05/23/2015SYRIA Nuncio in Damascus: no news about Fr Mourad, not even about who abducted him “The Archeparchy of Homs, the patriarch and the community of Mar Musa have activated all channels to make contact with the kidnappers, but without success so far,” said Mgr Zenari. Meanwhile, the Islamic State group claimed responsibility for yesterday’s suicide attack at a Shia mosque in al Qadeeh, in the eastern Saudi province of Qatif that caused at least 21 deaths. Rome (AsiaNews) – Nothing is known about the fate of Fr Jacques Mourad, a Catholic priest who was kidnapped two days ago by unknown armed men. A young man “who heard noises and went to see what was happening was also taken away, in a car, with the clergyman,” said Mgr Mario Zenari, apostolic nuncio to Syria.
“Who did it? Islamic...
05/23/2015TAJIKISTAN – CHINA Dushanbe and Beijing sign extradition deal with Uighurs in mind Beijing has signed a series of agreements with the countries of Central Asia to repatriate Uighur Muslims. In Chinese prisons, convicts are sentenced to severe penalties, including death. Kyrgyzstan and Kazakhstan have repatriated prisoners who had sought asylum on humanitarian grounds.
05/22/2015THAILAND - ASIA Beatings, rapes and abuse: the Rohingya in Thailand recount their journey of despair by Weena Kowitwanij A young 16 year old confirms to AsiaNews the violence irregular migrants are subjected to. Overcrowded boats, little food and no water, beatings and threats are their daily bread. A woman, pregnant and with a three year old daughter, chose the sea route after having experienced violence firsthand in Myanmar. May 29 summit in Bangkok to deal with the emergency.
05/22/2015NEPAL Amid crumbled temples, Nepal’s Hindu holy men are out of a job by Christopher Sharma Because of the earthquake, the mostly Indian pilgrims who crowded Nepal’s Hindu temples are now staying away. the collapse of hundreds of temples has also left hundreds of holy men unemployed. Beggars too are without patrons, forced to go to aid centres for help.
05/22/2015INDONESIA Indonesia to allow non-official religions on identity papers Under existing rules, people could choose only among six government recognised religions. According to the Home Affairs minister, people can now choose their own religion. Practical reasons are behind the administrative change, but for activists and pro-human rights groups, it is a step forward in terms of religious freedom.
05/21/2015BANGLADESH Islamic extremists claim the right to kill ten intellectuals and bloggers by Sumon Corraya Fundamentalist group ‘Al Qaeda Ansarullah Bangla’ has released a list of future victims, and sent a copy to each of them. Security has become an emergency in the country where three critics of Islam have already been hacked to death. “I don’t’ feel safe,” says Catholic blogger.
05/21/2015INDIA Maharashtra: beef ban "subjugates Christians, Muslims and Dalits" This was stated by an AsiaNews source , anonymous for security reasons. State farmers, tanners and other workers demanding the repeal of the law banning the sale and consumption of beef. The ban has affected about 10.5 million people who depend on this trade.
05/21/2015CHINA – VATICAN For Xi Jinping, religions must be "Chinese" and without "foreign influences" by Wang Zhicheng At a meeting of the United Front, the Chinese president reiterated the leadership role of the Communist Party in religious matters, warning against foreign forces. His targets include Xinjiang Muslims, Tibetan Buddhists and the Vatican. For a Chinese Catholic, doing so would distort the Catholic religion.
05/21/2015TIBET - CHINA Tibet, a father of four sets himself on fire in protest against Chinese rule Self-immolations climb to 140 since 2009, when this extreme form of protest against Beijing first began. Tenzin Gyatso, 35, was taken away by police in critical condition: it is unclear whether he's dead or alive. The central government launches raids and searches in the Tibet ahead of the Dalai Lama’s 80th birthday.
05/20/2015SRI LANKA For the first time, Sri Lanka Tamils can remember civil war victims by Melani Manel Perera This year, the government did not stop ceremonies in the country’s northern and eastern provinces on Remembrance Day, which marks the end of the war against the Tamil Tigers. In Mullivaikkal, an interfaith gathering provided a venue for "consolation and comfort", although "political solution to the Tamil problem" is still needed.
05/20/2015TAJIKISTAN Bogus permits sold to allow Muslims to grow a beard or wear a veil Tajikistan has been forcing Muslim men to shave their beards to counter Islamic extremism. Prosecutors are investigating the sale of bogus permits, something denied by the committee in charge of such documents. Top paramilitary official has been arrested on his way to Syria to fight with the Islamic State group.
05/20/2015VATICAN Pope: pray for the Catholics of China and for persecuted Christians "Religious freedom is a human right". In Italy the Pentecost Vigil will be recall our "many brothers and sisters exiled or killed simply because they are Christians." On May 24 the prayer to Our Lady of Sheshan. Chinese Catholics are "credible witnesses" of merciful love and live "spiritually united to the rock of Peter on which the Church is built." The family’s "natural vocation to educate", must not be replaced by "experts" and “intellectual critics".
05/20/2015CARITAS - THAILAND Caritas Thailand, a home for 120 thousand Burmese refugees Reception centers for the ethnic Karen refugees in nine refugee camps on the western border of the country. Caritas activities include medical care in villages, and aid to small landowners. An aid worker: "We do not just give material aid. We have to meet people's lives. "