Rubric Islam

Islam
by Dario Salvi

Eight years after the Islamic State seized the Nineveh Plain, families are still waiting to get their homes and land back. Opposing interests are keeping the country politically paralysed. The Chaldean primate stresses the importance of citizenship and equal rights, and a “courageous national dialogue”.

| 09/08/2022
| GATEWAY TO THE EAST
by Mathias Hariyadi

SMAN 1 High School is located in Bantul. Backed by the principal, three teachers required students to wear the hijab, sparking an angry response from students who are backed by human rights and child advocacy groups. The governor of the Yogyakarta Special Region sacked the principal and the three teachers, pending the conclusion of the investigation.

| 05/08/2022
| INDONESIA
by Vladimir Rozanskij

Concerned about the growth of certain religious groups, like the Jehovah's Witnesses, government and Muslim clerical leaders are working together to stop the trend. Officially, there is no persecution.

 

 

| 04/08/2022
| TURKMENISTAN

In mid-July, Jewish graves were destroyed in Haskoy, an Istanbul suburb. Previously, Christian burial sites in Mardin and Van were targeted. Dead Yazidi have been dug up, their bodies repositioned in accordance with Islamic practice. Teens aged 11 and 13 have been involved. An Armenian member of Turkey’s parliament bemoans the mindset that “filled those children with hatred”.

| 04/08/2022
| TURKEY
by Vladimir Rozanskij

Although independence is not on the agenda of the Moscow-controlled World Congress of Tatars, interest in Mirsaid Sultan-Galiev, one of the fathers of modern Tatarstan purged by Stalin, is reviving. Many Tatars are tilting against Putin's neo-imperialist ideology.

 

| 03/08/2022
| RUSSIA

Iranian authorities arrested many Bahá'ís over the weekend alleging ties with a centre in Israel and for proselytising in schools and kindergartens. Some 52 homes and businesses were raided. Advocacy groups abroad speak out against a campaign of hatred fuelled by the pro-regime media. A report by a US-based NGO says the regime is using a “misinformation campaign" to justify repression.

| 03/08/2022
| IRAN
by Shafique Khokhar

Two girls, aged 12 and 15, were recently returned to their families, but their kidnappers have not yet been brought to justice. Human rights groups complain that impunity in forced conversion cases encourages a practice that victimises mainly religious minorities.

| 29/07/2022
| PAKISTAN
by Sumon Corraya

Bangladeshi authorities released official census data. Out of a population of 160.51 million, Muslims are now 91.04 per cent. Hindus drop significantly. Christians are 0.30 per cent. For a minority activist, emigration and attacks in recent years are to blame for the negative trend.

| 28/07/2022
| BANGLADESH

Pandemic, economic slowdown and related protests force him to come to terms with Premier Li Keqiang. 'Nationalist' trips to Hong Kong and Xinjiang to hide the problems of the economy. The profile of Xi's allies in the race for promotion is outlined.

 

| 22/07/2022
| CHINA
by Fady Noun

The prelate of Haifa and Jerusalem, Moussa el-Hage, was stopped at the crossing point on his way back into the country. His passport and mobile phone were confiscated, along with the money entrusted to him by the families of the Lebanese who fled in 2000. The measure was ordered by a magistrate close to the pro-Iranian movement unhappy with the Maronite Patriarch's calls for a non-partisan head of state. The nuncio: A worrying precedent.

| 20/07/2022
| LEBANON
by Vladimir Rozanskij

Various Islamist organisations are strengthening their positions in southern Afghanistan. The Taliban and Islamic State Khorasan are vying for the revival of the Islamic caliphate. The danger would also affect Uzbekistan and Tajikistan.

 

 

| 20/07/2022
| CENTRAL ASIA
by Louis Raphael Sako*

The Patriarch of Baghdad of the Chaldeans spoke at a conference organised by the Community of Sant'Egidio titled “Catholics and Shias before the future”. In his address, he mentioned the pope's visit to Iraq and call for respect for diversity. He urges studying the causes of extremism and finding ways to defeat it. He noted the shared commitment with Grand Ayatollah al-Sistani, and called for an end to the war between Russia and Ukraine.

| 14/07/2022
| IRAQ - ITALY
by Sumon Corraya

Shamsun Nahar Hall set aside space for Christian, Buddhist and Hindu female students. Now other universities and student halls are expected to do the same. Many are happy with this “huge achievement”. The new prayer room contains images of Christ, Buddha and Hindu deities.

| 13/07/2022
| BANGLADESH
by Shafique Khokhar

In 2017, a customer accused a Christian bicycle repair shop, Ashfaq Masih, of defaming the Prophet Muhammad. For the latter’s family, the charges are spurious, a way not to pay for the work done. In many cases, lower courts impose the death penalty under pressure from extremist groups.

 

| 11/07/2022
| PAKISTAN

Arrested for conspiracy Mostafa Tajzadeh, prominent reformist and deputy interior minister under Khatami. He had criticised the tightening of (Islamic) dress codes for women. film directors Mohammad Rasoulof and Mostafa Alahmad jailed for 'fuelling unrest'. Civil rights of a Christian convert taken away for five years. 

| 11/07/2022
| IRAN
by Vladimir Rozanskij

Ukraine war is an armed intervention against fascists and parasites in Ukraine, says Russia's supreme mufti. Kremlin propaganda rhetoric redoubled. Similar positions from Orthodox Patriarch Kirill. Most of the Russian soldiers on the frontlines against Kiev are of Islamic faith.

| 11/07/2022
| RUSSIA

The Defence Minister confirms the renewed axis with some of the countries in the region. Since the signing there have been 150 meetings between ministry and army personnel and counterparts in the area, with the exception of Egypt and Jordan. A "Middle East Air Defence Alliance" under the US aegis against the Iranian threat. 

 

 

 

 

| 08/07/2022
| ISRAEL- GULF
by Shafique Khokhar

Drugged by a friend, the victim was taken away while her parents slept upstairs. The next day she was forced to convert to Islam and marry. Police refused to register the complaint filed by her family. For Human Rights Focus Pakistan, “more than a thousand such incidents occur every year”.

| 06/07/2022
| PAKISTAN

 

AsiaNews source: "Difficult" to establish the "matrix" of the attack, but it represents a sign of "intolerance"; important to catch those responsible. The cemetery vandalised on the feast of Saint Peter and Paul, Assyrian tombs over a thousand years old damaged. Bones of the dead and sacred objects thrown outside, the local community express grief and despair. 

| 06/07/2022
| TURKEY

The prelate took over the vicariate, concelebrating his first Mass in St Joseph's Cathedral in Abu Dhabi. He thanked his predecessor, Bishop Hinder, for his “great work”. He also stressed the role Catholic parishes and schools play and noted that the document signed by Pope Francis and Grand Imam el-Tayeb should not be forgotten.

| 04/07/2022
| UNITID ARAB EMIRATES

For the past two years, the global pandemic had limited the number of pilgrims and blocked entry. For the first time, women will be able to participate without the presence of a male 'guardian'. In the past, the major pilgrimage has been the scene of incidents, attacks and used by Riyadh as a political weapon. 

| 04/07/2022
| SAUDI ARABIA - ISLAM

Scores of YouTubers, influencers, artists and prominent figures from the Arab world and beyond have visited the country and praised its features. For experts, the pope’s apostolic journey also had a great impact. To boost the industry, the government has taken steps to ease entry, lifting visa requirements for travellers from 36 nations.

| 01/07/2022
| IRAQ
by Sumon Corraya

In recent days a teacher was bludgeoned to death, while the principal of a school was evacuated by police and forced to resign for his own safety. A dozen pupils have begun a hunger strike in solidarity. Catholic teacher: "We demand exemplary punishment."

| 01/07/2022
| BANGLADESH
by Dario Salvi

Bishop Bizzeti: the emergency related to immigration has "increased" in the last period and cannot fall "only on the shoulders of Ankara." The need to give birth to a true local Church, with Turkish clergy and religious. Commemorating Msgr. Padovese 12 years after his murder, to give new life to his mission.

| 30/06/2022
| TURKEY - SYRIA
by Nirmala Carvalho

The victim was attacked in his shop for defending on social media a BJP politician who sparked a row after making negative comments about the prophet Mohammed on TV. For Bishop Ganawa, Christians “stand for religious tolerance, dialogue and peaceful co-existence among all communities. I pray that good sense will prevail among us all.”

| 29/06/2022
| INDIA
by Shafique Khokhar

Sattar Masih and his son Azhar worked at the mansion of a Muslim landowner. When they quit, they began to receive threats. Khalida Parveen, Sattar’s wife and Azhar’s mother, was beaten and injured. A first court hearing was held a few days ago thanks to Human Rights Focus Pakistan.

| 27/06/2022
| PAKISTAN
by Steve Suwannarat

A “talak” on social media involving two social media personalities, later reversed, has sparked a debate over the trivialisation of Islam in a country where two-thirds of the population are Muslims. Last Wednesday, local authorities reactivated a committee to empower Sharia courts. Islamic law (Sharia) is partially enforced in three states of the Malaysian federation. The situation is raising fears among religious minorities.

| 27/06/2022
| MALAYSIA
by Vladimir Rozanskij

Demonstration in front of the Chinese consulate. Like the Uyghurs, the Kazakh minority is also sent to lagers in the Chinese autonomous region. The Kazakh government does not intervene so as not to spoil relations with Beijing.

| 27/06/2022
| KAZAKHSTAN - CHINA
by Beatrice Guarrera

A Christian and Muslim, married for 20 years in a country where officially mixed marriages are not allowed. At the World Meeting of Families in Rome they brought their testimony, "We had to face a lot of resistance from those around us. After three years of marriage I accepted Agnes' choice to become Catholic again, and from that moment I also decided to accompany her to church."   

| 26/06/2022
| ECCLESIA IN ASIA
by Chiara Zappa

After years of isolation due to war and pandemic, the community founded by Father Dall'Oglio is again welcoming pilgrims and visitors. For Abbot Br Jihad Youssef, the monastery is “a spiritual oasis of peace and friendship” in a still harsh context.

| 21/06/2022
| SYRIA
by Dario Salvi

The president behind the country's international name change. A desire to erase the association with the Christmas bird and "offensive" parodies. But Turkish authorities themselves are victims of confusion and contradictions. The airline is also targeted, but the change could cause billions in losses. And some are launching petitions to mock the sultan.

| 21/06/2022
| GATEWAY TO THE EAST
by Sumon Corraya

The refugees want to be repatriated to Rakhine State, which they fled in 2017 following attacks by Myanmar’s military. Feeling forgotten by the international community, they urge the UN to intervene. Bangladeshi minister bemoans the lack of progress on the issue of repatriation.

| 20/06/2022
| BANGLADESH

The demonstrations reached Tehran and other centres including Ahvaz, Sari, Rasht, Sanandaj and Kermanshah. Security forces intervened, making about a hundred arrests among the activists. Trade unions accused of being 'enemy' entities in the pay of foreign governments to fuel discontent. 

 

 

| 17/06/2022
| IRAN
by Shafique Khokhar

Saba was kidnapped in May by two Muslim men who wanted to force her to convert to Islam. Christian groups thank the police, but asks for a special committee to deal with the problem. Protests by civil society groups help secure the girl’s release.

 

| 16/06/2022
| PAKISTAN

Among the banned items are bows, skirts, hats and 'multi-coloured' cases made for children and the very young. They contradict the Islamic faith and public morals. The rainbow flag 'banner of homosexuality'. Pixar's 'Lightyear' banned in 14 Muslim-majority Asian nations. Al-Azhar fatwa against the animated film. 

 

 

| 16/06/2022
| MIDDLE EAST - ISLAM

Local Christians had just celebrated the first religious service in the historic church of Mor Gevargis, following its restauration after a century of neglect. The Yilmaz family is the only Christian family left in the area. The crowd attacked with sticks and stones, then set fire to the family’s fields. Opposing claims to land are at the root of the dispute.

| 14/06/2022
| TURKEY
by Shafique Khokhar

Rehmat Masih has been in prison for five months and his family threatened. He had refused to convert to Islam. They blame him for some pages of the sacred text of Muslims found in the sewer drain, but there is no evidence against him.

 

 

| 14/06/2022
| PAKISTAN

Triggering the controversy are allegations of pedophilia by Nupur Sharma, spokeswoman for India's ruling party. In a TV debate she recalled the young age of the prophet's last bride, only 9 years old at the time of the wedding. The wave of anger at the end of Friday prayer with demonstrations in Pakistan, Indonesia, Bangladesh and India itself. 

 

 

| 11/06/2022
| ASIA - ISLAM

The measure would concern primaries, later high schools and universities. Controversy on social media and "strong opposition" from civil society, opposed to "Islamisation". Saad Salloum: the divisions "are contrary to our culture", but it remains a "controversial" issue.  

 

 

| 10/06/2022
| IRAQ
by Mathias Hariyadi

Yaqut Cholil Quomas met with the pontiff in Rome accompanied by the leader of the Nahdlatul Ulama. The inter-religious conference is one of the appointments Indonesia is working on as chair of the global forum that brings together the major economic powers. The minister: "I brought the pope the greetings of Indonesian Catholics who pray for his health and hope to welcome him to our country". 

| 09/06/2022
| INDONESIA
by Fady Noun

Card Semeraro presided over the beatification ceremony of Fr Léonard Melki and Fr Thomas Saleh. Because of their witness of faith, they were "victims in the eyes of men” but “victors” from a perspective of faith. As in the past, world today is giving in to the violence of war, and so the testimonies of blood are back.

| 06/06/2022
| LEBANON

The Swiss-born bishop is preparing to entrust the mandate to his successor Msgr. Martinelli. In his last pastoral letter, he expressed his "gratitude" for a reality that has matured in 18 years of missionary work. With ups and downs, from the pope's visit to the killing of the four Missionary Sisters of Charity in Aden. 

| 06/06/2022
| UNITED ARAB EMIRATES
by Shafique Khokhar

Another Christian girl was kidnapped for marriage. Her captor is known and there are witnesses against him, but even the court hearings have not yielded any results. For Human Rights Focus Pakistan, Pakistan’s new government should adopt a proposed bill against forced conversions.

| 02/06/2022
| PAKISTAN

The Mar Sawa al-Hakim church in Tel Tamr, which had already been targeted by the Islamic State in 2015, suffered serious damage. Houses and the local infrastructure were also hit. The local Orthodox Syriac bishop blames Turley’s expansionist ambitions, aimed at driving Christians out of the area.

| 01/06/2022
| SYRIA – TURKEY
by Vladimir Rozanskij

Official documents hacked from the Chinese authorities' servers have been published: 3,000 photographs of detainees, several videos, 20,000 arrest reports and over 300,000 personal details. They confirm that those in the Chinese region are concentration camps for Turkish-speaking minorities of the Islamic faith.

