Rubric Freedom of religion

Freedom of religion

The building is accessible to the public and the faithful after the official inauguration ceremony. The former Christian place of worship was converted by presidential decree in August 2020. President Erdogan extols the thousands of 'ancestral heritage sites' to which he would 'breathe new life', but makes no mention of its origin as a basilica. 

| 08/05/2024
| TURKEY
by Dario Salvi

The German-born Benedictine who leads the Dormition Monastery stigmatises the ‘fanatical’ attitude while ‘people are suffering, dying’. The opposing front seen as ‘monster’ or ‘animal’ to justify the violence. The rise to power of the ultra-right Ben-Gvir government has led to an escalation in anti-Christian attacks in the Old City. Like Jesus prayer and forgiveness in response to hatred, the way to reconciliation.

| 07/05/2024
| GATEWAY TO THE EAST

Reconstruction work lasted over a year. The entire Christian community, from Greek Melkites to the Evangelicals, gathered for a day of celebration. The service was led by Primate Youssef Absi. Caught between warrying Armenians and Azerbaijanis, the historic church of St John the Baptist in Shushi has been destroyed.

| 27/04/2024
| SYRIA – AZERBAJIAN

The Christian lawyer turned 60 on 20 April, but Chinese authorities have refused to provide any information about his fate. Repeated appeals from his wife, human rights NGOs, and UN agencies have been ignored. He is among the many victims of enforced disappearances by China’s communist regime.

| 27/04/2024
| CHINA

While the country is getting ready to welcome Pope Francis in September, amendments have been proposed to assert the country’s Christian identity. For the Catholic Bishops' Conference, this is a “dangerous” step that “obscures and even erases our unique Melanesian identity [. . .] rather than acknowledge, celebrate and perfect it through the Gospel”. The backers of the constitutional changes are the same groups that got the King James Bible inside parliament in 2015, promising “blessings and riches”.

| 24/04/2024
| PAPUA NEW GUINEA
by Dario Salvi

Layan Nasir, a 23-year-old native of Birzeit, is the only Christian woman under "administrative detention". She was taken, blindfolded and handcuffed, overnight by a military patrol without an arrest warrant or charges against her. The Bethlehem Lutheran leader: Israel enjoys "impunity" and “feels entitled to destroy the lives of millions of people.”

| 19/04/2024
| ISRAEL – PALESTINE
by Shafique Khokhar

Bishop Indrias Rehmat chose Fr Abid Tanvir, former diocese vicar general, as parish priest. Two catechists were also appointed to work with him. Admired and visited by Muslims, the church named after Saint Anthony was inaugurated last year. The bishop urged the faithful “to make this beautiful church stronger in spirituality.”

| 18/04/2024
| PAKISTAN

At least 12 people are under investigation, six of whom are currently in jail. At the centre of the investigation is a cell based in Başakşehir and responsible for the attack on the Franciscan parish at the end of January. Other operations targeting the parliament, military barracks and police stations are under investigation. 

| 18/04/2024
| TURKEY
by Dario Salvi

Chaldean Patriarch calls for joint efforts to "ease" an escalation with "devastating" consequences. The Iraqi premier in Washington for a strenuous search for stability. The cardinal's satisfaction at returning to the capital after months of voluntary exile in protest against the withdrawal of the presidential decree. The promise of an inter-religious prayer for peace. 

| 16/04/2024
| GATEWAY TO THE EAST
by Shafique Khokhar

In the village of Gujranwala, a family row became the pretext for a video accusing a pastor of burning the Qur'an. The authorities and the local community acted quickly to quell religious tensions. Fr Rashid Asi hopes this case will set a “precedent for the entire nation to properly investigate any allegations brought against anyone.”

| 13/04/2024
| PAKISTAN

An Evangelical NGO, ChinaAid, reports that a Chinese Christian who tried to use an automatic online translator to read information about the Protestant Reformation was flashed an ominous warning from China’s Internet agency that every “religion must adapt to Chinese socialist society.” China’s repression against house churches not compliant to the patriotic movement face digital scrutiny.

| 13/04/2024
| CHINA

After months in Erbil, the cardinal is back at the patriarchal seat in the Iraqi capital. His voluntary departure was triggered by the decision of the Iraqi president to repeal a decree recognising patriarchal authority, a controversy linked to a militia led by a self-styled Christian leader eager to grab Church-held assets. On social media, Iraqi Christians (and Muslim leaders) express joy and satisfaction at the patriarch’s return.

