martyrs of terrorism near the Coptic cathedral, where there was an attack in December. A meeting with the children of Cairo and with young pilgrims.


    25/04/2017 - ISLAM

    The roots of violent Islamism are in Islam, the words of a Muslim

    by Kamel Abderrahmani

    After every terrorist attack, there is the tendency to say, "This is not Islam." Yet those criminal acts are justified and inspired by texts that are the reference point for Muslims and Islamic institutions worldwide. There is an urgent need to reform Islam from within, by the Muslims themselves. Coexistence with other religions is the way to remove Islam from sclerosis and stagnation.


    25/04/2017 - INDIA

    Cuttack-Bhubaneshwar: 3,000 faithful attend First Communion of 34 children (Photo)

    by Purushottam Nayak

    The ceremony took place on April 23, Sunday of Divine Mercy. The catechism lasted five months during which the children learned the importance of the sacrament of the Eucharist. Sister catechist: "We planted seeds of faith and provided them with tools to help it grow."


    24/04/2017 - CHINA

    Political indoctrination in Chinese universities

    by Zi Yang

    In China, ideological indoctrination is expanding in universities, despites signs of growing student rejection, this according to Zi Yang, an independent researcher and consultant on China affairs. He holds an M.A. from Georgetown University and a B.A. from George Mason University. Courtesy of the Jamestown Foundation.


    24/04/2017 - INDIA

    Uttar Pradesh: bishops call on new chief minister to defend persecuted Christians

    by Nirmala Carvalho

    The meeting with Yogi Adityanath took place on 21 April. Local Church leaders extended their best wishes to him in his new capacity. They also asked him to guarantee the security and protection of the Christian minority and its places of worship.


    24/04/2017 - INDONESIA

    Hatred against non-Muslims grows as radical movements expand

    by Mathias Hariyadi

    Some 59 per cent Indonesians are intolerant towards minorities. Religious radicalism is on the rise. At least 11.5 million people are "spiritually" ready to change Indonesian society. The last election was poisoned by religious conflict. For Sinta Nuriyah Wahid, " radical groups have their own political agenda,” namely “the Islamic State of Indonesia”. Only 11 per cent of Indonesians are strongly opposed to an Islamic nation.


    24/04/2017 - LEBANON - SYRIA

    Beirut Bishop Kourie says the two bishops abducted in Syria in 2013 are still alive

    by Fady Noun

    The Lebanese Syriac Orthodox bishop made the claim during the celebrations for the 47th anniversary of Virgin's apparitions. The portraits of the two bishops were displayed inside the church and taken in procession. The prelate appealed to the Lebanese government to make the case a "national cause".


    24/04/2017 - BANGLADESH - SAUDI ARABIA

    Riyadh donates 10.8 billion euros to 560 mosques in Bangladesh: Muslims split

    by Sumon Corraya

    The agreement was signed between Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina and the Saudi king last year. The mosques will teach lessons to more than 150,000 children. They will have a daily capacity of more than 450,000 men and 30,000 women. "Imams must be controlled." "These mosques will not teach true Islam. People will learn extremism. "


    22/04/2017 - VATICAN

    Pope: The persecution of Christians comes from the devil's hatred


    Francis went to the basilica of St Bartholomew on the Tiber, which, after the Jubilee of 2000, was dedicated to the memory of the new martyrs of the 20th and 21st century. “The memory of these heroic, old and recent witnesses confirms us in the awareness that the Church is a Church of martyrs,” the pope said. “Refugee camps are concentration camps. They [refugees] are left there, because international agreements seem more important than human rights."


    22/04/2017 - VIETNAM – CHINA

    Catholics outraged by bad-mannered Chinese visitors in Nha Trang cathedral

    by Nguyen Hung

    The local Communist Party section told the parish to keep the church open to visitors. Parishioners are opposed to this because Chinese tourists are aggressive towards worshippers, cause degradation and undermine local cultural traditions. For Catholics, protecting the building’s sacredness is a duty.


    22/04/2017 - HOLY LAND

    The ancient tradition of tattoos in the Holy Land


    At first, the tattoo was a sign of oppression that was eventually claimed as a proof of faith. From the crusades to the present day, for pilgrims the tattoo is a permanent testament to their journey.


    22/04/2017 - VATICAN

    Vatican releases message on Buddha’s feast day (Vesakh), stresses shared path of nonviolence


    Religions must work together because religion is often used to justify violence. Christians and Buddhists recognise the need to heal evil in the heart where it originates. They must promote peace education and respect for the environment as well as reject "hate speech" in the media and rebuild "broken societies".






    Editor's choices

    EGYPT – VATICAN
    Pope in Egypt: Egypt called to condemn violence and poverty in the Middle East



    In his address to Egyptian authorities, Francis stressed Egypt’s role and responsibility in the future of the region. "In the fragile and complex situation of today’s world, which I have described as ‘a world war being fought piecemeal’, it needs to be clearly stated that no civilized society can be built without repudiating every ideology of evil, violence and extremism that presumes to suppress others and to annihilate diversity by manipulating and profaning the Sacred Name of God.”


    ISLAM – VATICAN – EGYPT
    A Muslim writes to the pope: Dear Pope Francis . . .

    Kamel Abderrahmani

    He admires the charity shown by the pontiff towards Syrian Muslim refugees, and his push in favour of love and against hatred. Islamic scholars are not like this, he says, they do not denounce Daesh’s hatred and do nothing for Christians. He calls on the pontiff to press President to Sisi and Al Azhar to reform Islam. Without this Al Azhar risks being the academy of world fundamentalism. Here is the letter from our friend and collaborator Kamel Abderrahmani.


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