 

 

| 01/06/2022
| CHINA

About 70,000 people took part in the Flag March. Police arrested 21 people. Bennett pledged “zero tolerance” against violence. Netanyahu slams the government for weakness. Hamas threatens harsh responses “at the right time”. Many fear an escalation of violence, like the one that led to last year’s brief war in Gaza.

| 30/05/2022
| ISRAEL – PALESTINE
by Mathias Hariyadi

President of Muhammadiyah and university lecturer, Ahmad Syafi'i Maarif died on 27 May just days before his 87th birthday. His commitment to dialogue earned him the Magsaysay Award in 2008. President Widodo's condolences for the passing of a great Indonesian. Commemoration of the local Church. 

| 30/05/2022
| INDONESIA

For the members of the Holy Land Coordination, who came from Europe, America and South Africa, the Holy City is Jewish, Christian and Muslim. Christians are tasked with upholding the “city's openness and universality.” The prelates met with the family of slain Christian Palestinian journalist. They also expressed hope that pilgrimages will restart for they represent a crucial resource.

| 27/05/2022
| HOLY LAND
by Chiara Zappa

For the head of the Afghan Missio sui iuris, "the world is forgetting the country, which is in a desperate condition". While the Jesuits aim to restart their activities, the only church - located in the capital - has not been touched. Italian cooperation operates from Pakistan, "we need to reopen in Kabul".

| 27/05/2022
| AFGHANISTAN
by Shafique Khokhar

The attacker, now in custody, struck Muhammad "Chacha" Sharif in the stomach in broad daylight, then slit his throat. He was shouting hateful phrases during the attack. Local sources speculate disputes over a sum of money behind the act. 

 

 

 

 

| 26/05/2022
| PAKISTAN
by Shafique Khokhar

The girl, who was on her way to work as a domestic, was shoved into an autorickshaw by two men. It is feared that, like in similar cases, her kidnappers will present a certificate of conversion to Islam in order to register a marriage. For Human rights activist Lala Robin Daniel, “We will stage a sit-in in Faisalabad and stay with the victims’ families until the courts take concrete action against the culprits”.

| 25/05/2022
| PAKISTAN

The proposal by some Shura Council members within the plan to reform the Civil Transitions Law. A change aimed at equalizing Saudi Arabia with other Gulf monarchies in terms of rights. Proposal illustrates support for reform found in passages of the Quran. 

| 23/05/2022
| SAUDI ARABIA - ISLAM

The Middle East Council of Churches (MECC) held its 12th General Assembly from 16 to 20 May. For the first time, the meeting took place in Egypt. Catholic, Evangelical and Orthodox leaders call for action against “violence and fanaticism”, renewed dialogue with Islam and protection of creation. They also appealed for the release of the archbishops of Aleppo who have been missing since 2013.

| 20/05/2022
| MIDDLE EAST
by Shafique Khokhar

Shagufta Kiran was arrested in July last year for allegedly spreading blasphemous content on WhatsApp. She goes to court next Monday. Meanwhile, her husband and her children express their pain.

| 19/05/2022
| PAKISTAN

As experts feared, Erdogan’s decision to repurpose the building might lead UNESCO to reconsider its world heritage status. Those in charge of the building have minimised the incident in which the “Imperial Door” was vandalised. Without proper precautions, the dome might collapse on worshippers by mid-century.

| 19/05/2022
| TURKEY
by Mathias Hariyadi

Police also seized machetes and air rifles. The suspected criminals are part of the East Indonesian Mujahideen and are mostly from Poso, a city that has been at the center of sectarian violence for years.

| 19/05/2022
| INDONESIA
by Sumon Corraya

The accused are blamed for a number of crimes, including money laundering. The People's Commission issues white paper that names a deputy commissioner and police officers guilty of inciting sectarian violence. Extremist imam rejects the document.

| 18/05/2022
| BANGLADESH

A country in mourning for 40 days bid its final farewell to the 73-year-old president, who has been ill for some time. The nation's leadership already long in the hands of Crown Prince Mohammed bin Zayed. Former Vicar of Arabia: there is an atmosphere of "respect and tribute" to the person. For new leadership, the value of tolerance that embraces religions and ethnicities. 

| 16/05/2022
| UNITED ARAB EMIRATES
by Shafique Khokhar

Aleeza Naeem has been missing since 13 March. An only child, she was allegedly kidnapped by three Muslim men on her way to school. The family filed a complaint with police, but in vain. As in other cases involving minorities, the victim was kidnapped to be forcibly converted to Islam and given in marriage. Rights advocates appeal to the government to pass a bill to ban forced conversions.

 

| 12/05/2022
| PAKISTAN

Mass is celebrated in the Church of St Cyriacus for the first time in seven years. The Armenian Patriarch of Constantinople and the Turkish Minister of Culture were present at the event. Turkish authorities contributed to the church’s restoration. The building was closed after it was seized in 2015-2016 during clashes between the military and the PKK.

| 09/05/2022
| TURKEY

Anooshavan Avedian, who will be 60 years old tomorrow, will be deprived of "social rights" for another decade upon release from prison. Together with him two other believers, 45 year old Abbas Soori and 46 year old Maryam Mohammadi (both converts from Islam) will be sentenced. Prison confessions were extracted through "psychological torture". 

 

 

| 06/05/2022
| IRAN
by Dario Salvi

The auxiliary of Milan, Msgr. Paolo Martinelli, replaces Msgr. Hinder in southern Arabia, who resigned having reached the age of retirement. A breath of vision that "embraces all Christians" and a particular "concern" for Yemen. The "historical" value of the document on Brotherhood, keeping its "memory alive". A "different" migrant Church, but part of "one people".  

 

| 05/05/2022
| ITALY - GULF

Chaldean primate stresses importance of "equal" rights and culture to cement common belonging, stronger than religious, ethnic or gender affiliation. The contribution of Christians to the development of the country, the educational commitment resulting from human values and moral principles such as brotherhood. Attempts at demographic upheaval still underway. 

 

 

| 04/05/2022
| IRAQ
by Sumon Corraya

Promoted by the Bishops’ Conference, the event brought together participants from all of the country’s dioceses. “Even though Christians are a minority in this country, we must be strong,” said Archbishop of Dhaka Bejoy D’Cruze. “Interreligious dialogue is an important part of this.”

| 03/05/2022
| BANGLADESH

For the first time in two years, millions of people travel to their villages of origin to celebrate the end of Ramadan following the lifting of pandemic restrictions. However, the festivity is overshadowed by economic crisis and food shortages. Meanwhile in India, Muslims are targeted by Hindu extremists.

| 02/05/2022
| ASIA

The Turkish president on official visit to Saudi Arabia to mend fences with the Wahhabi leadership and bin Salman. In pilgrim's clothing he crossed the threshold of the sacred mosque in Mecca. Riyadh's money crucial to boosting the domestic economy. An unofficial boycott in force since 2020 has cut Turkish imports by 98%. 

 

 

 

| 30/04/2022
| SAUDI ARABIA - TURKEY
by Mathias Hariyadi

Mgr Senno Ngutra, 51, is the new bishop of Amboina, scene in the past of sectarian violence and now a model of coexistence. The Indonesian minister of Religious Affairs was also present at the event. The new bishop urged him to support grassroots social outreach rather than conferences in hotels.

| 25/04/2022
| INDONESIA
by Sumon Corraya

Although the number of attacks is down, extremists are very active online. The authorities captured Mufti Shafiqul Islam, one of the founders of Harkatul Jihad Bangladesh. Extremists who surrender and start a new life get about US$ 5,800.

| 23/04/2022
| BANGLADESH
by Shafique Khokhar

Lahore High Court convicted 88 people in connection with the death of Sri Lankan-born factory general manager killed by a mob. Six defendants get the death penalty. For Pakistani human rights groups, this is an Important step, but those unjustly jailed for blasphemy deserve justice.

| 20/04/2022
| PAKISTAN

A measure intended to ease tensions in Jerusalem's holy sites, the scene of clashes between police and Muslim. The opposition accuses Bennett of giving in to extremists. The reply: a measure similar to those taken in the past by Netanyahu. Regional diplomacy moves to favour a de-escalation. First violence in months from the Gaza Strip. 

 

| 20/04/2022
| ISRAEL- PALESTINE
by Dario Salvi

In refugee camps people struggle to meet their daily needs, lacking basic goods starting with food. International groups too are struggling to help two million people. The armed groups that control the area have targeted journalists and activists. Football (soccer) has become a metaphor for the ongoing power struggle.

| 19/04/2022
| GATEWAY TO THE EAST

Ankara has launched a spring offensive "Claw Lock" against Kurdish targets across the border. A 26-year-old Christian man  was killed in Khabour, as jihadists attack with Turkish support. Dozens of targets hit in Iraqi Kurdistan. Opposition says it is a hypocritical "policy" aimed at covering up the internal crisis. 

 

 

| 19/04/2022
| TURKEY - IRAQ - SYRIA
by Shafique Khokhar

The International Lawyers Forum invited Card Coutts as well as other Christian, Hindu and Sikh leaders for an iftar meal at the Markazi Jama mosque to break the Ramadan fast. The archbishop emeritus of Karachi hopes that such gatherings are not limited to special occasions.

 

| 15/04/2022
| PAKISTAN
by Silsilah Dialogue Movement

This year, the holy month for Muslims coincides with the Easter celebrations by Christian Churches. From the island of Mindanao comes a message from a movement engaged in Islamic-Christian dialogue since 1984 in a context marred by violence, but where “real dialogue is also based on respect of differences of faith”.

| 10/04/2022
| ECCLESIA IN ASIA

A 29-year-old Palestinian fired at people in a crowded street, killing two and wounding 12. The police killed the attacker after a manhunt followed on social and mainstream media. Hamas and Islamic Jihad praised the attack, which was condemned by the Palestinian Authority. Jerusalem remains under maximum alert. For Christian leader, the latest incidents are the work of lone wolves and it is unclear if anyone is behind them.

| 08/04/2022
| ISRAEL - PALESTINE
by Marta Ottaviani

In the new scenario opened by the war in Ukraine, Erdogan is trying to put aside tensions with the United States. This week he will hold his first meeting at the level of deputy foreign ministers. A resumption of relations fundamental to relaunch the Turkish economy. Analyst Cagaptay: "A good relationship with the United States would also serve as a lever for more serene relations with the European Union.

 

 

| 08/04/2022
| TURKEY - UNITED STATES
by Marta Ottaviani

Azerbaijan also began the holy month differently from Iran. Aliyev is using the war in Ukraine to boost relations with Turkey’s Erdoğan, questioning Russia’s military presence in his country after the war with Armenia over Nagorno-Karabakh. For Turkey, this is an opportunity to fill any vacuum left by a weaker Russia in the Caucasus.

| 04/04/2022
| AZERBAIJAN – TURKEY
by Mathias Hariyadi

Located just 20 kilometres from Jakarta, the city has become an extremist hub thanks to local authorities. For Ismail Hasani of the Setara Institute, “only civil society groups can help Depok transform itself into a tolerant city.”

| 01/04/2022
| INDONESIA

Ali Erbas, head of the Diyanet, announces its return "for the first time in 88 years". The presence of the faithful is expected, after the restrictions of the last two years due to the Covid-19 pandemic. The rite of tarawih will take place every Friday, Saturday and every Sunday of the holy month of fasting and prayer that begins tomorrow. 

 

| 01/04/2022
| TURKEY

After the Bnei Brak attack, two Palestinians die in a gunfight with security forces during a raid on a refugee camp near Jenin. A 28-year-old Israeli was stabbed on a bus, while the attacker was killed. Far-right Knesset member Ben-Gvir's visit to the Esplanade of Mosques risks sparking new violence on the eve of Ramadan.

| 31/03/2022
| ISRAEL – PALESTINE

Over the weekend, Bishop Hinder celebrated the country's first priestly ordination and imparted Confirmation to about 170 boys and girls. The challenge is to "respect" the needs in pastoral care, avoiding ethnic and nationalistic drifts. It is on the young seminarians to build the future of the local Church. 

 

 

 

| 31/03/2022
| OMAN
by Shafique Khokhar

A madrassa in the city of Dera Ismail Khan was the scene of the chilling crime. Three female teachers killed a colleague upon an order delivered by the Prophet in a dream. According to investigators, the victim was targeted out of hatred because she followed an Islamic TV preacher who was viewed with suspicion by the others.

 

| 30/03/2022
| PAKISTAN

Shia leader Moqtada al-Sadr’s new coalition does not have the numbers to pick president and prime minister, but new possibilities are opening up. Iran is trying to undermine the coalition. For Saad Salloum, this process could lead the country away from sectarianism and to a country based on the concepts of community, citizenship, and national identity.

| 29/03/2022
| IRAQ

Saudi planes strike the capital and the coastal town of Makram in response to attacks against Saudi oil facilities over the weekend. The Houthi rebel movement announces a three-day ceasefire, hoping for a resumption of talks. The UN wants to stop the violence for Ramadan.

| 28/03/2022
| YEMEN - SAUDI ARABIA
by Vladimir Rozanskij

Since 2009, this religious festival has been a UNESCO intangible heritage site. It is celebrated by many peoples of Russia and Central Asia. It promotes the values of peace and solidarity. It raises the question of acceptance of others, and the search for a common language, a problem that exploded in the war between Russia and Ukraine.

 

 

| 24/03/2022
| RUSSIA - CENTRAL ASIA

Another Indian state ruled by Hindu nationalists has approved legislation that fuels intercommunal tensions. The new law imposes the burden of proof on the accused to demonstrate that he or she was not converted by extorsion, force or deception. If Karnataka passes a bill currently before the state legislature, 11 Indian states will have this kind of law.

| 23/03/2022
| INDIA
by Shafique Khokhar

Wahid Bux Lashari, along with two accomplices, tried to kidnap the young woman on Monday morning while she was alone in her home. She resisted and he shot her. Hundreds of attacks against young minority women are reported each year. Human rights groups and PPP leader Bilawal Bhutto-Zardari condemn the attack.

| 23/03/2022
| PAKISTAN

The Ukrainian crisis must not divert attention from the atrocities committed by the Chinese regime, say the signatories of an appeal to Europe. Abuses against Uyghurs, Tibetans, the Hong Kong democracy movement and dissidents in China are in focus. The EU must demand the release of all political prisoners. Tensions are high between Europeans and Beijing.

 

| 22/03/2022
| EU-CHINA
by Shafique Khokhar

More minority girls have been kidnapped for the purpose of forced marriage and conversion to Islam. Two of these kidnappings took place a week apart in the same neighbourhood. “We call on Prime Minister Imran Khan and the Sindh government to take serious action against the criminals,” pleaded the mother of one of the girls.

| 21/03/2022
| PAKISTAN

The execution is ostensibly a “revenge" killing for a death that occurred decades ago. The group killed the Christians and danced over their bodies. Upon returning to their village, they were greeted by songs, celebrations and cries of “Allah Akbar”. The three brothers who were killed had nothing to do with past events.

| 16/03/2022
| EGYPT
by Nirmala Carvalho

The court upheld the state’s dress code that bans headscarves in schools. Islamic associations slam the decision, calling it a violation of Muslims’ freedoms, pledge support for an appeal to the Supreme Court. For Archbishop Menamparampil, “When anyone’s identity or honour is threatened, they go [to] any length to protect it”. So, if we “Remove threats, avoid exaggerations, normalcy will return.”

| 15/03/2022
| INDIA
by Shafique Khokhar

Although the robbers injured Mr Mushtag Masih in the leg, police took his two sons into custody, releasing them only after bail was paid. Shirjeel Zafar, a lawyer, slams police for their biased action in seeking justice.

| 14/03/2022
| PAKISTAN

The Israeli president today ended a “historic” two-day official visit to Turkey. Yesterday he met with the Turkish president, whilst today he visited the Jewish community in Istanbul. The two sides pledge to resolve differences in the future. The Palestinian question and the holy places in Jerusalem remain the main stumbling block. Europe looks to Israeli gas (via Turkey) to make up for the loss of Russian supplies.

| 10/03/2022
| TURKEY - ISRAEL
by Mathias Hariyadi

The announcement came from Indonesia’s Religious Affairs Minister Quomas. Last week, Vatican sources confirmed a papal visit to Timor-Leste. For the Bishops’ Conference, “interreligious dialogue is fundamental”.

| 10/03/2022
| INDONESIA

The young woman’s violent death by her brother and uncle was reported on International Women's Day. With tens of thousands of followers on social media, she promoted women’s rights and freedoms. Her family forced her to marry at the age of 12 a man from whom she separated four years later.

| 09/03/2022
| IRAQ

The measures concern the Hajj and the Umrah. The Saudis earn prestige and at least 11 billion euro a year from religious tourism. The obligation to have a swab at the entrance and quarantine for vaccinated people lifted. The requirement to wear a mask indoors in public places and mosques remains. Anticipation grows among Muslims around the world. 