| 11/04/2024
| IRAQ

Pictures, images, and activities that undermine national unity or promote a "separatist ideology" are banned. The Chinese government has long sought to control the choice of Tibet’s next spiritual leader. For his part, 88-year-old Tenzin Gyatso says he is in good health and wants to “live for more than 100 years.” Meanwhile, the fate of the Panchen Lama remains an unsolved mystery.

| 11/04/2024
| RED LANTERNS
by Sumon Corraya

The prelate, who chairs the Episcopal Commission for Christian Unity and Interreligious Dialogue, released a statement to mark the end of Ramadan. In it, he says that promoting “social fraternity and world peace” is a shared task. In addition to Eid celebrations, preparations are underway for Bengali New Year on 14 April.

| 10/04/2024
| BANGLADESH
by Nirmala Carvalho

The Bishops' Conference sets guidelines for the thousands of Church-run educational establishments, with suggestions on how to promote respect for all faiths, such as reciting the Preamble of the country’s constitution every morning. The goal is to rediscover “justice, liberty, equality and fraternity” as “the essence of India’s core values.”

| 09/04/2024
| INDIA

Inaugural mass of the Church of Our Lady of Perpetual Help, in the al-Dawasa district. The place of worship had been conquered and devastated by jihadists, then turned into a police barracks of the Islamic State. The joy of the more than 300 Christians who attended the service. 

| 06/04/2024
| IRAQ

This morning Francis received in audience the participants in the first meeting between the Dicastery for Interreligious Dialogue and the Congress of Leaders of World and Traditional Religions. In his address, he underlined three "aspects" to focus on, namely respect for diversity, environmental commitment to the common home, and the promotion of peace.

| 04/04/2024
| VATICAN

Disputed properties in the area known as the 'Cows Garden', which has long been at the centre of a legal dispute, were targeted. The police, without presenting any warrants, supported the attackers in their attempt to evict them. The Patriarchate in a note asks "Christians around the world" to defend and support the battle of the Holy Land community.

| 04/04/2024
| HOLY LAND
by Fady Noun

Led by Mohammed Sammak and Fayçal Sinno, the delegation visited the Holy See for the first time. The meeting with Card. Parolin and the greeting to Pope Francis. The aim is to develop a cooperation agreement at the level of Christian and Muslim educational institutions. A meeting with Fr. Youssef Nasr, secretary of the Lebanese Catholic schools, is planned for the end of Ramadan. 

| 03/04/2024
| LEBANON - VATICAN
by Nirmala Carvalho

The official charitable organisation of the Catholic Church is also in the crosshairs of an 'anti-conversion' campaign promoted by an organisation linked to fundamentalists. A complaint was sent to the Ministry of the Interior. Fr D'Souza: "Unfounded accusations against a work that serves everyone. This only fuels prejudice and fear'.

| 02/04/2024
| INDIA

After waiting in vain for asylum in Malaysia where she converted to Christianity, Laleh Saati, 45, returned to Iran. A local court found her guilty of acting "against national security” based on alleged links to " Zionist Christian organisations". The video of her baptism was entered as “evidence” of her “crime”.

| 30/03/2024
| IRAN – MALAYSIA
by Dario Salvi

The Custos of the Holy Land speaks to AsiaNews: the Palestinian issue is a long unresolved problem that must be addressed "with realism". The UN vote on the truce has a "moral value", but we need the "courage" to recognise and legitimise ourselves. The Roman centurion "an example of mature faith". The Collection is a "special communion" and fundamental resource today, with a thought for all persecuted Christians in the world. 

