01 July 2016
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    30/06/2016 - PAKISTAN

    Many have slammed the decision. The Islamic school has trained terrorists operating at home and in Afghanistan and is slated to get funds otherwise earmarked for the province’s minorities. One of its former students is among those who assassinated former Prime Minister Benazir Bhutto. Muslim clerics defend the decision.


    by Kamran Chaudhry

    30/06/2016 - SRI LANKA

    Two years after enduring Buddhist violence, Muslims suffer but forgive

    by Melani Manel Perera

    Buddhist radicals looted and torched homes in three towns in south-western Sri Lanka. Survivors still live in fear, remembering the violence: a car dealer who lost everything, a grocer who lost his shop, a young man who lost his leg.


    30/06/2016 - LEBANON - SYRIA

    For Lebanese bishop, Al-Qaa is a symbol of coexistence, the terrorists shall not win


    Mgr Elias Rahal, the Greek -Melkite archbishop of Baalbek, visited the town that was attacked. Lebanon’s army has re-imposed a semblance of security. In this border town, Christians and Muslims live peacefully and fruitfully. We “shall never leave the town,” the prelate said.


    30/06/2016 - MALAYSIA

    For mufti of Pahang, all non-Muslims deserve death; for bishop, such a remark is dangerous

    by Joseph Masilamany

    The cleric applied the ‘kafir harbi’ label to politicians opposed to Sharia. For Mgr Paul Tan, if such words “are not rejected by the authorities, they pose a threat to national security”. Mufti of Perlis state regrets such a remark because not all non-Muslims are enemies.


    30/06/2016 - CHINA – VATICAN

    Mgr Ma Daqin, the Vatican and the Patriotic Association’s “crooked logic”

    by Gu Feng

    A priest in central China looks at the bishop of Shanghai’s volte-face, comparing him to John the Baptist who was jailed after he accused Herod. Because of their crooked logic, the Patriotic Association and the government seek to eliminate religion from the country. The Vatican is in danger of contradicting itself if it makes compromises with the Patriotic Association. Pope Benedict XVI described the latter as “incompatible” with Catholic doctrine in his Letter to Chinese Catholics, which Pope Francis has never disclaimed, but has instead reiterated.


    30/06/2016 - INDIA

    Hyderabad, held Isis group planning attacks during Ramadan


    The National Investigation Agency in India held 11 person, including 5 arrests. They are youth in their 20s and 30s and held regular jobs. They were in touch with the head of a group of Indian jihadists based out of Raqqa in Syria. They wanted to trigger communal riots between Muslim and Hindu communities.


    29/06/2016 - MALAYSIA – ISLAM

    Opposition and minorities slam government’s attempt to introduce Sharia law in Kelantan


    The bill would allow the stoning of adulterers and the chopping off the hand of thieves. For former Prime Minister Mahathir, the government is trying to win over Islamist party.  “This is not Islam! This is not fair!” For Malaysia’s minorities, the bill is “unconstitutional”; it tears “at the core of the Federal Constitution” and undermines “religious freedom”.


    28/06/2016 - BANGLADESH

    Catholics live in in fear in Bonpara after Sunil Gomes’s murder

    by Sumon Corraya

    The victim had his throat cut after Sunday Mass. Police are still groping in the dark whilst the murderers are still at large. Younger parish members patrol at night to ensure Catholics’ self-defence and security.


    28/06/2016 - LEBANON - SYRIA

    Lebanon, new attacks in the Christian town near the Syrian border, eight injured


    Three suicide bombers struck in the evening the center of al-Qaa; one of them blew himself up in front of the church, two others near the municipality. In the morning four bombers caused nine victims. Clashes between army and jihadists in the suburbs. Terrorists wanted to strike a symbol of coexistence between Christians and Muslims, priest says. Patriarch Rai appealed for restraint.

     


    27/06/2016 - RUSSIA

    Duma approves anti-terrorism measures that "threaten religious freedom"

    by Nina Achmatova

    Protestant leaders and human rights activists slam Yarovaya’s laws, a package of measures that, among other things, make it nearly impossible to carry out processions and limit "missionary activities".


    27/06/2016 - ARMENIA – VATICAN

    Francis’s visit and the mission entrusted to the Armenian people

    by Pierre Balanian

    The pope did not waver from calling evil by its name, recognising the right of the Armenian people to remember. However, remembrance can no longer be an end in itself; it must become the vocation of the Armenian people and Diaspora. Armenians must become ambassadors and a bridge between cultures they met after the genocide, working for peace and religious coexistence. A Diaspora Armenian writes.