 

| 07/03/2022
| SAUDI ARABIA - ISLAM
by Shafique Khokhar

The Islamic State has claimed responsibility for the attack. A suicide bomber fired into the crowd, then detonated his explosive vest. Some of the wounded are in serious condition. Unanimous political condemnation, Pakistani Taliban distance themselves. Christians pray for the victims and for those fighting for their lives in hospitals. 

| 05/03/2022
| PAKISTAN
by Shafique Khokhar

On 2 March 2011, the Catholic politician was gunned by armed Taliban because of his fight in favour of minorities and against abuses under the country’s blasphemy legislation. His work is still an example of how rights can be respected in the country. During his visit to Pakistan, the archbishop of Canterbury paid tribute to the victims of the All Saints Church.

| 03/03/2022
| PAKISTAN
by Guido Alberto Casanova

Gabriel Osaheni Aghedo has lived in Japan for 30 years. Islamic extremists threaten to kill him if he returns home, but the Japanese authorities refuse to recognise Nigeria as a high-risk country. This is why he cannot work and receive medical treatment in Japan. In 2020, only 47 asylum seekers or just 1 per cent had their application accepted.

| 03/03/2022
| JAPAN
by Shafique Khokhar

“Anthem of Hope" by Anee Muskan tells the stories of the Christians jailed in 2015 after the violence that followed the deadly attacks against two churches by suicide bombers that left 27 dead. After years of suffering, the accused were acquitted only in 2021, but despite their sense of dejection, they bore witness to the Gospel.

 

 

| 02/03/2022
| PAKISTAN
by Stefano Vecchia

Military operations began today at dawn, resulting in some deaths. On the island of Mindanao, Islamic separatism has given way to jihadi-inspired groups.

| 01/03/2022
| PHILIPPINES

Two flights a week operated by Qatar Airways continued to take Afghan citizens abroad. Taking advantage of the war in Ukraine, the Taliban suspendes the operation and conducts searches and detentions in various districts of Kabul and other cities. The Koranic students say they are doing so for security reasons, but those who had worked with NATO or the previous government fear for their lives.

 

| 28/02/2022
| AFGHANISTAN
by Dario Salvi

AsiaNews meets the mayor of Turkey's economic and commercial capital on the sidelines of the "Mediterranean Frontier of Peace" event. He calls the Russian invasion of Ukraine a "shame" and hopes for a "solution" through "dialogue". The focus is on young people and the weaker sections of the population. Religions are a resource, the State must be secular.

| 28/02/2022
| TURKEY - ITALY

This date is complementary to the existing national holiday, 23 September. The new anniversary marks the day in 1727 when Muhammad bin Saud became the emir of Diriyah. The alliance with the religious leader Mohammed ibn Abd al-Wahhab is downplayed. Celebrations included music and dancing, a new stage on bin Salman's process of reform.

| 23/02/2022
| SAUDI ARABIA

Since its formation in January 2021, the body wanted by the Shiite leader Muqtada al-Sadr has facilitated the return of part of the assets and properties expropriated by the "real estate mafia". The return took place after a review of documents. The hope for a "prompt return" of the displaced. 

 

 

| 23/02/2022
| IRAQ

About 84 cases were reported in 2021 alone. A majority of victims are Muslim with most cases in Punjab. A report published by the Centre for Social Justice highlights how intolerance starts in school.

 

| 22/02/2022
| PAKISTAN
by Melani Manel Perera

Pujith Jayasundara and Hemasiri Fernando were accused of ignoring warnings from foreign intelligence services. To get justice, “we have to wait for another government,” said Card Ranjith.

| 21/02/2022
| SRI LANKA

The UN reports on "at least 53 arrests" made among members of the minority. And it expresses "concerns" about the "continued repression". A group of converts forced to undergo "re-education" sessions in the Islamic faith. The role of the Pasdaran in anti-Christian attacks. 

| 21/02/2022
| IRAN - UN
by Mathias Hariyadi

According to Khalid Basalamah, it “should be destroyed”. But for Indonesians, this type of performance is not only a form of entertainment, it is also a way of sharing folk wisdom. In recent decades, the Catholic Church has also made extensive use of it.

| 18/02/2022
| INDONESIA

Research carried out by the German organisation Kas reveals 73% of those questioned (aged between 18 and 25) would like to leave the country if they had the chance. Forty-eight per cent had no confidence in the president. Very little trust in politicians, parties and the press. Over 90% are in favour of premarital relations, 80% for gender equality. 

| 18/02/2022
| TURKEY
by Shafique Khokhar

Leaders from different religious background joined Caritas in its “One Million More Tree Plantation Campaign” to boost creation through reforestation. The earth’s is the “common home” of every believer. Some spoke out against the abuses perpetrated under the country’s blasphemy legislation.

| 17/02/2022
| PAKISTAN
by Shafique Khokhar

Pervez Masih, 25, was attacked after a row in his video game store. The victim’s uncle tried to intervene to save him. For the United Christian Council, “In Pakistan the police are powerless and insecure.”

| 15/02/2022
| PAKISTAN
by Shafique Khokhar

A crowd of fanatics tied Muhammad Mushtaq to a tree and killed him. According to the custodian of the local mosque, he had burned pages of the Koran. The police were unable to intervene. Local residents said that Ahmed was mentally unstable.

 

 

| 14/02/2022
| PAKISTAN

Chocolates, flowers, red clothes and lingerie are on display in the shop windows. Shop assistants confirm,behind anonymity, the increase in sales and business linked to the occasion. But the Saint's name remains a taboo. Young people hope for further, albeit gradual, changes in the future. 

| 14/02/2022
| SAUDI ARABIA - ISLAM
by Vladimir Rozanskij

It began in 2015, after Russia's annexation of the peninsula. The Islamic organisation Khizb ut-Takhrir was targeted. One of its representatives, Zekirja Muratov, sentenced to more than 11 years in prison for terrorism. Moscow wants to assert its undisputed sovereignty.

 

 

| 14/02/2022
| RUSSIA - UKRAINE

In the past four years, some 80 Yazidi civilians have become "collateral damage" of Erdogan's bombs against the PKK. About 350,000 Yazidis are still internally displaced and more than 100,000 have left Iraq. For activist, Sinjar is “turning into a war zone" and the population is “suffering under unimaginable conditions in displacement camps”.

| 12/02/2022
| IRAQ – TURKEY
by Alessandra De Poli

Schools in Karnataka have been closed for three days after riots broke out against the ban on wearing the Islamic veil in class. The riots spread throughout the country at the same time as the opening of polling stations in Uttar Pradesh. Jesuit Father Cedric Prakash: "It is a political manipulation, the wealth of India lies in its diversity".

| 11/02/2022
| INDIAN MANDALA

A low-key celebration due to restrictions imposed by the Covid-19 pandemic. In the "red" cities, only parades aboard cars and motorbikes, while in the country the number of Omicron-related infections grows. The US is cautiously optimistic about an agreement "in sight". But Iranian President Raisi puts a damper on enthusiasm: "No hope". 

 

 

 

| 11/02/2022
| IRAN
by Shafique Khokhar

According to a student, Notan Lal insulted the Prophet Muhammad in 2019. For Christian Solidarity Worldwide, Pakistan’s blasphemy “laws are poorly defined and require low standards for evidence”.

| 11/02/2022
| PAKISTAN

AB InBev, whose brands include Budweiser, is one of the event’s main sponsors and wants Qatar’s alcohol ban eased. In 2016, the government said it would impose a total ban, but now it seems moving towards making some concessions.

| 09/02/2022
| QATAR

The Muslim extremists who attacked the graves over inscribed Qurʼānic verses also threatened to destroy Ahmadi homes. This followed blasphemy complaints against the Ahmadiyya. According to the Human Rights Commission of Pakistan, such incidents are becoming “almost routine”.

| 09/02/2022
| PAKISTAN

Jihadist tensions and threats along the Iraq-Syria border watched carefully, but the goal is to rebuild. Mgr Moussa: life "is taking its course again", the pope's visit last March still a path to fraternity. Bishop of Kurdistan: the main problem is "the political vacuum". 

 

| 09/02/2022
| IRAQ - SYRIA
by Vladimir Rozanskij

Celebrations are underway for the 1,100th anniversary of the conversion of the Volga Bulgarians. Russia's Muslims are calling for the rediscovery of traditional values, such as the Orthodox patriarchate. The synergy of Islamic leaders with the Putin administration. The exaltation of Russian civilisation.

 

 

| 08/02/2022
| RUSSIA
by Vladimir Rozanskij

The Kremlin glosses over a meeting between Putin and Kadyrov. The Russian tsar seems incapable of containing the Islamist excesses of the Chechen satrap. A federal judge and his family have been targeted in Chechnya over allegations of torture in local prisons.

| 07/02/2022
| RUSSIA
by Marta Ottaviani

The US operation that took out al-Baghdadi's successor relied on local intelligence, Turkish assistance, as well as the support of other jihadi groups who had an interest in his elimination. For Syrian journalist, a Salafi group, Hay’at Tahrir al-Sham, might be behind it but will never admit it. Civilians are paying the price for the violence.

| 04/02/2022
| SYRIA – TURKEY

On Pope Francis and Imam al-Tayeb issue another plead, Bishop Hinder looks at the tensions that still inflame the region. Ending conflicts remains a “long journey” amid an emerging feeling of “vulnerability”. The Document on Human Fraternity is an “important reference point" for people in power.

| 04/02/2022
| UNITED ARAB EMIRATES - VATICAN

The Pontiff has released a video message for the 2nd UN International Day of Human Fraternity, which is being celebrated on the anniversary of the signing of the Abu Dhabi Declaration. He urges people to build a barrier "against hatred, violence and injustice". The imam of al-Azhar addresses Francis, calling him a "courageous companion" on the path "of fraternity and peace". Biden's letter: problems cannot be solved "by one single nation, or one single group".

| 04/02/2022
| VATICAN - UNITED ARAB EMIRATES
by Steve Suwannarat

Mudzrimar, the number two of the Philippines-based Islamist group, is seeking refuge in Sabah and could reactivate local allied groups. Malaysia is also deploying special teams on horseback along the border with southern Thailand, where local Muslim secessionist groups operate.

 

| 03/02/2022
| MALAYSIA
by Sumon Corraya

His son testified last year against a Muslim man in a rape case involving a neighbour who was attacked while she was alone in her home. Local Catholics are outraged and pained by the event. “We Christians are citizens of this country, but they persecute us because we are a minority,” lamented one protester.

| 02/02/2022
| BANGLADESH
by Mathias Hariyadi

The vice-president of the Council of Muslim Theologians said he was against the opening of the museum, proposed by the local Jewish community. The German ambassador to Indonesia was present at the opening. Many Indonesian Jews, however, still prefer not to go public about their faith.

 

 

 

| 02/02/2022
| INDONESIA

Using the #HomeDetainees hashtag, the Twitter campaign is aimed at raising awareness about the conditions of women, targeting the male guardianship system (husband, father or brother). Women inside and outside the country share experiences of suffering. For many, the home is “a woman’s grave and man’s paradise”.

| 01/02/2022
| SAUDI ARABIA

Fake papers have become a “booming industry”. A network run by an Uzbek is using an encrypted Telegram channel to recruit customers. Forged passports can cost up to US$ 15,000 and are increasingly hard to detect. Istanbul International Airport is the take off point.

| 31/01/2022
| TURKEY
by Shafique Khokhar

The pastor was dead yesterday as he returned home after Sunday liturgy in the province closest to the border with Afghanistan. Minorities say after the ceasefire with the Taliban, the government does nothing to protect them. Archbishop Travas of Karachi: "Immediate and serious measures must be taken against those who undermine peace and harmony".

| 31/01/2022
| PAKISTAN
by Fady Noun

The Dutch-born missionary died in 1985 “in hatred of the faith”. In spite of dangers and war, he pursued his mission like the Tibhirine monks (Algeria). Healing divisions was his greatest challenge. His work sparked a vendetta by pro-Syrian, leftist and Shia parties.

| 28/01/2022
| LEBANON
by Dario Salvi

The education system is one of the pillars of society, the pandemic has highlighted its limitations. A multi-factorial crisis, aggravated by a corrupt political system. Rethinking the state budget and adjusting salaries, supporting families. Catholic institutions excel in education. An interview with Professor Gisèle Michel Ayoub for the AsiaNews campaign.

| 27/01/2022
| LEBANON

Citing sources, the prelate reports that the situation seems to be improving after “fierce fighting”. The jihadi raid sought to free jailed militants and their families. Fears are growing over the fate of 850 children trapped in the prison. At least 150 people have died since the attack began.

| 25/01/2022
| SYRIA

UN Secretary General: escalation "must be stopped". For Médecins Sans Frontières it was "a terrible act of violence", "other attacks" reported. Saudi fighter jets strike in Hudaydah, killing three children. According to initial information, at least 70 people were killed and 200 wounded, but the toll is likely to rise.

| 22/01/2022
| YEMEN
by Sumon Corraya

A vocation born looking at the words and works of the priests of the institute. The ordination presided by the Archbishop of Milan and the destination of the Land of the Rising Sun. 800 people present t the thanksgiving Mass in his home diocese, including 150 Muslims: 'In my village,' he says, 'we live in friendship and fraternal relations. 

 

 

| 22/01/2022
| BANGLADESH- JAPAN
by Shafique Khokhar

The dead include a nine-year-old girl. Some of the wounded are in critical condition. The explosion hit the Anarkali Bazaar, one of the most crowded places in the metropolis. The government suspends the ceasefire with the TTP, maximum alert in at least five cities for new attacks.

 

 

| 21/01/2022
| PAKISTAN
by Shafique Khokhar

This is the second case in a week in which capital punishment is imposed for violations of controversial blasphemy rules. The young woman was also sentenced to 24 years in prison and fined 200,000 rupees. She apparently used certain apps to share pictures of Muslim religious figures on social media. A friend of hers turned her in. According to some rumours, he took his revenge against her after being spurned.

| 20/01/2022
| PAKISTAN
by Mathias Hariyadi

The East Jakarta District Court sentenced Arif Sunarso yesterday. On the run for 18 years, he also played a key role in some attacks in the Philippines in the early 2000s.

| 20/01/2022
| INDONESIA

The journalist and director of Agos was shot dead on 19 January 2007. The contours of the story remain obscure, in a climate of impunity. The appeal of the Turkish Journalists Association. AsiaNews source: a man with a "deeply Christian and civilised" outlook, who created "embarrassment" for the parties involved. 