 

| 29/03/2024
| HOLY LAND
by Nirmala Carvalho

In the Indian state shaken by ethnic violence, the state government had announced that this Sunday, 31 March, would be a working day, using as a pretext the fact that it is the last day of the fiscal year. After protests by Christians (who are over 40 per cent of the local population), state authorities backtracked.

| 28/03/2024
| INDIA
by Fady Noun

The first chapel dedicated to the patron saint of the Swiss Confederation and his wife Dorothea was inaugurated over the weekend in the south of the capital. It is located in the convent of Notre-Dame de la Plaine, a retirement home belonging to the Greek Melkites. A 15th century hermit, he saved his homeland from civil war and instilled in it the founding value: neutrality. 

| 27/03/2024
| LEBANON
by Nirmala Carvalho

On the strength of their triumph in Ayodhya, nationalists linked to the BJP took the case of the Kamal Maula, an Islamic place of worship that allegedly stood where there was a temple of the goddess Sarasvati in the 11th century, to the local High Court. Local Muslims: we will continue to pray here five times a day.

| 23/03/2024
| INDIA
by Shafique Khokhar

In Faisalabad a distribution of basic necessities for 150 families who fled the violence of last August. The intervention coordinated by the Faisalabad diocese with Aid to Church in Need Germany. "We are still in the grip of physical and mental trauma," says Shazia Bibi, one of the victims. The desire to be able to 'celebrate Easter with joy'.

| 22/03/2024
| PAKISTAN
by Joseph Masilamany

A gesture by a car dealership saleswoman mirrors a society divided between tolerance and fundamentalism. Internet users divided between those who appreciate the acceptance of the Hindu blessing and those who attack her for committing a grave sin for a Muslim. The case of the team consisting of a Hindu surgeon, a Buddhist anaesthetist and Muslim nurses who operated on a Catholic priest. 

| 20/03/2024
| MALAYSIA

The victim, 47-year-old Nammye Hkun Jaw, was shot yesterday in his computer shop in Mogaung. Wounded in the stomach, he was finished off with a bullet in the head. A former leader of the Baptist Kachin Convention, he was active in the fight against drug trafficking.

| 19/03/2024
| MYANMAR

On the ninth anniversary of his death, a Eucharistic celebration marked the end of the local investigation towards the beatification of the young man who died protecting others during a deadly Islamist attack in Youhanabad. “We pray for this grace for all parents to raise peaceful youth strong in their faith,” Archbishop Shaw said.

| 15/03/2024
| PAKISTAN

The murder occurred yesterday at the monastery of St. Mark and St. Samuel the Confessor in Cullinan, 30 km east of Pretoria. The person arrested is said to be an Egyptian member of the Church. The condolences of the Cairo authorities, Pope Tawadros is also 'closely following' the affair. Grief and dismay in the Egyptian Coptic community.  

| 13/03/2024
| EGYPT - SOUTH AFRICA
Editor's choices
 
Students, who have been protesting for days demanding the abolition of quotas in public hiring, set fire to the state TV headquarters and other government offices in response to a harsh police crackdown. Yesterday alone 32 people were killed. The protest ...
| 19/07/2024
| BANGLADESH
 
The PIME missionary from Italy today began a hunger strike in front of the government headquarter, Admiralty district. He is moved by the injustice inflicted upon an African immigrant’s daughter and hundreds of prisoners jailed for crimes of opinion. ...
| 15/07/2024
| HONG KONG
 
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| 12/07/2024
| CAMBODIA
 
by Sumon Corraya
Tens of thousands of young people have been on the streets for five days in the capital and across the country. They are demanding reform of the system that favours relatives of independence fighters. Amnesty's concern over police violence. Nil ...
| 12/07/2024
| BANGLADESH
 
After a series of drone raids, the Israeli military declared the area where the facility is located a red zone" forcing the evacuation of patients. For Primate Welby, “Hospitals must be protected under international humanitarian law.” Pope ...
| 09/07/2024
| ISRAEL – PALESTINE
 
The meeting taking place in the city scarred by the wound of the atomic bomb also involves Eastern religious traditions in the Rome Call for AI Ethics, promoted by the Pontifical Academy for Life. A specific addendum on the challenges posed by generative ...
| 09/07/2024
| JAPAN . VATICAN
 
by Dario Salvi
An AsiaNews source recounts the life of Catholics. One million people, mostly economic migrants, celebrate their faith "in private". The bond with the universal Church and the hope of one day being able to gather and pray in a church. The ...
| 02/07/2024
| GATEWAY TO THE EAST
 
by Joseph Masilamany
In a joint statement, the Defender of Ancestral Lands Sabah (MOPOT) and the Sabah and Sarawak Indigenous People's Alliance (GOASS) call on the government to respect the "informed consent" of local communities. Joining the intergovernmental group ...
| 01/07/2024
| MALAYSIA
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