03/30/2015VIETNAM Kontum, communist authorities threaten to tear down 22 chapels. Appeal from Bishop by Paul N. Hung The leadership of Djak Tô district want to demolish dozens of private premises used for prayers and functions. The area lacks churches and in the past, people would travel up to 100 km to attend mass. Faithful turn to the bishop, who responds with a letter. While calling for calm, the prelate recalls the right to religious freedom recognized by the government. Hanoi (AsiaNews) - The communist authorities of Djak Tô district - Diocese of Kontum, in the province of the same name located in the Central Highlands of Vietnam – are threatening to tear down 22 Catholic chapels and places of prayer, because...
03/30/2015INDIA Kashmir, Christian leader arrested for "fomenting sectarian clashes" by Nirmala Carvalho The authorities have detained Rev. Paul Augustine, local coordinator for Global Council of Indian Christians (GCIC). The Christian pastor was attending a Sunday service. Sajan George, president of the association: "The law of the majority prevails. Where the will of the greatest number enforces that the beliefs and practices of the minority remain threatened "
03/29/2015VATICAN Pope: Holy Week, God’s way is humility, it is Jesus’ way, and “we will take this path” During Palm Sunday Mass, which begins Holy Week, Pope Francis cited the example of people “who, in silence and hiddenness, sacrifice themselves daily to serve others: a sick relative, an elderly person living alone, a disabled person . . .” He also cited today’s martyrs, persecuted because of their faith, a “cloud of witnesses”. Palm Sunday also marks the celebration of the 30th World Youth Day. Deacons of the Pontifical Institute for Foreign Missions provided the service to the pope and the altar. The pope called on young people to come in pilgrimage to Krakow in 2016. He also mentioned the victims of the plane crash in the French Alps.
03/28/2015EGYPT – MIDDLE EAST Arab military force to fight Shias and (perhaps) the Islamic state Arab League members agree to a military coalition to address conflicts in the Arab world. The "historic" deal shelves past Western-led coalitions. The anti-Islamist fight and even the Israeli-Palestinian problem are overshadowed by the main goal: containing Iranian influence. However, the confessional divide is giving the Islamic State group greater leeway and is undermining the social and political demands of the Arab Spring.
03/28/2015VIETNAM Vinh: government uses violence to drive out Catholics from their parish The authorities targeted the small, remote parish of Dông Yên. Most Catholics have left, but about 150 families have decided to stay. Police carried out a raid, injuring several parishioners, a few days ago. The bishop of Vinh expressed his solidarity with the victims.
03/27/2015YEMEN-MIDDLE EAST Saudis continue raids against Shiite rebels. A religious war, but also a question of power by Paul Dakiki The military operation "Firmness Storm " has already caused 39 civilian deaths. Saudi Arabia (Sunni) along with Sudan, Turkey and Pakistan against Iranian influence in the Middle East. Objectives include: to ensure Bab-el-Mandel Strait; undermine the agreement on the Iranian nuclear question. Inter-Arabian military force launched to fight Islamic State terrorists.
03/27/2015UNITED NATIONS – MIDDLE EAST Patriarch of Baghdad addresses UN, calling for new laws against states or individuals who support terrorists by Louis Raphael I Sako* The Security Council is meeting in a French-sponsored session dedicated to Christians and persecuted minorities in the Middle East. Chaldean Patriarch Louis Sako hopes to see the international community provide its full support to Iraqi and Kurdish authorities. He also calls for strict laws against terrorism, as well as actions in favour education reform and exegeses of sacred texts that oppose extremism.
03/26/2015ISLAM IS a violent response to the emptiness young Muslims feel in the West Jihadists have focused their recruitment efforts among young people. In the past three months, IS has recruited some 400 minors. Alienated in and by their societies, many young Western Muslims seek to even the score. For PIME Islam expert, young people want an inclusive identity and references. Muslim scholar believes that the violent response stems from the Western world’s “emptiness”.
03/26/2015KYRGYZSTAN Ulema "excommunicate" Islamic State group in Kyrgyzstan Top Central Asian Muslim clerics meet in Bishkek to condemn IS violence and reaffirm Islam’s true teachings. “We know that destabilisation threatens Central Asia,” one of them said. IS has been banned in Kyrgyzstan and its activities outlawed. Local authorities also detained a group of Tajiks trying to join the Islamist group, including children.
03/26/2015INDIA West Bengal, death threats against a Catholic girls' school by Nirmala Carvalho The Sisters of the Child Mary have received letters in threatening to “burn the school and the local church” if they do not leave. The police step up security around the institute. Archbishop of Calcutta: "We do not know who is behind the threats, but we are not scared. The sisters will never leave their mission".
03/25/2015INDIA Mumbai bishop: the Annunciation for unborn children and the needy by Dominic Savio Fernandes* Today the Indian Church celebrates its Pro-life Day. For Mumbai’s auxiliary bishop, every human being has “the imprint of God" and therefore should "be respected and treated with dignity and love." The tendency to evaluate people based on their utility drives people to "eliminate" the elderly, disabled, sick and those in need.