 

| 19/01/2022
| TURKEY - ARMENIA

A prayer hall was discovered during excavation at the mosque destroyed during the battle between the Islamic State and Iraqi forces. The discovery includes a prayer hall, columns and four rooms for ablutions. The findings date back to before the 12th century. Some experts speculate that they may belong to the Church of the Forty Martyrs.

| 19/01/2022
| IRAQ
by Shafique Khokhar

Zafar Bhatti has been in prison since 2012. Despite his claims of innocence, a judge who reviewed the Christian man’s sentence decided to change it to a death sentence. His desperate family is calling for prayers.  He “was framed” unfairly, and “People have made several attempts to convert Zafar and have him set free, but he is strong in his faith”.

| 18/01/2022
| PAKISTAN
by Mathias Hariyadi

A Muslim believer later identified as H.F. threw away a traditional Hindu religious offering. The video of the gesture went viral. Protests and demonstrations have been organised against radical groups, which consider sesajen illegal. 

 

| 17/01/2022
| INDONESIA
by Marta Ottaviani

Turkey invested a lot in Kazakhstan in recent years, not only in economic terms. Nazarbayev’s regime pulled the country away from Russian influence in favour of a Turkic-oriented nation-building process; now the call to CSTO troops will test the power relationship with Moscow.

| 15/01/2022
| TURKEY - KAZAKHSTAN

The country is increasingly exposed to austerity. The forecasts for 2022 point to higher inflation, above last year’s rate of 36 per cent, a record since Erdogan came to power. By raising taxes on alcohol and tobacco, the government winks at Islamic radicals, but further cuts spending.

| 13/01/2022
| TURKEY
by Mathias Hariyadi

The country's largest Islamic organization has said that "it is not morally right" to take land from those who do not have a certificate of ownership. The document is essential in Indonesia, but has so far remained the preserve of the rich. 

| 13/01/2022
| INDONESIA

This is a positive sign even though Rev Matthias Abdulreza Ali Haghnejad and eight members of the Church of Iran still face a review of their trial. For religious advocacy group, the charges are unfounded; those involved simply exercised their right to freedom of worship. A number of Christian inmates enjoy a 10-day leave at Christmas.

| 11/01/2022
| IRAN

Amir Khan Muttaqi and his Iranian counterpart Hussain Amir Abdullahian reach trade agreement. Islamic Republic had already discussed shipment of food and medicine with India through Chabahar port. Taliban delegation offers opposition leaders safe return home, but government critics are arrested.

 

| 10/01/2022
| AFGHANISTAN - IRAN
by Shafique Khokhar

In a historic ruling for Pakistan,  Nadeem Samson,  jailed over a rent dispute, has bbeen released on bail. However, the chances of him being found innocent have not increased. According to lawyer Saif ul Malook, the decision could serve as a precedent for other victims.

 

 

| 08/01/2022
| PAKISTAN
by Steve Suwannarat

Two arrests last November highlighted how the al-Qaeda-linked group has consolidated its political wing. Its recruitment and proselytising activities have been reduced, but the group has an estimated six to seven thousand members.

| 07/01/2022
| INDONESIA

A symposium on "John Paul II and Lebanon” on 2-3 February provides the Holy See’s top diplomat with a venue to organise the trip, which could take place between the country’s legislative and presidential elections in May and October respectively, if stability and security are ensured. “Now it's up to the Lebanese,” a source said.

| 05/01/2022
| LEBANON

Charges include genocide, torture, rape and crimes against humanity. The action follows inaction by international bodies. Turkish citizens are among the Uyghurs imprisoned in China. The initiative will have little practical effect, but it creates a political problem for Erdogan.

| 05/01/2022
| CHINA – TURKEY
by Vladimir Rozanskij

A Chechen officer's Instagram posts recall the days when his people "exterminated" Russian federals. Chechnya is already a "state within a state." Tatar and Ingush opposition to Putin's patriotic centralism. Stabilization of the Ukrainian front needed to contain internal threats.

 

 

| 05/01/2022
| RUSSIA
by Shafique Khokhar

In his message to the faithful at the beginning of the year, the prelate invites courage to continue with "renewed hope". Taking up the Pope's admonition, he recalls that it is the duty of all to pay attention "to the least among us". Promote justice "with forgiveness." Create "harmony" with a positive attitude, which unites. 

| 05/01/2022
| PAKISTAN

Pakistan’s foreign minister reiterated his country’s border policy yesterday. Recently, Afghan Taliban dismantled part of the fence dividing the two countries. Since the Taliban seized Kabul again, thousands of fanatics have poured into the Islamic Emirate. Attacks by the Pakistani Taliban and the Islamic State rose considerably in 2021.

| 04/01/2022
| PAKISTAN – AFGHANISTAN
by Sumon Corraya

The gang-rape took place on 28 December. The perpetrators (who are known) are still at large. Despite formal complaints, police have not yet taken action because of pressure from rapists’ families. The Bangladesh Garo Adibashi League and St Peter's school Protest staged a protest.

| 04/01/2022
| BANGLADESH
by Kamel Abderrahmani

Having fled Mobutu's dictatorship, he converted from Christianity in 2004. In his messages, he vigorously defends his faith, but the lyrics and videos of his songs - which have sold millions of records - make extensive use of alcohol and scantily clad women. The invective on "Happy New Year" wishes is more a matter of internal political struggle than a defence of religion. 

 

 

| 04/01/2022
| FRANCE - ISLAM

Change must start in families, churches, mosques, schools and the media. Differences must be preserved and values ​​such as "love, tolerance and forgiveness" must be strengthened. Extremists exploit religion for political and economic ends. The fragmentation and dispersion of society must be fought.

 

| 03/01/2022
| IRAQ
by Shafique Khokhar

Archbishop Sebastian Shaw and Aid to the Church in Need have helped Christians released from prison start their own small businesses. They were accused of killing two Muslims after the 2015 Easter attacks. For Fr Francis Gulzar, “Those who received this help are called to promote harmony by helping others in their time of need.”

| 03/01/2022
| PAKISTAN

Saydul Amin is accused of trading drugs. In fact, his persecution began when he revealed his faith. The young man had also been harassed by the Arakan Rohingya Salvation Army earlier this year.

 

 

 

| 30/12/2021
| BANGLADESH

Today's headlines: Japanese expatriates in Taiwan are studying escape routes in the event of a Beijing attack on the island; Omicron alert, Riyadh reimposes social distancing measures at Mecca and Medina; on Christmas Eve, Vietnamese authorities attacked dozens of Montagnard Christians; the Russian Duma introduces a committee for the defence of Christian values. 

| 30/12/2021
| ASIA TODAY

Mostly for labour rights, but also for basic resources such as water. 299 death row inmates executed. Abuses and violations against ethnic and religious minorities, convictions for "propaganda against the regime". Christian detainees granted a 10-day permit to celebrate Christmas with their families. 

| 30/12/2021
| IRAN
by Fady Noun

Ten months from the end of his mandate, the president calls for a “conference of national dialogue”. The two central points are Hezbollah's arsenal and administrative and fiscal federalism. For the president, the country’s unity is at stake. The next parliamentary elections should be a kind of referendum on change.

 

| 28/12/2021
| LEBANON

MDLBeast Soundstorm, a four-day electronic music event, a first in the Wahhabi kingdom. Young men and women dance side by side, stopping at the moment of Islamic prayer. HRW critical and recalls abuses and human rights violations. Muslims abroad also slam behaviour contrary to morality in the land of Mecca and Medina. 

| 28/12/2021
| SAUDI ARABIA

Since 2012, Vesco served as bishop of Oran, where Mgr Pierre Claverie was martyred. The 59-year-old Dominican will head a frontier Church in daily dialogue with Islam. “I entrust everything to God’s grace.”

| 27/12/2021
| ALGERIA – VATICAN
by Mathias Hariyadi

Yahya Cholis Staquf was elected during the 34th national conference in Lampung, Sumatra. He is 55 years old and the son of a religious leader who was a former member of the NU and the elder brother of the Minister for Religious Affairs. Msgr Agus, a friend of Staquf who accompanied him on a visit to the Vatican, expresses his happiness. Staquf was attacked over a trip to Israel and meeting with Netanyahu. 

| 27/12/2021
| INDONESIA

In his Christmas message to the faithful, the cardinal underlines a charged climate full of ethnic and confessional "tensions and conflicts". These are compounded by pollution, climate change and the Covid-19 pandemic. The birth of Christ renews hope and enthusiasm, a "special" time for reconciliation and fraternal relations. 

| 24/12/2021
| IRAQ

The Syrian Observatory for Human Rights reported a steady decline in recent years. This year, 1,505 civilians were killed, including 360 children. Some 297 people were killed by anti-personnel mines and explosive devices. Human rights groups say that the situation remains critical, unsuited for the return of refugees.

| 23/12/2021
| SYRIA
by Shafique Khokhar

A Muslim man entered and broke statues of deities. He was stopped by local residents and handed over to the police. Shortly afterwards, the Hindu community gathered in the square to demand greater protection from the government.

| 22/12/2021
| PAKISTAN

On the Fourth Sunday of Advent, Msgr. Massimiliano Palinuro celebrated the inaugural Mass for the beginning of his pastoral ministry. He recalled his predecessor, Msgr. Tierrablanca one year after his death. St. John XXIII an example of mission on Turkish soil. A religion "without love" becomes "dangerous ideology". 

 

 

 

| 22/12/2021
| TURKEY

The local Catholic community has obtained the Izin Mendirikan Bangunan, the document required to build new places of worship. For years, Christians in the capital have gathered in parish halls and faced protests from Muslims.

 

 

 

| 21/12/2021
| INDONESIA

Ali Abu Luhum, 38, was convicted of using two anonymous twitter accounts to reject religion and promote atheism. This included denying God and posting content that endangered public order. The Saudis allegedly used Pegasus software to influence a UN panel investigating the kingdom’s involvement in Yemen.

| 20/12/2021
| SAUDI ARABIA

Patriarch Sako invites people of "good will", Christians and Muslims, to observe the day tomorrow and "wisely" for "peace and stability" and the construction of "a true democratic state". The Archdiocese of Baghdad distributes basic necessities and a sum of money to a thousand needy families. 

 

| 20/12/2021
| IRAQ
by Steve Suwannarat

Local elections today in the northern Borneo state, which has been part of the Malaysian federation since 1962 and where only 25% of the population is Muslim. The economy weighs heavily with the local GDP lagging and poverty climbing among the most disadvantaged sectors of the population.

 

| 18/12/2021
| MALAYSIA

Sixty-four out of 65 reporters kidnapped this year were in the Mideast. The one exception is a French reporter who went missing in Mali in April. At least 44 kidnappings took place in Syria, 11 in Iraq, and nine in Yemen. This is an all-time high; however, 2021 saw the lowest number of killings in 25 years (46).

| 17/12/2021
| MIDDLE EAST

In his Christmas message, the Maronite archbishop recalls 11 years of war, sanctions, misery and migration. The commitment of the people to live "with dignity" despite the many problems, austerity and long isolation. Families "poor and cold" like in the manger of Bethlehem remain "firm in the faith".  

 

| 17/12/2021
| SYRIA

The Pakistani nun worked in Afghanistan with the Pro Bambini di Kabul association. Yesterday evening, in Milan, she spoke about the suffering of those left in the Taliban-ruled country, stricken by a major humanitarian crisis. “Can you at least take us to Pakistan?” ask some of them. People need wood for heating, medicines. “Prices have risen by perhaps 200 per cent.” in Lesbos too, many Afghans are stranded at the gates of Europe.

| 16/12/2021
| AFGHANISTAN
by Shafique Khokhar

Tariq Pehalwan crashed a wedding party and harassed the women present. After he was removed by Wazir Masih, the owner of the house where celebrations were underway, he came back with a mob, who fired guns, stole money and jewelry, and set the property on fire. The incident took place on 10 December, International Human Rights Day. Christian activists demand justice.

| 15/12/2021
| PAKISTAN

A new opportunity for Gulf Catholics to celebrate after the cathedral in Bahrain. The parish of St. John the Baptist in Ruwais has a capacity for 800  and upstairs a multipurpose center with a capacity for one thousand. Mass will be celebrated every night of the week, three on Fridays. A point of reference for the region's 2,500 faithful, most of whom are migrants. 

 

| 15/12/2021
| UNITED ARAB EMIRATES
by Vladimir Rozanskij

In 2022 the conversion of the ancient Volga Bulgarians population will be remembered. The most important initiative is the construction of a mosque-cathedral in Kazan. Russian Islam has always lived in harmony with Orthodox Christianity.

| 15/12/2021
| RUSSIA

The two countries are ready to appoint envoys to negotiate the normalization of relations. Recognition of genocide remains legitimate, as "moral duty" towards those who lost their lives. The role of the Church in favor of rights, including religious freedom. Defense of identity and fraternity must be points of reference in all dialogue. 

| 14/12/2021
| TURKEY-ARMENIA
by Vladimir Rozanskij

Over 1,000 people deported to Djausdjan province. The move favours their Pashtun supporters in northern Afghanistan. Tribal council convened to resolve the case. Tajikistan and Uzbekistan ask the Taliban government to address the ethnic issue.

 

 

| 14/12/2021
| AFGHANISTAN

According to the UN, from January to September at least one hundred children have died or been injured by mines. Over 1,500 unexploded explosive devices were found in one year. The Chaldean Church calls for large-scale demining. An effective awareness campaign has been promoted among children, Bishop Mekko said.

| 13/12/2021
| IRAQ
by Shafique Khokhar

Nadeem Samson has been in prison since 2017. A new hearing on his possible release is scheduled for tomorrow. The Christian's accusers fabricated a fake Facebook profile to bring charges against him.

 

 

| 13/12/2021
| PAKISTAN
by Fady Noun

The two Lebanese friars were killed "in hatred of the faith" in Turkey between 1915 and 1917. Fr. Léonard Melki suffered beatings and torture for a week before being executed. The celebration in Jal el-Dib will be preceded by a week of processions, Ways of the Cross, evangelical evenings and concerts.

 

| 13/12/2021
| LEBANON

Tehrik-i-Taliban Pakistan pulls out of the agreement reached with the government last month, accusing the latter of failing to live up to its commitments. Pakistani authorities released prisoners, but not those requested by the terrorists. The TPP wants to turn Pakistan into an Islamic state.

| 10/12/2021
| PAKISTAN
by Dario Salvi

Before the war, tourism represented more than 14 per cent of GDP, employing 8.3 per cent of the workforce. Two European tour operators are set to organise trips in 2022. Religious tourism is recovering thanks to Shia pilgrims from Iran, Iraq and Pakistan. For Christian scholar, tourism could jumpstart the economy and renew relations with the outside world.

| 10/12/2021
| SYRIA

Today's headlines: Chinese and Nepalese start work on a Kathmandu-Tibet railway. North Koreans forced to burn garbage to heat homes. "Silent" strike today in Myanmar to protest the junta. Food prices skyrocket in Afghanistan. US combat troops leave Iraq. Pension risk in Kazakhstan.

