12/20/2014IRAQ Chaldean Patriarch: on Christmas, Christian refugees should not feel "abandoned" or "forgotten" by Joseph Mahmoud Ahead of Christmas celebrations, Mar Sako issued a message to the Christian community that fled the Islamic state. Understandably, Christians are "concerned" about the loss of homes and jobs, but they should keep the "hope for a future of "peace and coexistence" alive. His Beatitude calls on the faithful to pray to keep courage alive and expressed gratitude for the help provided so far. Erbil
(AsiaNews) - Chaldean Patriarch Raphael I Mar Louis Sako issued a Christmas statement
addressed to Iraq's Christian, especially its refugees who abandoned their
homes following the advance of Islamic State fighters.
In it, the
12/19/2014IRAQ - SYRIA Mount Sinjar, the peshmerga break siege of Islamic State militias The Kurds' most important military victory against the Islamists since the beginning of the war. The fighters have opened a humanitarian corridor to allow the escape of 1,200 families trapped since summer. However Yazidi sources have not confirmed the end of the siege or the positioning of Peshmerga troops. December US airstrikes killed high-ranking military leaders of IS.
12/18/2014INDIA Radical Hindus' Christmas reconversions postponed, not cancelled The Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh (RSS) takes a step back to let parliament's winter session to end. It pledges however to reconvert 5,000 Christian and Muslim families "before the end of the year". Opposition call on the prime minister to speak on the matter, but the ruling party says no.
12/17/2014PAKISTAN In a country in shock over Peshawar massacre, Islamabad bishop calls for unity against terrorism by Jibran Khan Mgr Rufin Anthony led a prayer vigil in memory of the victims of the Taliban attack on a military-run school, which killed 132 students, many of them children, and nine teachers. Survivors are now speaking about their dramatic experience. Christian and Muslim religious leaders, politicians and civil society groups unanimously condemn the attack. Pakistani prime minister ends moratorium on the death penalty.
12/17/2014MIDDLE EAST - ISLAM Secularism, Sunni-Shia divide, and the Islamic state are wiping out Christians from the Middle East by Fady Noun Islam cannot contribute to peace if it does not resolve its internal conflicts and divisions between Sunnis and Shias. The barbarity of the Islamic state has imposed a "deadly" peace. The end of Eastern Christians is a growing possibility. The external threat of Islamic extremism is compounded by secularism and political divisions that are undermining the community from within.
12/17/2014INDIA Christmas in Mumbai, bringing Jesus to the lepers of Heaven's Gate About 300 people - including Hindus, Muslims and some Christians - will celebrate the birth of Christ at Swarga Dwar, Mumbai, an ashram founded by PIME. The days leading up to the celebration are special for its children who play cricket, football and other games. "The kids wait for this festival with joy. They like to prepare the tree and put the star on the crèche," the facility's head said.
12/17/2014INDIA Radical Hindus attack Christians singing Christmas carols by Nirmala Carvalho About 30 people assaulted the Pastor and the faithful of a Pentecostal community, including women and children, with sticks and clubs. The fundamentalists accuse the Christians of promising money to convert tribal people in the area. Police deny the allegations: "No forced conversion in the area, the Christians are innocent."
12/17/2014INDONESIA Central Java, Islamist threat: Scrap Christmas symbols and no celebrations by Mathias Hariyadi Dozens of Islamic extremists of the Sukaharjo District attacked three shops in Solo. The group has forced retailers not to allow employees to wear Christmas symbols or to promote celebrations. The Mayor of Banda Aceh issued a public announcement prohibiting Muslims to attend Christian events.
12/16/2014INDIA Catholic activist against handing education over to Hindu fundamentalists by Santosh Digal
AsiaNews interviews John Dayal, member of the National Integration Council who looks at the influence of radical Hindu Sangh Parivar groups on the educational policy of India's new Union government. "To demonize western and Islamic contribution to the evolution of the India we know today, is an exercise in futility, and very fraught with dangers."
12/16/2014IRAQ - VATICAN As 'Adopt a Christian from Mosul' continues, Mosul bishop notes that Jesus is born amid refugee containers by Amel Nona Persecuted by the Islamic state, refugees have lost everything: belongings, home, jobs, school, and their future. Yet, their faith and mission remain strong. For them, almost 900,000 euros have been raised and sent. Pope Francis sends a message of closeness. The campaign continues according to the Patriarch of Baghdad's proposal of fasting and moderation at Christmas and New Year, with the money saved offered to the Christians of Mosul.