    27/06/2016 - VIETNAM – VATICAN

    "I met the true faith" of Vietnamese Christians, Mgr Girelli said

    by Thanh Thuy

    Since January 2011, the non-resident papal representative has visited each of Vietnam’s 26 dioceses at least twice. The prelate highlighted the work of bishops, priests, religious and laity. He met with Communist authorities and paid attention to the poor and marginalised. He stressed the importance of seminars in the training of future priests.


    27/06/2016 - CHINA - VATICAN

    Mgr Ma Daqin’s volte-face, a cross to bear for the sake of Shanghai

    by p. Pietro dalla Cina

    The auxiliary bishop of Shanghai holds dear the welfare of his diocese and intends to carry alone the burden of his statements of four years ago. Fr Lombardi’s clarification on the role of the Holy See dispels any doubt: the Letter of Benedict XVI to the Chinese Church is still valid; thus the Chinese Patriotic Catholic Association's position is not accepted by the Vatican. A Chinese priest comments. Translation by AsiaNews.


    26/06/2016 - VATICAN - ARMENIA

    Pope in Armenia: religious freedom essential to the victory of peace


    At the conclusion of his visit Francis signed a joint declaration with Catholicos Karenin II. The "constant conflicts based on ethnicity, political and religious in the Middle East and other parts of the world." The willingness of the Catholic Church and the Armenian Apostolic Church to continue on the path towards full unity.

     


    25/06/2016 - BANGLADESH

    Dhaka, Buddhist monks help Muslims celebrate Ramadan "thanks to Mother Teresa"


    For the past six years monks from the Dharmarajika temple have donated food to the Muslim poor to enable them to interrupt the ritual fasting. Every day they distribute 500 boxes for the iftar, filled with typical foods. One monk: "Mother Teresa said that you meet God by serving man. We were inspired by this. "


    25/06/2016 - VATICAN - ARMENIA

    Pope in Armenia: Memory, faith, mercy, the foundation for rebuilding Church and society


    In the city of Gyumri, marked by the genocide and by the earthquake, Pope Francis offers the "three stable foundations" to rebuild the person, the population, society. The invitation to young people to consecrate their lives to merciful love for the Church and the world "this is something that is needed in these troubled times, which is also a time of mercy".

     


    24/06/2016 - ORTHODOXY

    Pan-Orthodox Synod continues its proceedings

    by NAT da Polis

    The recognition of the Catholic Church as a true Church will be discussed in the next two days. So far, the meeting has agreed on the Orthodox Church’s mission in the world, fasting, impediments to marriage, and Churches’ declarations of autonomy. New national bishops’ conferences will include bishops from various rites and nations.


    24/06/2016 - BANGLADESH

    “God has called me to this task,” says Caritas’s new director; for him it is “the vocation of my life”

    by Sumon Corraya

    Francis Atul Sarkar yesterday replaced Benedict Alo D'Rozario who led the Church’s social arm for 29 years. The new director wants to bring the Church’s help to as many people as possible. Caritas has 92 projects to its credit.


    24/06/2016 - ISRAEL-PALESTINE-HOLY LAND

    Fr. Pierbattista Pizzaballa Apostolic Administrator of the Latin Patriarchate of Jerusalem


    On the same day, the Holy See accepts the resignation of Fouad Twal, the Latin Patriarch, and appoints the former custodian of the Holy Land as apostolic administrator of the patriarchate. Facing new challenges, addressing the geopolitical and socio-religious changes taking place in the Middle East.

     


    24/06/2016 - MYANMAR - THAILAND

    Muslim minority living in fear, after 200 Buddhists attack mosque in Bago


    An angry mob destroyed part of the building and damaged the Islamic cemetery, forcing Muslim families to take refuge at a police station. Aung San Suu Kyi arrived in Thailand yesterday to discuss, among other things, the situation of Muslim Rohingya in refugee camps.


    23/06/2016 - PAKISTAN

    Christians and Muslims mourn Sufi singer killed by the Taliban for blasphemy

    by Kamran Chaudhry

    Amjad Sabri was killed yesterday with three gunshots in his car in Karachi. A Taliban group claimed responsibility for the murder. He had been sued for blasphemy because one of his songs mentioned Muhammad’s relatives. For Christian activist, “He had fans of all religions”.


    23/06/2016 - VATICAN – CHINA

    Pope is praying for Mgr Ma Daqin, the Vatican had no "role" in his statement


    Vatican Press Office Fr Federico Lombardi dispels all doubts and suspicions among Chinese Catholics with respect to Mgr Daqin’s “volte face” vis-à-vis the Chinese Patriotic Catholic Association.


