» 04/15/2009, 00.00
Easter under heavy security for Catholics of Bangladesh
More than 300,000 faithful participated in Sunday Mass in the capital and in the five dioceses of the country. During the entire Triduum, the police monitored the churches 24 hours a day out of fear of attacks.
Dhaka (AsiaNews) - An Easter under heavy security for the Catholics of Bangladesh, a small minority representing only 1.1% of the 150 million inhabitants of the country, with an overwhelming Muslim majority. More than 300,000 faithful participated in Sunday Mass in Dhaka and in the five dioceses of the country, but the celebrations during the Triduum all took place under the supervision of the security forces, which watched the churches 24 hours a day.
Abu Sayed, a police official, explains to AsiaNews that "all over the country there is the same scenario, the people are worshiping in the temples, mosque and churches under police security," and that during the periods of religious celebrations there is extra security to prevent attacks, "but we are unable to guarantee the security of the people in everyday life."
Despite the fact that Easter is not one of the public holidays in the calendar of Bangladesh, and in spite of the atmosphere of tension in the country, participation in Holy Week was very high. Theotonius Gomes, the auxiliary bishop of the capital, says that this is a sign of the desire for concord and harmony shared by many people. "The resurrection reflects the message of unity and peace, in facing all the failure Christ is the only shining light of hope."
Kazi Nurul Islam, dean of the department of religious studies at the University of Dhaka, says that the climate of apprehension in the country can be overcome only through interreligious dialogue: "We need to help people to know the religions more, and that will begin to overcome the religious hatred and violence."
Angela Gomes, a Catholic and a leader of the association Bachte Shekha, which helps needy children, confesses that the faithful "are now living with the fear of attacks," but in spite of this they are not staying away from the celebrations, and are continuing to participate in charitable works. For her own part, she says that "the sacrifice of Christ always inspires me, it always reminds me to live for others and for Christ." Gomes, who was honored for her social efforts in 1999 with the Magsaysay Award, spent the holiday with the children of the Bachte Shekha, because "I always want the poor and destitute children to enjoy the joy of Easter in their life."
Easter in Pakistan: from full churches to prison missions
About one million Catholics live in the country, 1% of the population. For Holy Week, the bishops have asked the government for extraordinary security measures. The government has promised that next year, Good Friday will be an official holiday. Meanwhile, thousands of faithful are filling the churches of the main cities. In the prison of Faisalabad, 100 prisoners are celebrating Easter with a lunch organized by the priests.
Beijing on alert against revolts in Tibet and Xinjiang
Accusations of separatism against the Dalai Lama and the Uyghurs. Soldiers, policemen, security personnel on the increase to prevent any attempts at uprising. The foreign minister criticizes countries that welcome the Dalai Lama, seen as merely "a political leader." The Dalai Lama is asking only for autonomy in order to save the Tibetans from cultural genocide. An Uyghur academic asks for more help for the Muslim group, in the grip of unemployment.
"Unity in diversity": imams and Christian leaders condemn extremist violence
In a meeting yesterday in Dhaka, dozens of Islamic imams and Christian pastors and bishops reaffirmed dialogue as the only means for living together. The remarks of participants, in a country that has been the theater of many extremist attacks.
"Martyrs' Trilogy," memoirs of Bali attackers exalted as heroes
The intelligence services are on high alert for the publication of a book containing the writings of Amrozi, Ali Gufron, and Imam Samudra. This could encourage young Indonesians to jihad. New extremist leaders are emerging in the country, praising the holy war against the West and Christians.
Bali attackers: for Islam, are they heroes or criminals?
Conflicting opinions among Indonesian Muslims over the methods used by Amrozi and his companions to promote "holy war." Some consider them "pioneers in the struggle," while others call their act "disproportionate." Their execution has been set for early November; growing alarm over security in the country.
Pope Francis tells young people that “genuine love” is not a “soap opera”, but Christians’ real identity card
In his homily for the Jubilee of Teens, Pope Francis asked questions and gave answers to the 70,000 present. Stressing the great ideal of love as giving oneself “without being possessive”, he noted that freedom is “being able to choose the good”. He warned young people “who dare not dream,” telling them that “If you do not dream at your age, you are already ready for retirement”. He also received funds raised for the Ukraine, and appealed for the release of bishops and the priests held in Syria.
Odd alliance between the US and Iranian fundamentalists
Washington is still preventing the use of US dollars in transactions with Iranian banks, preventing business with the outside world in spite of the nuclear deal. This way, the US is helping Khamenei and the Revolutionary Guards, who want to torpedo the agreement in order to maintain their hold on power. Meanwhile, most Iranians hold down two or three jobs just to make ends meet. An unstable and bellicose Iran is a boon for arms sales. A report follows.
29/04/2016 NORTH KOREA- USA
26/04/2016 SYRIA - TURKEY
AsiaNews IS ALSO A MONTHLY!
AsiaNews monthly magazine (in Italian) is free.