 

| 10/12/2021
| ASIA TODAY

Today's healines: planrevealedfor invasion of Malaysia from the south of the Philippines . Canada joins diplomatic boycott the Beijing Winter Games. South Korean population expected to collapse. Israel and USA prepare anti-Iranian military exercises. Indian Armed Forces chief dies. Kyrgyz opposition launches parallel parliament.

| 09/12/2021
| ASIA TODAY

The event, organised by the Centre for Social Justice, brought together representatives of Pakistan’s civil society and various religious communities. For Church of Pakistan Bishop Azad Marshall, it is important to go beyond the conference itself and look at root causes.

| 26/11/2021
| PAKISTAN
by Fady Noun

Yesterday's meeting in the Vatican between Pope Francis and Nagib Mikati lasted 30 minutes. Concern for the situation in the country and prayers for "God to save it from all crises". Renewed invitation for an apostolic journey to the Land of the Cedars. Rejection of "hatred, intolerance, oppression in all its forms and in all places". 

| 26/11/2021
| LEBANON - VATICAN

The senior official was elected today during the general assembly in Istanbul. In the past he was Asia representative of the organization, after a long career in the institutions of the Emirates. Activists and NGOs accuse him of having endorsed violence and abuse in prisons. In the past he had called for a modern reform of Interpol. 

 

| 25/11/2021
| TURKEY - UAE
by Alessandra De Poli

Originally from Maharashtra, he is finishing his second doctorate at the prestigious British university. At least 300 million Indians still belong to disadvantaged castes today. And the government could do much more, he tells AsiaNews.

| 24/11/2021
| INDIA

The bottom under the Turkish currency continues to fall with a further 15 per cent decline. Since the start of the year, the lira has lost 42 per cent of its value. President Erdogan insists on interest rate cuts and exports to "win the war of economic independence”, but at home, a rising cost of living is weighing heavily, sparking protests in Istanbul, Ankara, and other cities.

 

| 24/11/2021
| TURKEY

Behind the proclamations of dialogue and development, the shadow of an opaque financial policy revealed by the "Pandora papers". A free zone for laundering dirty money and doing business even used by companies linked to the Iranian Supreme Leader Khamenei. Economic interests outmatch regional, political and confessional issues. 

| 24/11/2021
| UNITED ARAB EMIRATES

Today's headlines: A 20-year-old Hong Kong student activist Tony Chung will have to serve three years and seven months in prison; China's birth rate plummeted in 2020, marriages also at a low; Pakistan grants transit to Indian aid to Afghanistan; Tokyo and Hanoi strengthen military cooperation to counter Beijing. 

| 24/11/2021
| ASIA TODAY

Peaceful protests broke out yesterday in the city of Shahr-e Kord in front of the governor's residence. Other rallies have taken place in Isfahan, central Iran. Many people are getting drinking water from tanker lorries, but there is no water to irrigate farmland. Meanwhile, the government has promised solutions "in the next months.

| 23/11/2021
| IRAN
by Dario Salvi

AsiaNews has gathered the testimonies of some of the 450 young people who participated in the meeting promoted by the Chaldean Church in Baghdad. The hope of overcoming wars, violence and the pandemic. The ideal of belonging to a community at the service of others, including Muslims, in a "spirit of charity". 

| 23/11/2021
| IRAQ
by Shafique Khokhar

In Lahore a Muslim woman has been reported to the police for asking the imam to inform worshippers of the death of a Christian living in the area. Ilyas Samuel, a human rights activist: "The Pakistani government should seriously consider the issue of the abuse of these rules".

 

| 23/11/2021
| PAKISTAN
by Steve Suwannarat

An online petition has collected so far over 20,000 signatures. Critics slam extra-busy exam schedule as well as back-to-back papers in different subjects. The Education Ministry’s timetable might be driven by the government’s wish to capitalise on recent political success.

| 22/11/2021
| MALAYSIA
by Fady Noun

A collapsing country celebrates independence. In the last two months hundreds of thousands of citizens have crossed the threshold of extreme poverty. The cost of medicines  skyrocket, like petrol and baby milk. Hector Hajjar: possible closures due to lack of funds, the depreciation of the lira weighs heavily. An AsiaNews' campaign in favour of Catholic schools. 

| 22/11/2021
| LEBANON
by Anna Pozzi

The last survivor of the 1996 abduction and massacre of Trappist monks died at the age of 97. Humble and discreet, he lived the last years of his life in the monastery in Midelt, Morocco. In a video interview he said: “By staying in Tibhirine we didn't want to be martyrs, but signs of love and hope.”

| 22/11/2021
| ALGERIA - ISLAM

Today there are only 22 institutes linked to the Greek, Armenian and Jewish communities.The estimate needs at over three million euros to be allocated in the 2022 state budget. The request made by an Armenian MP was rejected by the Parliament with a contrary vote of the government majority. Institutional crisis linked to the collapse of minorities. 

 

| 20/11/2021
| TURKEY
by Shafique Khokhar

Saad Rizvi was released from prison following agreements signed between the government and the Islamist party. The ban against the formation was also removed. Pastor Javed Maish: "TLP guilty of the death of several people".

| 19/11/2021
| PAKISTAN
by Hocine Drouiche*

Hocine Drouiche urges a revision of Muslim doctrine. The hadiths added at a later stage, which have become a source of hatred and fundamentalist propaganda, must be removed. To counter this drift, "humanity, objectivity, rectitude" and "courage" are needed. 

| 19/11/2021
| ISLAM - FRANCE

Today's headlines: Burmese junta arrests former Democratic MP and hip-hop star. Japan launches record 431 billion euro stimulus. Military talks between China and India on border issue resume. Alibaba's stock market plunge. Moscow wants to send prisoners to work at the North Pole. Collapse of the Turkish lira: the opposition calls for early elections.

| 19/11/2021
| ASIA TODAY
by Dario Salvi

The economic crisis is threatening to sink the educational system of the Land of the Cedars and the secular network of over 300 institutes linked to the Church. Funds are needed for teachers' salaries and to support costs, from electricity to heating. Fr Youssef: the new phenomenon of school drop-outs emerges, we must urgently protect schools to support the mission.

| 18/11/2021
| LEBANON
by Sumon Corraya

According to statisticians, with the increase in population there should have been 20.2 million, but instead there are only 12.7 million. Among the causes are emigration due to discrimination and a high mortality rate due to poor living conditions. Bangladesh Hindu Buddhist Christian Unity Council: "In 1971 we did not fight to create an Islamic state".

 

 

 

 

| 18/11/2021
| BANGLADESH

The Afghan central bank’s reserves are blocked in the United States. A Taliban official writes to the US Congress. Half of the population is already suffering from malnutrition while little snow is forecast this winter, with a probable drought come spring. Local sources tell AsiaNews that investments in development projects are needed to avoid doubling the number of people needing emergency aid next year. However, international donors fear UN sanctions.

| 18/11/2021
| AFGHANISTAN

For Rifaat Ali al-Assad, a relative of President Bashar al-Assad, the bombs proved useful against the regime’s enemies and opponents. According to activist groups, the army used them 82,000 times, killing over 11,000 civilians, including 1,821 children and 1,780 women. In 93 attacks the devices were filled with poisonous gas or chemicals.

| 18/11/2021
| SYRIA
by Vladimir Rozanskij

Chechen authorities speak of a 92% vaccination rate. Activists denounce coercive methods: those who refuse the vaccine risk dismissal. Local doctors propose Islamic medicine.  Muslims believe that "through illness Allah purifies from sins". In Tatarstan no-vaxers locked up in asylums.

 

 

| 18/11/2021
| RUSSIA

Today's headlines: Chinese coast guard blocks Philippine ships in the South China Sea. Gang smuggling lumber between Russia and China busted. Taiwan launches upgraded version of F-16 fighter jet. Covid-19 infection spike in South Korea. Explosion with riots in Shiite neighborhood of Kabul. Egypt and Qatar in aid of Gaza.

| 18/11/2021
| ASIA TODAY

Some 450 young men and women from seven dioceses in the country, from north to south, will meet in Baghdad from 18 to 20 November for a moment of discussion and prayer. A message of trust and hope for the future comes from the Chaldean Church. The testimony of young priests and nuns will nourish the desire for vocation.

| 17/11/2021
| IRAQ
by Shafique Khokhar

Rasulan Bibi, 65, allegedly stole 5,000 rupees from a Muslim family. After five months, the case seems to have been solved thanks to the intervention of some activists. Police officers had been told not to consider the case.

 

 

| 17/11/2021
| PAKISTAN
by Vladimir Rozanskij

The World Uyghur Congress calls for a boycott of the Beijing Winter Olympics. Violence also against Kazakh citizens. Tales of forced sterilisations. Prisoners tortured to death in Chinese concentration camps.

 

 

| 17/11/2021
| CHINA-CENTRAL ASEAN

Today's headlines: UAE announces purchase of South Korean anti-missile system. US and China agree on visas for journalists. Japan tests first self-driving superfast train. Protests in Kazakhstan over high prices. India reopens export of Covid vaccines. Tensions between Indonesia and Vietnam over fishing rights.

| 17/11/2021
| ASIA TODAY

In conjunction with the International Day of Tolerance, the Italian Pavilion hosts the Global Interfaith Summit. Emirati Minister: values part of "global society" and "daily life". Bishop Hinder recalls the saint of Assisi and the document signed by the Pope and the Imam. "Seeking" one's brother and sister.

| 16/11/2021
| UNITED ARAB EMIRATES
by Fady Noun

The APECL’s 54th ordinary session was held in Bkerké from 8 to 13 November. The prelates renewed their support for the "national initiative" promoted by Card Al-Rahi on neutrality and the UN conference. A "dialogue of love and truth" among Lebanese is needed. For Caritas Lebanon president, “it is difficult to distinguish who is in need from who is poor”.

| 16/11/2021
| LEBANON

Today's headlines: Kuwait "pardons" three political dissidents; China imprisons a blogger for "insulting" dead Chinese soldiers on the border with India; Journalist Danny Fenster freed in Myanmar; Hindu radicals attack the home of former Indian Foreign Minister Salman Khurshid.

| 16/11/2021
| ASIA TODAY
by Shafique Khokhar

Rwadari Tehreek, a movement fighting for religious tolerance in Pakistan, held a rally against the parliamentary committee that recently rejected a pro-minorities bill. This proves “once again that the screams and cries of minority communities are being ignored,” says activist.

| 15/11/2021
| PAKISTAN

Ankara's air raids have stopped tourism after a phase of recovery, emptied the fields and blocked work in the factories. The sound of drones patrolling the territory and mapping out the terrain for attacks. Needs remain great among the local population and refugee families. AsiaNews' campaign for the Christians of Mosul continues. 

| 15/11/2021
| IRAQ - TURKEY
by Mathias Hariyadi

A member of the HKBP in Amansari was targeted. Behind the violence, extremist groups suspect that the house was being used as a place of worship. Advisor to the Minister for Religious Affairs: "Gestures contrary to the principles" of all religions. The Synod of the Protestant Church calls for justice and religious freedom. 

 

 

| 15/11/2021
| INDONESIA

In the headlines today: A new Covid outbreak in China; expectations ahead of the virtual meeting between Xi and Biden. Japan's economy declines sharply. Two journalists arrested in India for reporting on clashes in Tripura. Kabul mediates truce between Islamabad and Pakistani Taliban. Israel and the US launch partnerships against ransomware. Schism in the Russian Orthodox Church.

| 15/11/2021
| ASIA TODAY

The United States and Qatar have signed an agreement to formally recognise the emirate's role vis-à-vis the Taliban. This will allow further evacuations of at-risk Afghans, and offer a channel for humanitarian aid to a country on its knees. UNICEF official warns that the situation is such that some families are “offering daughters as young as 20 days old”.

| 13/11/2021
| AFGHANISTAN
by Mathias Hariyadi

Indonesian clerics say they are to be prohibited. They can be used if they comply with certain terms and conditions of Islamic law. The Ijtima Ulama Forum yesterday clarified the contents of the fatwa.

 

| 12/11/2021
| INDONESIA

Today's headlines: Beijing wants to introduce mental screening for students; Israeli couple arrested in Turkey for photographing Erdogan's residence; controversy in Russia over the "mandatory, but not forced" introduction of the QR-Code; Damascus and Abu Dhabi sign a solar power agreement. 

| 12/11/2021
| ASIA TODAY
by Shafique Khokhar

Mareeb Abbas went missing on 2 November and was in all likelihood taken to Balochistan. Her mother is hospitalised. The parish priest in Sahiwal calls for a law to “protect minorities”.

 

| 11/11/2021
| PAKISTAN

800 thousand registered Afghans live in the Islamic Republic and over three million undocumented; since the return to power of the Taliban at least 300 thousand people have left the country to seek shelter across the border. Tehran responds to the entries with push backs, expulsions, alleged abuse and violence. 

 

 

| 11/11/2021
| IRAN - AFGHANISTAN

The victim is Rasha Abdullah, 27, who died after a bomb placed in her car blew up. Her husband, who was wounded, blames Houthis. He believes they were looking for his home address for some time. In Hudaydah, Saudi planes violated the ceasefire at least 172 times in 24 hours.

| 10/11/2021
| YEMEN
by Fady Noun

The 54th extraordinary session of the assembly of Catholic patriarchs and bishops is scheduled to take place in the patriarchal see of Bkerké from November 8 to 13. Maronite primate's attack on Hezbollah, responsible for political and governmental stalemate. The unity of the nation in danger. Catholic education in its identity and mission. 

 

| 10/11/2021
| LEBANON

Today's headlines: A "virtual summit" between Joe Biden and Xi Jinping next week; The Burmese junta indicts a US journalist for "sedition and terrorism"; China stages drills near Taiwan in response to US congressional delegation visit; The E-economy booms in Southeast Asia. 

| 10/11/2021
| ASIA TODAY

In a message signed by Card Parolin, the pontiff expresses “his prayerful closeness" to al-Kadhimi and the wounded. He also reiterated his solidarity to the country's government so that it may pursue "the path of peace". Meanwhile, Iraqi security forces arrested three people in connection with the attack, members of an armed Shia faction.

| 09/11/2021
| IRAQ – VATICAN
by Sumon Corraya

After sending his children away for their safety, Douglas Andrew Rodrigues reported the situation live on Facebook. However, the intimidation against him continues.

 

| 09/11/2021
| BANGLADESH

The day's news: In India, four newborn babies die in a hospital fire; China offers money for information in the fight against the new coronavirus; Pyongyang forges death certificates to remain 'Covid-free'; Pakistan signs ceasefire with Taliban.

| 09/11/2021
| ASIA TODAY

Haftar reportedly made a stop on 1 November on his way back to Libya from Dubai, delivering a message from his father asking for help in return for normalising relations with, in the background, the Abraham Accords and the region’s balance of alliances.

| 08/11/2021
| ISRAEL – LIBYA
by Alessandra De Poli

The story of a Hazara exile who created a foundation in Daykundi in honor of his fiancée who was killed in an attack. "We wanted to fight against the oblivion of memory, but the Taliban destroyed everything". Now in Italy, he is looking for a means to help his sister study. 

 

 

 

| 08/11/2021
| AFGHANISTAN
by Vladimir Rozanskij

President Mirziyoyev has adopted a more permissive policy toward Islam. Taliban influence from neighboring Afghanistan. The government favors religious radicalization, even if it arrests some extremists for demonstration purposes.

 

 

| 08/11/2021
| UZBEKISTAN

Today's news: Emirates opens to marriage, divorce and joint custody for non-Muslims, tensions between Delhi and Islamabad over the killing of an Indian fisherman, Thailand rejects calls for amendment to "lese majesty" law.