    23/06/2016 - SRI LANKA

    Villagers in Paanama pray and demonstrate for their lands (photos)

    by Melani Manel Perera

    Paanama is a Buddhist village in south-eastern Sri Lanka. In 2011, the government decided that certain lands belonged to residents, a decision overturned by a district court. For months, villagers have camped out in protest. This week, they marched and broke a coconut in a Buddhist ritual.


    23/06/2016 - CHINA

    Faith among Chinese youth growing amid the temptations of materialism and atheism

    by Jin Yan

    A young woman talks about her experience. Born in a Christian family, she had no friends who shared her religious values. Seen as a stranger by society, when she moved to the big city, things got worse, with God and her mother on one side, and propaganda and difficulties of everyday life on the other. A prayer group helped her along the way. Now she is involved in pastoral youth outreach in her diocese. Her story appeared in Tripod, the quarterly magazine of the Diocese of Hong Kong.


    23/06/2016 - VIETNAM

    Hue: Catholic nuns and Buddhist women together to fight breast cancer


    Every year, 4,500 Vietnamese women die from cancer. Over a ten-year period, the rate jumped by 69 per cent. Lack of preventive measures and financial means as well as social stigma deter people from seeking treatment. A group of Catholic nuns, medical practitioners and Buddhist volunteers organised a seminar to raise awareness about the problem, and allay fears about the pain.


    23/06/2016 - TURKEY

    Ramadan, the battle for prayer in St. Sophia a sign of Turkey’s Islamisation


    In the month of fasting and prayer every day a Muslim imam reads passages from the Koran in the gardens of the former church, now a museum. Heeding the demands of the lunatic fringe, the government wants to turn the building into a mosque. The clash with the Greek government and the strategic relations between Ankara and Athens on immigration.

     


    23/06/2016 - JORDAN - IRAQ

    Iraqi refugees: Daesh, exile and the desire to meet with Pope Francis


    Two Christian refugees welcomed by the Jordanian Church in Amman.  From a peaceful childhood, under an authoritarian but stable regime, to violent conflict and jihadist drifts. Relations with Muslims and the power of faith. With other refugees they have made a chasuble for the Pope whom they hope to meet in Krakow.


    22/06/2016 - IRAQ

    For Iraqi priest, the Chaldean meeting leads to “new paths” to give hope to people


    The two-day event brought a "strong human and spiritual charge", said Fr Samir Yousef, pastor in Amadiya. The Church remains an essential point of reference for exchange and mediation. Mercy is the basis of a “future of unity”. In a final statement, the Patriarchate stressed the role of the laity and the importance of transparency in financial matters.


    22/06/2016 - NEPAL – AFGHANISTAN

    Nepal wants to withdraw work permits for Nepalis in Afghanistan

    by Christopher Sharma

    A suicide bomber blew himself up as a minibus carrying Nepali guards was on its way to the Canadian Embassy. Nepal has already banned regular work permits. Only 5,292 Nepalis working for UN agencies or diplomatic missions are left. Nepali Hindus could be the new target of Islamic terrorists.


    21/06/2016 - BANGLADESH

    Christians hold ecumenical prayer to wake up humanity against terrorism

    by Sumon Corraya

    Protestants, Catholics and other Christians hold a prayer meeting in Dhaka and Khulna. In the capital, Mgr D'Rozario called on “dormant humanity [to] become aware of the violence". In Khulna, “I feel comforted by this prayer,” said one Protestant. “I hope the terrorists stop persecuting us”.






    Editor's choices

    CHINA - VATICAN
    Vatican silence over Shanghai’s Mgr Ma Daqin causing confusion and controversy

    Bernardo Cervellera

    For some, Mgr Ma’s blog post praising the Patriotic Association and acknowledging his mistakes is nothing but “dirt”. For others, he chose humiliation for the “sake of his diocese”. Many wonder why the Holy See has remained silent about the article’s content and the bishop’s persecution. Some suspect the Vatican views the episode in positive terms. Yet, the Ma Daqin affair raises a major question. Has Benedict XVI’s Letter to Chinese Catholics (which describes the Patriotic Association as “incompatible with Catholic doctrine”) been abolished? If it has, who did it? A journey of compromises without truth is full of risks.


    CHINA – VATICAN
    Mgr Ma Daqin: the text of his “confession”

    Mons. Taddeo Ma Daqin

    Four years after quitting the Chinese Patriotic Catholic Association, the bishop of Shanghai “admits” his faults on his blog, praising the organisation that controls the Church. We publish his article, almost in its entirety. Translation by AsiaNews.


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