 

| 08/11/2021
| ASIA TODAY

The Kurdish fighters are considered terrorists by the Turks (and part of the West). The movement's leaders are calling, in vain, for an international enquiry. AsiaNews Source: "Partly true", the mountainous places on the Iraqi side where they take refuge "cannot be attacked with conventional weapons".

| 06/11/2021
| IRAQ - TURKEY
by Vladimir Rozanskij

In the coming days the "Turkish Council", which gathers Ankara and the post-Soviet republics of Central Asia, will meet. Erdogan wants to turn it into a "Turkish Union". Kyrgyz wooed with commercial promises and combat drones. Moscow's irritation.

| 05/11/2021
| KYRGYZSTAN-TURKEY

In an open letter to the White House, 47 NGOs stress that the policy of "maximum pressure" with Tehran does not work. Their impact only ends up hindering the fight against Covid-19 and impoverishing the population. NIAC president: no time to lose, in front of "dangerous" escalation

| 05/11/2021
| IRAN - UNITED STATES
by Shafique Khokhar

At least nine people are wounded, three hospitalised in critical conditions. The attackers have not been arrested. In Trikhani, Christian families have repeatedly refused to sell the lands given to their ancestors by missionaries.

 

| 04/11/2021
| PAKISTAN

About 80 per cent of Syrians live below the poverty line and 60 per cent experience food insecurity. Bombs were "more bearable than current poverty". Nabil Antaki notes that thousands of young people have left the country and those who return see only "sad faces". The Marists are involved in many initiatives of solidarity.

| 04/11/2021
| SYRIA

Israel’s Peace Now group reports on the first six months of the new government, noting that it is not living up to its pledge not to change the status quo. Instead, settlement activities in the Occupied Territories are up, and so is settler violence. in order to keep an Arab party on board, the government is authorising more housing and electricity for Bedouin communities.

| 03/11/2021
| ISRAEL – PALESTINE

Imran Khan’s government has concluded negotiations with Tehreek-i-Labbaik Pakistan, the country's radical Islamist party, to end recent protests. More than 2,000 party members have been released from prison. Observers criticise the government for its failure to revive the country’s economy.

| 03/11/2021
| PAKISTAN
by Vladimir Rozanskij

Nuriddin Kholiknazarov has the qualities to heal the country's divisions. A figure of interest to societies throughout Central Asia. He is supported by Uzbek President Mirziyoyev. A moderate believer who opposes Taliban fanaticism.

 

 

| 03/11/2021
| UZBEKISTAN
by Fady Noun

The Saudis, Emirates, Kuwait and Bahrain have withdrawn their ambassadors and broken off relations with Lebanon. Dispute fuelled by the Lebanese Information Minister's accusations against Riyadh over the war in Yemen. President and Prime Minister call for Cordhai's resignation, who may enjoy the political protection of a part of the Christian world (and Hezbollah). The fears of the Vatican. 

 

 

 

| 03/11/2021
| LEBANON - SAUDI ARABIA
by Shafique Khokhar

Stephen Masih, who is mentally disabled, has been deemed unfit to stand trial by the Punjab Institute of Mental Health. He was arrested in March 2019 after an argument with his neighbour.

| 02/11/2021
| PAKISTAN
by Hosein Alizade

In the streets of Tehran and other major cities, groups of children as young as three beg, clean car windows, and pick up rubbish, often pushed by their own families, unable to meet their needs. Estimates range from four to seven million child workers. Neither the government nor parliament have been able to act on the matter.

| 02/11/2021
| IRAN
by Vladimir Rozanskij

In the most recent episode, ethnic Kazakh and Uyghur youths clashed on the border with China. The authorities down play the incident, but the division between the various nationalities is growing. Recently, there have also been fights between Kazakhs and the Dungan minority. The majority group supports the concept of "Kazakh sovereignty".

 

| 02/11/2021
| KAZAKHSTAN

The prefect of the Congregation for the Oriental Churches is on an official visit to the Arab country from 25 October to 3 November. This includes meetings with the authorities and faithful, prayers and solidarity initiatives. For Fr. Ibrahim, his presence “is a call to remain rooted in this land”, despite an exodus that reduced the Christian population to a quarter.

 

| 29/10/2021
| SYRIA – VATICAN

31 people are under investigation for videos posted online; 11 have been arrested and 7 already repatriated. The clash originated from a protest by a Turkish citizen who, due to the crisis, says he cannot even afford bananas. The Turkish ruling class, majority and opposition,after years of welcoming refugees in the name of Islam wants to send them back to Syria. 

 

| 29/10/2021
| TURKEY - SYRIA

For Israeli Minister Omer Bar-Lev, the event had direct links with the Palestinian Authority. In reality, the three-day festival was supported by France and Austria as part of a UN programme. For Catholic leaders, the cancellation is a "harsh, unjustifiable decision”. Meanwhile, Muslims continue to protest over the demolition of part of the Islamic al- Yusufiyah cemetery.

 

| 28/10/2021
| ISRAEL – PALESTINE
by Fady Noun

The political controversy around the violence of 14 October continues. The leader of the Lebanese Forces fails to heed the summons by the Military Tribunal and rejects Judge Fadi Akiki. A head-on clash with Hezbollah and Amal has paralysed Nagib Mikati’s new government. Maronite patriarch defends Geagea.

| 27/10/2021
| LEBANON

Security sources say the jihadists struck "unarmed civilians" after an attempted kidnapping. A woman also died. The authorities have sealed off the area and begun rounding up operations. According to a UN report there are still 10,000 militiamen active between Syria and Iraq. 

 

 

| 27/10/2021
| IRAQ

The attack’s modus operandi is similar to the one that disrupted Iran’s railway network last July. Motorists trying to buy petrol with their government-issued subsidy cards got instead a "cyberattack 64411" message. The latter refers to the hotline associated with the office of Supreme Leader Khamenei. The images of long queues at stations were seen across the country.

| 26/10/2021
| IRAN
by Shafique Khokhar

Muhammad Saqib wants to kidnap the young girl and marry her against her will. To blackmail her, he sent Shahnawaz Masih, the girl's brother, to prison on false charges. The family lives in hiding and is desperate. There are at least 36 non-Muslim "child brides", of these 21 are Christian. In 2020, cases of forced conversions increased by 177%. 

 

| 26/10/2021
| PAKISTAN

After four years of automatic quarterly renewals, President Abdel Fattah al-Sisi has ended the measure. It granted broad powers to authorities to make arrests and repress individuals or groups. A weapon used in the fight against Isis (and to silence dissent). Move to qualm tourist sector concerns and show the "safe" face of the country. 

| 26/10/2021
| EGYPT
by Vladimir Rozanskij

The two young women were found and returned to their families. They fled to escape the condition of submission imposed by their relatives. Tatar women are freer than Caucasian women, given in marriage at 16-17 and denied access to an education.

 

 

| 26/10/2021
| RUSSIA
by Sumon Corraya

Together, Hindus, Buddhists and Christians call on the government to provide them with greater protection. The Muslim who posted photo on social media that led to clashes was arrested.

| 25/10/2021
| BANGLADESH

According to Israeli Defence Minister Gantz, the targeted groups are linked to the militant group Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine. His decision has been criticised by international NGOs and human rights groups. For Human Rights Watch, it is a “brazen” attack against freedom. B'Tselem calls it a move worthy of “totalitarian regimes”. Over 1,300 new housing units are slated for construction in the West Bank.

| 25/10/2021
| ISRAEL – PALESTINE

Activists denounce attacks against civil society and media. At least 77 cases of violations during the electoral round. Protests also on the Christian vote and those elected. Patriarch and prelates relaunch values of "nation and fraternity". Fundamental need to seek public interest, not party politics. 

| 25/10/2021
| IRAQ

The Chinese are accused of imprisoning 1.8 million Uyghurs, Kazakhs and Kyrgyz in camps. The number of signatories has more than doubled since the first official complaint in 2020. They include Turkey, which is suspected of deporting Uyghur refugees to China in exchange for economic aid. Beijing: "groundless" accusations.

| 23/10/2021
| CHINA
by Fady Noun

He passed away suddenly last October 19 from a heart attack. His life and mission in the sign of Therese of Lisieux and St John Paul II. A late vocation born and cultivated (also) against the wishes of his family. The medal of merit of the Lebanese nation placed on his coffin.

 

| 23/10/2021
| LEBANON
by Shafique Khokhar

Those responsible claim as their own the land where the historic cemetery stands. The authorities have not yet intervened. However, Christians in Banawali received support from Muslims fellow villagers.

| 22/10/2021
| PAKISTAN
by Sumon Corraya

Since 13 October, sectarian violence has intensified and now minorities feel endangered. Catholic man sees no room for minorities, and is ready to leave to protect himself and his family. Investigations are ongoing into the clashes in Chandpur which caused seven deaths.

 

| 22/10/2021
| BANGLADESH

The university, strongly desired by Archbishop Msgr. Warda, was inaugurated at the end of 2015 under the threat of Isis. A screening of interviews with young students as the recount their dreams and aspirations. Chaldean Primate: University "wonderful forum for culture, education, dialogue".

 

 

| 22/10/2021
| IRAQ

The Conference of Latin Bishops of the Arab Regions (CELRA) held its 71st plenary assembly in Abu Dhabi from 18 to 21 October. The Synod, COVID-19 and catechist training were some of the topics discussed at the meeting. For the former patriarchal vicar of Jerusalem, it is necessary to rediscover “the dimension of being together”.

 

| 21/10/2021
| UNITED ARAB EMIRATES

Afghanistan’s humanitarian crisis is getting worse. Hospitals are collapsing without humanitarian aid. Public servants have not been paid for months. Diplomatic activity seems to be leading nowhere.

| 21/10/2021
| AFGHANISTAN

For businesses and workers from the Strip who have completed the vaccination cycle or recovered from Covid-19. Even the Shin Bet, in the past hostile, has approved the decision of the Israeli government. Experts doubt move born of humanitarian concern, but of opportunism, to "gain" time in delaying the next military confrontation with Hamas.

 

 

| 21/10/2021
| ISRAEL - PALESTINE

Last week violence broke out again in Bangladesh after Muslims attacked Hindu homes and temples. Local newspapers criticise the government for "Islamising” the country. Indian editorials back Bangladeshi Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina, and point the finger at radical Islamist groups.

| 20/10/2021
| BANGLADESH – INDIA

Back from a mission to the Mideast country, the UNICEF ​​spokesman speaks out, warning that these official figures do not include unrecorded deaths and injuries. At least 11 million children are in need of humanitarian assistance, their right to an education and childhood denied. The country remains the “most difficult place in the world” in which to grow up.

| 20/10/2021
| YEMEN

The victim is 66-year-old intellectual Musa al-Qarni, who died as a result of serious injuries. He received beatings to the face and head with sharp objects, which resulted in fractures to the skull. He had suffered a heart attack in 2018, but had not received adequate treatment. Prison authorities had branded him mentally ill. 

| 20/10/2021
| SAUDI ARABIA
by Vladimir Rozanskij

The Chinese are reportedly redeveloping an old Soviet outpost near the Wakhan Corridor. The goal is to block terrorist infiltration into Chinese territory. The Afghan Taliban have promised to drive out Uyghur extremists, Beijing's enemies. Russia observes China's moves in the region.

| 20/10/2021
| TAJIKISTAN - CHINA
by Mathias Hariyadi

The ceremony took place in the Diocese of Timika, scene of separatist violence in the past. The bishop of Bandung led the ceremony in lieu of Bishop Murwito still recovering from COVID-19. One of the newly ordained priests is a Jakarta-born ethnic Chinese whose vocation developed in the daily relationship with Papua natives, especially the little ones.

 

| 19/10/2021
| INDONESIA
by Dario Salvi

Twenty-three year old Abdallah Jeldah has made his vows of religious profession. After the novitiate he will enter the Institute of the Incarnate Word (IVE) and continue his studies in Italy, visa permitting. The vocation was born while attending the parish of the Holy Family. The ideal of peace in justice. 

 

 

 

| 19/10/2021
| GAZA

300 people died in the attack on a shopping center in the capital, at the end of the day of fasting. He was arrested in a foreign country, and extradited in recent days. He is responsible for a series of attacks between 2016 and 2017. Defeated militarily, the Islamic State is still active with isolated cells and lone wolves. 

 

| 19/10/2021
| IRAQ
by Fady Noun

Card. Beshara Raï expresses a "firm condemnation" of the violence of October 14. Christians and Muslims must know "the essence and values" of each other's faith, to safeguard coexistence. Condemnation of those who hold the nation hostage (read Hezbollah) for their own interests. Metropolitan Audi urges leaders "restore" the authority of the State. 

 

 

| 18/10/2021
| LEBANON

The activist group collected testimonies and stories of several fleeing families. The Turkish military violates human rights and fuels the suffering of a population already in misery. Smugglers abandon them at the border, while the military turns them away. The appeal to governments and international agencies. 

 

 

 

 

| 18/10/2021
| TURKEY

Security forces allegedly opened fire on a group of young people who were throwing Molotov cocktails on passing cars. In the target a highway near Beit Jala used by Jewish settlers of the area. Even with the Bennet government, the policy of settlement development continues. 

| 15/10/2021
| ISRAEL - PALESTINE
by Dario Salvi

The vote marks the victory of the Shiite nationalist leader, the defeat of pro-Tehran movements and the entry of representatives of the protest movement. Saad Salloum: al-Sadr "even more powerful", fundamental in managing "the balance" of the assembly. Civil society and the protest movement in the institutions will have to "assert their seats". 

 

| 15/10/2021
| IRAQ
by Fady Noun

Snipers killed at least five people at the Tayouneh roundabout, one of the hot spots of Lebanon’s civil war. Judge Bitar’s investigation is at the centre of the tensions. His work is bringing to light the responsibilities of the Shia party in the disaster of August 2020.

 

| 14/10/2021
| LEBANON
by Sumon Corraya

The violence follows the alleged desecration of a Qurʼān during the Hindu festival of Durga Puja. For Bangladesh’s Religious Affairs Minister, restoring peace is the priority, people urged not to take justice in their own hands.

 

| 14/10/2021
| BANGLADESH
by Kamel Abderrahmani

The recipe for the defeat of radicalism in power, is allowing it to reveal its demagogy through a period in government. The example of Morocco, where the Pjd went from 125 to 12 deputies and was beaten at the polls. The end of supremacy after 10 years marked by malfeasance and moralism. The Algerian situation.

 

 

| 14/10/2021
| ALGERIA-MOROCCO
by Melanie Manel Perera

The All Ceylon Jamiyyathul Ulama published a booklet against extremism calling on the faithful to “practise moderation”. Saddened by the 2019 Easter Sunday attacks, they criticise those who instigate hatred and forget the contributions of Muslims to the nation.

| 13/10/2021
| SRI LANKA
by Fady Noun

Taking an alarming turn, the investigation by Judge Bitar has been suspended. According to some sources, his family left the country fearing attacks. Threats from Hezbollah are one factor; the Shia group accuses the senior magistrate of having “politicised the investigation”. President Aoun defends his actions.

| 13/10/2021
| LEBANON

The two countries are close to an agreement for the resumption of official relations. A sign of progressive detente after years of tensions, but obstacles and divisions remain, especially over Yemen. King Salman also calls for "tangible results" to rebuild a climate of "trust" between the two nations. 

 

 

| 13/10/2021
| IRAN - SAUDI ARABIA

The G20 extraordinary meeting on Afghanistan opened today via videoconference to avoid a humanitarian crisis, while the new government in Kabul is asking for financial resources without making concessions in terms of rights. Pakistani Prime Minister Imran Khan calls on Western countries to work together to avoid going back 20 years.

| 12/10/2021
| AFGHANISTAN

The bloc of the radical Shiite leader, enemy of the U.S. and distant from Tehran, wins the largest number of seats and exceeds the result of 2018.  Sunnis and the pro-Iranian coalition of al-Maliki counts losses. Abstentionism weighs heavily, only 41% of eligible voters cast ballots. Four Christian seats (out of five) to the Babylon Movement. Shadows of fraud and manipulation. 

 

| 12/10/2021
| IRAQ
by Shafique Khokar

Pakistani law reserves 5 per cent of jobs for members of minority groups, but 30,000 positions remain vacant. The president of the Bishops' Conference, wants recruitment completed by 2021.

| 12/10/2021
| PAKISTAN

12th report on "Global restrictions on religions" by the Pew Research Center reveals attacks by terrorist groups are decreasing, but restrictions and constraints imposed by the State or government agencies are growing. Christians remain the most persecuted religious group in the world, with at least 153 nations experiencing attacks of various kinds. 

 

| 12/10/2021
| MIDDLE EAST
by Vladimir Rozanskij

Gurbanguly Berdymuhamedov's latest literary effort exalts the country's independence. In reality the population is obliged to buy and read it. Officially, proceeds from "recommended" sales are destined to Islamic charities.

 

 

| 12/10/2021
| TURKMENISTAN
by Shafique Khokhar

The violence followed a row between two families over the irrigation of some fields. Two young Christians died on the spot while others were sent to hospital in critical condition. The Christian community wants justice and protection.

| 11/10/2021
| PAKISTAN

 

The Saudi Public Investment Fund, controlled by bin Salman, has bought 80% of the English team. An updated version of the football war to excel in the region. Criticism from Amnesty International and Khashoggi's widow. For the fans, it is the results on the pitch that count. The silence of the politicians who trade arms worth 10 billion with the Wahhabi kingdom.

 

 

| 09/10/2021
| SAUDI ARABIA

Damming report by the Independent mission wanted by the UN Human Rights Council. The experts analyzed the events that occurred in the conflict from 2016 to the present. Behind payment Ankara would have provided young people between 15 and 18 years old, used in the fighting and as guards. The Turkish government rejects the accusations. 

 

 

| 08/10/2021
| TURKEY - LIBYA
by Vladimir Rozanskij

Further measures introduced after 2016 ban on private religious schools. Government fears spread of extremist ideas. Young people who went abroad for religious studies forcibly repatriated. New clampdown seen by many Tajiks as a violation of religious freedom.

 

 

| 08/10/2021
| TAJIKISTAN
by Dario Salvi

The October 10 election is a "moment of hope" that requires "broad participation". USA, Australia and Europe praise the work of the Independent Electoral Commission. Exchange vote also among Christians, question of quotas for minorities to be reviewed. 

 

 

| 08/10/2021
| IRAQ
by Li Qiang

Some Uyghur intellectuals have been arrested on charges of terrorism and separatism, their whereabouts unknown. At present, more than a thousand Uyghur intellectuals are said to be in prison, their fate uncertain. The US reiterates its criticism of human rights violation in China. A virtual summit between Joe Biden and Xi Jinping is set for the end of the year.

| 07/10/2021
| CHINA

Israeli NGO Impact-se reports Saudi authorities are continuing their work of "moderation and openness" in school books. The definitions of "infidels" and "enemies of God" have been removed. The society remains traditional, gender discrimination and the knot of Zionism remain, but the change is "extraordinary".

 

 

| 07/10/2021
| SAUDI ARABIA - ISLAM

The right to worshipp recognised following a complaint filed by Rabbi Aryeh Lippo. Jordan denounces "serious violation" of the status quo. Palestinian minister attacks: "unprecedented" decision that constitutes a "flagrant aggression". Pressure from the Israeli far right for occupation of the site is increasing.

 

 

| 07/10/2021
| ISRAEL - PALESTINE
by Alessandra De Poli

For expert Muhammad Amir Rana, Pakistan's primary goals are “protection from potential attacks by Delhi” and encouraging Chinese “infrastructure projects”. To this end, the government of Imran Khan is seeking a deal with the TTP, but recent negotiations will lead nowhere. From July to mid-September, 55 attacks against Pakistani security forces were recorded with at least 149 deaths.

| 06/10/2021
| PAKISTAN

Prime Minister Barzani made the announcement during a visit to the area. The decision will be implemented following next Sunday’s Iraqi parliamentary elections. For Archbishop Warda, this is an "important" decision, a “strategic" move to maintain the local Christian presence. For the leaders of the autonomous region, it is a way to attract foreign investments.

| 06/10/2021
| IRAQ
by Fady Noun

Iran’s foreign minister is expected in the Lebanese capital on Thursday. The unexpected visit has no official schedule; meanwhile, the Shia party continues its attacks on Lebanese sovereignty. The cardinal slams the “Meddling with justice” and the investigation into the double explosion at the Port of Beirut.

| 05/10/2021
| LEBANON

Since his accession to the throne he has bought luxury homes in California, London and Washington. A network of companies with offices in tax havens used to hide the real estate transactions . Lawyers defend legality and deny us eof public money. Fears of a new escalation of protests in the Hashemite kingdom. 

 

| 04/10/2021
| JORDAN

The Shia movement led by Moqtada al-Sadr leads ahead of parliamentary elections on 10 October, challenged by pro-Iranian groups. Hitherto hostile to voting, Sunni factions are the dark horse in the race, while Kurds are power brokers. Minorities are weak, Christians included. Iraq’s highest Shia authority, Grand Aytollah Ali Sistani, urges Iraqis to vote.

 

| 02/10/2021
| IRAQ
by Fady Noun

A group renamed "Let's choose life" calls on Mideast Christians to opt for a multifaceted renewal of their presence, centred on the human person and interfaith relations. Unfinished, the revolutions of the Arab Spring failed to produce “democratic” governments. The document on the Human Fraternity signed by the Pope and the Grand Imam of al-Azhar is a milestone for the future.

| 01/10/2021
| LEBANON
by Nirmala Carvaho

Police arrested Rev Charlie John on charges of forced conversion aggravated by monetary inducement. For the president of the Global Council of Indian Christians, the “persecution of minority Christians must stop.”

| 01/10/2021
| INDIA

The office is located on the 29th floor of the Bahrain World Trade Center. Israeli Foreign Minister signposts  a "historic, big step" in the Gulf. Manama declares it an "unequivocal" sign of dialogue, peace and diplomacy in the region. First direct commercial flight and signing of several bilateral agreements between the two countries.

| 01/10/2021
| BAHRAIN - ISRAEL

For the victim’s brother, the Arakan Rohingya Salvation Army feared his popularity, and “often threatened to kill” him. Recent reports point to infiltration by radical Islamists among exiled Rohingya. Following the assassination, Bangladeshi authorities have boosted police presence in all 34 refugee camps on its territory.

| 30/09/2021
| BANGLADESH

The officers opened fire and killed the assailant, originally from Qabatiya, who had tried to stab them with a knife. She had recently left Temple Mount. In Burqin, security forces killed an Islamic Jihad militiaman. On September 28 Jewish settlers attacked a Palestinian village, wounding a child. 

 

 

| 30/09/2021
| ISRAEL PALESTINE
by Dario Salvi

On October 10, the nation will go to the polls for the renewal of Parliament in a climate of mistrust. The new Chamber is called to choose the Prime Minister and the President. There are several unresolved issues, from the death of activists to widespread corruption. Rihan Hanna Ayoub excludes radical changes, but shares the patriarch's appeal for participation. An Afghan scenario for the country is excluded. 

| 30/09/2021
| IRAQ

The highest number of deaths among pro-Iranian Shiite militias, hit by Saudi air raids. Attacks concentrated in the southern sector. Fears of a humanitarian catastrophe are high. Yemeni Prime Minister: a battle that "will determine the future of the country". UN assembly calls for access to Covid vaccines. 

 

 

| 29/09/2021
| YEMEN
by Alessandra De Poli

Fabrizio Cesaretti, local deputy director of FAO, speaks from the Afghan capital. "Agriculture was already on its knees because of the second consecutive year of drought, one person out of three is at serious risk of hunger. October and November planting will be decisive. With the end of the war we are reaching areas that were previously inaccessible, but all projects for adaptation to climate change, which is already showing its effects heavily here, have stopped."

| 28/09/2021
| AFGHANISTAN
by Vladimir Rozanskij

Now she risks being repatriated to Uzbekistan, from where she fled after the 2005 Andijan massacre. A point of reference for all Central Asian migrants. She has accused some Russian officials of corruption. Putin's representative for human rights intervenes to help her.

 

 

| 28/09/2021
| RUSSIA

The Chair and Executive Board Members of the Ankara Bar Association are accused of the crime of "insult". They risk up to two years in prison. Similar proceedings for Diyarbakır lawyers. In a Friday sermon Erdogan's loyalist, Ali Erbaş,  had condemned LGTBI+ and HIV-positive people, calling them deviants.

 

| 28/09/2021
| TURKEY
by Fady Noun

A series of "small miracles" led to a march that brought together Christians and Muslims. A 38-year-old Christian woman launched the idea a few months ago on a social media, generating growing support. The event ended with a Mass at the monastery of St Charbel. A Shia from Jbeil donated banners and flags.

| 27/09/2021
| LEBANON

A summit between the two leaders is scheduled for September 29 in Sochi, on the Black Sea. They will seek a difficult understanding on northwest Syria where there is a new escalation of violence. Russian fighter jets have hit in different points of the province of Idlib: five militiamen dead and 12 wounded among civilians. Ankara strengthens its military presence on the ground. 

 

 

| 27/09/2021
| SYRIA - RUSSIA - TURKEY
by Shafique Khokhar

 

An amendment to a 2001 ordinance threatens to multiply cases of illegal occupation. Christians, Sikhs and Hindus worried about their historic places of prayer. Civil society and religious leaders are calling for the restitution of stolen property.

 

 

| 25/09/2021
| PAKISTAN

Postponed due to the pandemic, it is being celebrated to coincide with the 50th anniversary of the founding of the Emirates. Running from 1 October to 31 March, it offers over 60 events each day. The Apostolic Vicar of Arabia invited among speakers. Doha and Riyadh vying for leadership in the region. Migrants from East and West. 

 

 

| 25/09/2021
| UAE - GULF
by Vladimir Rozanskij

Four Tajiks and one Russian jailed; the others are being sent back to their countries of origin. According to the FSSB, they organised attacks "against the infidels". Together with China and Pakistan, the Kremlin has opened a channel of dialogue with the Afghan Taliban: it could come to regret it.   

 

 

| 25/09/2021
| RUSSIA

After the attack against the Kabul airport, ISKP carried out more bomb attacks in Jalalabad. Taliban leaders are divided over the group’s dangerousness. The latter can field 2,000-3,000 fighters (against 100,000 for the Taliban). Meanwhile, the United States, China, Russia and Pakistan are putting pressure on Afghanistan’s new rulers.

| 24/09/2021
| AFGHANISTAN

Born into a diaspora family, the new patriarch lost his grandparents in the 1915genocide. His orphaned father was welcomed at Castel Gandolfo at the behest of Benedict XV. Raphaël Bedros welcomed Francis during his visit to Armenia in 2016, stressing Armenians’ "debt of gratitude” to the pontiff. When the Pope received the new patriarch, he emphasised the "joy" of the Armenian people.

| 24/09/2021
| ARMENIA - VATICAN
by Sumon Corraya

The 15-year-old was on her way home from school. A man dragged her into the forest to rape her. She was rescued by a rickshaw driver. The community took to the streets demanding greater safety for youth and severe penalties for those who commit such crimes.

| 24/09/2021
| BANGLADESH
by Vladimir Rozanskij

Islamic Republic and Azerbaijanis deploy troops and armaments on the border. Tensions resurfaced in 2018 after US withdrawal from Iranian nuclear deal. Wave of refugees amass  at border with Azerbaijan. Turkey ready to help Baku 'brothers'. The shadow of tensions between Sunnis and Shiites. Azeris want a leading role in the Caucasus.

 

 

| 24/09/2021
| AZERBAIJAN-IRAN

A report by Save the Children denounces the death of at least 62 children since the beginning of 2021. Among the causes are malnutrition, disease, poor sanitary conditions and arson. Two children have been murdered. In the country, infections from Covid have resumed both in government areas and in rebel-held enclaves. 

 

| 23/09/2021
| SYRIA
by Shafique Khokhar

Pakistan’s religious establishment rejects a bill designed to stop kidnappings for the purpose of marriage. For minority leaders, this legitimises coercion and legalises abuses.

 

| 23/09/2021
| PAKISTAN

This morning, Francis met Pary Gul, her children, sons-in-law and grandchildren who were airlifted to Italy in August. She told the pontiff about her husband going missing during days of violence. Thanks to the Meet Human Foundation, they are starting a new life in Italy with the “pope's ring”.

| 22/09/2021
| VATICAN – AFGHANISTAN
by Shafique Khokhar

In a country shaken by the winds of extremism, 200 representatives of different groups and faiths celebrated together International Day of Peace. Activists fight the dominant “culture of hatred” by raising awareness.

| 22/09/2021
| PAKISTAN

Scheduled for November, the visit includes stops in Baghdad, Mosul, Erbil and Najaf. A face to face with Ali al-Sistani is under consideration. Iraq’s postal service has issued stamps commemorating the Pope’s visit and his meeting with Grand Ayatollah Sistani in Najaf. For Chaldean Patriarch Sako, the Pope opened Iraq’s doors to the world and restored the country’s central role.

| 22/09/2021
| IRAQ – EGYPT

The death of activist Nizar Banat and last May's 11 day war in Gaza weigh on popularity. Consensus for Hamas grows: 45% of citizens feel represented by the extremist movement, only 19% by Fatah. Khalil Shikaki: the "worst poll" since the leader came to power. 

 

 

| 22/09/2021
| PALESTINE
by Fady Noun

With 85 votes in favour and 15 against, MPs have given the green light to the new executive. Criticism from Lebanese Forces and some independents. The Hezbollah quandry and the barons who have held on to power for decades cast shadows over change. The goal of elections for May 8. 

 

 

| 21/09/2021
| LEBANON

The brother of Shahbaz Bhatti, the Christian minister of Minorities assassinated ten years ago, looks at the repercussions of the situation created in Afghanistan. Pakistan’s priority will be to defend itself from terrorism. The region is unstable and the problems of Christians are likely to take a back seat. Interfaith dialogue can be a way. “We want to involve like-minded Muslims,” he said. “And the majority of Pakistan must support them, not the West.”

| 20/09/2021
| PAKISTAN – AFGHANISTAN

In his homily at Sunday Mass, the cardinal criticizes an operation that substitutes Shiite militiamen for the state. The invitation to the new government to address and resolve the "deterioration" of the economy and institutions. We need to fight "smuggling" and begin "reforms" to ensure a future for the country, starting with schools. 

 

 

| 20/09/2021
| LEBANON
by Mathias Hariyadi

Ali Kaliora, leader of a terrorist group affiliated with the Islamic State, was killed by a joint task force of the police and the army. Four people managed to escape. The area has long been the scene of violence between Christians and Muslim extremists.

 

 

| 20/09/2021
| INDONESIA

Initially the site in al-Jawf was thought to be 2,000 years old. New research found life-size images of camel carved in red sandstone to date back 8,000 years. Increasingly focusing on tourism, Saudi Arabia plans to build a 50,000-square-metre resort in the al-Baha region. The goal is to reach 10 per cent of GDP.   

| 18/09/2021
| SAUDI ARABIA
by Dario Salvi

Fr Palinuro’s ordination is scheduled for 7 December in a ceremony led by Card Sandri with his entrance in the Cathedral of Holy Spirit 11 days later. Fr Andrea Santoro’s legacy means remembering that evangelization is "a risk" to be taken "without fear" while keeping "doors open". He can start with an established relationship with the ecumenical patriarch while the dialogue with Islam will be a great challenge.

| 17/09/2021
| TURKEY - ITALY
by Fady Noun

A convoy of dozens of tanker trucks crossed the Syrian border at Hermel yesterday morning. The pro-Iranian Shiite movement celebrated the entry as a victory. The crude oil will be distributed to hospitals, nursing homes, orphanages, water plants and the Red Cross. Experts speak of "state conquest" by Hezbollah. 

 

 

| 17/09/2021
| LEBANON - SYRA - IRAN
by Kamel Abderrahmal

A French drone killed the head of terrorist group Islamic State in the Greater Sahara. Russian privateers are moving into the Sahel. jihadism is an ideology much stronger than any individual and must be fought on the ground.

| 17/09/2021
| ISLAM – SAHEL
by Vladimir Rozanskij

Economic aid and commercial opening in exchange for the fight against the network of Fethullah Gülen, Erdogan's arch-enemy. The "Gulenists" have a strong presence in Central Asia. The goal is to bring trade to the billion dollar mark. Expert: the Turks act like masters in Kyrgyzstan.

 

| 16/09/2021
| KYRGYZSTAN-TURKEY

The measure affects some 30 prisoners for crimes of opinion or thought. A recent amendment by the monarch provides for alternative sentences to prison at any time of sentencing. Some detainees had ended up in cells while still underage. Of 3,800 total detainees, at least 1,400 are political prisoners. 

 

| 16/09/2021
| BAHRAIN
by Steve Suwannarat

Malaysia’s new Prime Minister Ismail Sabri Yaakob and his government plan to appeal last week’s High Court ruling overturning a discriminatory law that grants citizenship to children of mixed couples only if the father is Malaysian. For civil society groups, the government’s appeal is a “betrayal of rights”.

| 15/09/2021
| MALAYSIA
by Shafique Khokhar

A Muslim man tried to kidnap Arushma Ejaz in order to convert her and force her into marriage. After a number of intimidatory and violent incidents, her mother turned to the Human Rights Focus Pakistan organisation. The police accepted the First Information Report only after 47 days. The second hearing of the case is set for tomorrow.

| 15/09/2021
| PAKISTAN
by Fady Noun

The 64-yer-old from Chanay is married with four children. He will succeed Sheikh Naim Hassan when the latter’s mandate expires on 5 November. For many he is a man of openness, peace and dialogue, in the spirit of fraternity espoused by Pope Francis. Sources close to Druze leader Walid Jumblatt denounce attempts to "impose" someone close to Syria.

| 15/09/2021
| LEBANON

A document published by a UN panel of experts speaks of worsening violence and human rights violations. Government forces responsible for arbitrary detentions and abuses, even in areas controlled by rebels and extremist groups. A decade after the beginning of the conflict, the parties "continue to perpetrate war crimes". 

 

 

| 15/09/2021
| SYRIA - UN

The new vicar succeeds Bishop Rubén Tierrablanca González, who died in December from COVID-19 after three weeks in intensive care. A fidei donum priest from Italy’s Campania region, Bishop Palinuro has lived in Turkey for nine years. This is excellent news, according to Bishop Bizzeti. The new vicar is an expert, ready to contribute to the growth of “a diocesan Church”.

| 14/09/2021
| TURKEY

Opposition lawmaker slams government claims about positive second quarter economic growth (21.7 per cent). For Veli Ağbaba, neither companies nor shopkeepers have benefit from touted growth. About 35 per cent of closures occurred in the summer after restrictions were eased. No-vax protesters take to the streets against restrictions and immunisations.

| 13/09/2021
| TURKEY
by Vladimir Rozanskij

Tajikistan is among the most concerned and is preparing itself militarily, asking the international community to intervene. Uzbekistan is more open to dialogue, but has the best armed army in the region. The Taliban speak of good relations with Tashkent.

 

 

| 11/09/2021
| CENTRAL ASIA-AFGHANISTAN
by Fady Noun

After 13 months, Lebanon has a new government. For the new prime minister, “we must tighten our belts”. While reiterating Lebanon’s place in the Arab world, he says the country is open to aid from anyone, Syria included. Several highly regarded independents are in the new cabinet.

| 10/09/2021
| LEBANON
by Shafique Khokhar

An operation to clear “illegal” settlements in the heart of the archdiocese has led to the demolition of several places of worship, including the St Joseph Catholic Church, forcing the faithful to pray amid the ruins. There is concern for families who lost their homes, while new evictions are planned.

| 10/09/2021
| PAKISTAN
by Dario Salvi

Msgr. Hinder has lived in the area since 2004 and has experienced tensions and dangers in the years following the attacks on the Twin Towers. Little interest in a historical revisionism, concerns are about economy and development. From the Emirates positive steps in inter-religious dialogue. Christian witness in the social sphere.

| 10/09/2021
| GULF - USA
by Chiara Zappa

"The social time bomb fueled by the economic crisis, in a country that already welcomes 5 million migrants, risks exploding with the new wave of arrivals," say Roberto and Gabriella Ugolini, who have worked for decades on the border with Iran, where the government is putting up a wall against those fleeing the Taliban.

 

 

 

 

| 10/09/2021
| TURKEY-AFGHANISTAN

For Interior Minister K. Shanmugam a "safe haven" is what is needed to "train and radicalize." This feeds the terror network in a medium- to long-term process. The big "concern" of international security agencies. The attack in Auckland is already a wake-up call. 

 

 

| 10/09/2021
| SINGAPORE - AFGHANISTAN
by Shafique Khokhar

During Sunday service, a group of Muslims opened fire and attacked Christian homes. For the secretary general of the Pakistan Minority Rights Commission, great efforts are being made to protect minorities, yet violence is increasing.

| 09/09/2021
| PAKISTAN

He succeeds Mar Gewargis III Sliwa, who resigned in February 2020 for health reasons. The election postponed several times due to the Covid-19 pandemic. The position is a "very sublime and very high responsibility." Goals include nurturing "identity, language, culture and civilization". 

 

 

| 09/09/2021
| MIDDLE EAST

Turning the page on the city’s recent dark past, Archbishop Moussa sets out to write a new chapter based on sharing and fraternity, inspired by Pope Francis. For the prelate, tonight will be the first time back home. Civil and religious authorities, including Muslim leaders, attended the ceremony. An elderly Muslim asked to be the first to ring the bells.

| 09/09/2021
| IRAQ
by Alessandra De Poli

The Iranian regime is Shia, while the Islamic Emirate of Afghanistan is Sunni. In Afghanistan’s new cabinet, all Taliban leaders have a post, but a dichotomy still divides urban and rural Pashtuns, especially those in the provinces near the borders, this according to Riccardo Redaelli, professor of geopolitics at the Catholic University of Milan.

| 08/09/2021
| AFGHANISTAN – IRAN
by Fady Noun

The devotion began on Sunday and will end on 14 September, feast of the Exaltation of the Holy Cross. A restless Church is preparing for hard times after exhausting itself trying to get a new government put in place. Amid the divisions among the Churches of the East, Maronites feel alone. The rifts between Christian forces have drained the patriarch.

| 07/09/2021
| LEBANON
by Emanuele Scimia

Beijing asks Islamic fundamentalists for stability, protection for Chinese interests and fight against terrorist groups. Wang Yi: the US witdrawal is against China and Russia. Former Afghan deputy minister: Chinese want to invest in our mines; security problems have so far prevented them from operating in Afghanistan.

 

 

| 07/09/2021
| CHINA - AFGHANISTAN

A report by the activist group denounces violence against those who have returned to the country. Blame laid at door of nations in the area and Europe because they encourage repatriation. Syria and Russia claim the areas under government control are safe. Violations include rape or other forms of sexual violence, arbitrary or illegal detention, torture and ill-treatment.

 

| 07/09/2021
| SYRIA
by Vladimir Rozanskij

A mujahed in the fight against the Soviet occupation, he will be the "spiritual" head of the new Afghan Islamic Emirate. Member of the powerful Nurzai family. An intermediary figure beween the political and military soul of the Taliban.

 

 

| 07/09/2021
| AFGHANISTAN

Taliban spokesman Zabihullah Mujahed tweets that the last province has fallen. The National Resistance Front denies it, claiming to still control certain strategic areas. A new government has not yet been named.

| 06/09/2021
| AFGHANISTAN

The Church calls on voters to choose representatives who are prepared and have "clean" hands to achieve “peace, stability and national unity". The electoral commission calls on 75 countries and foreign NGOs to monitor the vote. For radical Shia leader, it is “now acceptable” to participate.

| 06/09/2021
| IRAQ

The discovery this morning at 4 a.m probably several hours after escape  from the prison of Gilboa, in the north of the country, through an underground tunnel. Five belong to the Islamic Jihad and the sixth is a former commander of the al-Aqsa Martyrs Brigades. Shin Bet, drones and molecular dogs on their tracks.  

| 06/09/2021
| ISRAEL - PALESTINE
by Mathias Hariyadi

Despite recommendations from local government bodies and Muslim organizations, the parish of St. Mother Teresa has not yet obtained the Imb document that authorizes the construction of places of worship, from district authorities. The Catholic community is currently using the school premises. Fr Antara: "I don't understand why we are not granted it"

 

 

 

| 06/09/2021
| INDONESIA

Christians cannot be so on a whim or in isolation; they must take part in the "common good". Divisions distort, especially for a minority like Iraqi Christians. Bearing witness to the faith in the new "digital" age requires a rethink. The Church must promote exchange and participation among her children.

 

| 04/09/2021
| IRAQ
by Shafique Khokhar

In a village, when a Christian pupil went back to school after having a fever, she was met with discrimination and violence. For human rights activist Manzoor Anthony, “We minorities live in insecurity; we must be given full rights”.

| 04/09/2021
| PAKISTAN
by Vladimir Rozanskij

Negotiations between Afghanistan’s new rulers and the National Resistance Front, heir to the Northern Alliance, have failed. The resistance is led by former Vice President Saleh and the son of the late Ahmad Shah Massoud, the Lion of Panjshir. Claims that the resistance’s stronghold has fallen have been denied, but both sides have suffered heavy losses in the fighting.

| 04/09/2021
| AFGHANISTAN
by Sumon Corraya

The work of the seven priests of Don Bosco who arrived in Bangladesh in 2009 is bearing its first fruits. “We also teach children from other faiths,” said Salesian coordinator Fr Alencherry. So far, “we have never received any threats from Islamic extremists”. The first local Salesian will be ordained in the near future.

| 03/09/2021
| BANGLADESH

Police in New Zealand killed a Sri Lanka man after he stabbed six people inspired by jihadi ideology. In the South Pacific nation, Muslims are a fraction of the local Sri Lankan community, compared to over 9 per cent of the population in their country of origin. Extremism is growing as evinced by the 2019 Easter Sunday tragedy, also fuelled by tensions with Sri Lanka’s Buddhist majority.

| 03/09/2021
| NEW ZEALAND - SRI LANKA

The sentence was eventually reduced to three years on appeal. Released on bail with obligation to report to police, the Christians were charged with “spreading propaganda” against the state, and engaging in “deviant educational activities”. In East Azerbaijan province, a man sent to prison for alcohol possession dies from flogging.

| 03/09/2021
| IRAN

The wounded include five children. 26-year-old Ahmad Salleh was killed by a bullet fired by a soldier, the third victim in a few days. The demonstrations promoted by Hamas against the blockade imposed by Israel in the Strip. For the Palestinian extremist movement recent openings are insufficient. 

 

 

| 03/09/2021
| ISRAEL - PALESTINE

His funeral was held this morning. The Indian government deployed troops and blocked the Internet to stop protests. Al-Qaeda includes Kashmir among the territories to be reconquered through global jihad. For top Taliban official Anas Haqqani, the new Afghan government will not intervene in the region. Extremists play the moderate card because they need international support and funding.

| 02/09/2021
| INDIA – AFGHANISTAN
by Dario Salvi

More than 90 thousand students have dropped out of school. No money for salaries and school supplies. The cost of a ballpoint pen has gone from 2,000 to 25,000 Lebanese liras. Professors fleeing abroad as soon as possible. Msgr Aoun: an educational model of excellence that has fostered integration between Christians and Muslims is at risk.

 

| 02/09/2021
| LEBANON

The laying of the foundation stone on August 30, in conjunction with the National Independence Day. The structure will cover an area of nearly 13 square kilometers. Completion scheduled for 2023, the year of the next presidential elections. For the Turkish leader, the structure will "strike fear in our enemies." 

 

 

| 02/09/2021
| TURKEY
by Vladimir Rozanskij

Moscow has been treating the Afghan Islamists as reliable interlocutors for years. Compared to al-Qaeda and the Islamic State, the Afghan Emirate offers a more acceptable and repeatable model: a mix of patriotism and Islamism. The Kremlin will struggle to contain any extremist regurgitation.

| 02/09/2021
| RUSSIA-AFGHANISTAN
by Sumon Corraya

Mohi Uddin's body was moved to a Baptist church in Chattogram. For years, Rohingya Christians and Muslims were buried together in the Kutupalong refugee camp. At least, 200 Christian families fear persecution.

| 01/09/2021
| BANGLADESH
by Steve Suwannarat

The Bloomberg monthly report puts Malaysia last among 53 countries with a high or medium level of development. With over 1.7 million reported cases and 16,382 deaths, Malaysia’s pandemic figures are comparable to Japan’s despite having a population four times smaller.

| 31/08/2021
| MALAYSIA

Turkish planes hit Tell Tawil (Bnay Roumta), not far from Tel Tamer, scene of Turkish military operations against the Kurds, which also affect Christians. For Assyrian leader, Turkish violence is comparable to past Ottoman offensive and Islamic State attack. “History,” he said, “is repeating itself”.

| 31/08/2021
| SYRIA – TURKEY

The Parisian museum opens a ninth exhibition space tomorrow, dedicated to the region's art, history and Christian culture. A response to recent decades of war, violence and destruction. Over the weekend, French President Macron on an official visit to Iraq; in Mosul, with stops at the Clock Church and al-Nuri Mosque.

| 31/08/2021
| FRANCE – MIDDLE EAST
by Vladimir Rozanskij

Special military exercises organised in Kyrgyzstan, Uzbekistan and Tajikistan. The Russians have several bases in the region. The Kremlin's ties with the anti-Taliban Northern Alliance. Afghan extremists likened to Ukrainian anarchists of the 1917-1921 period.

 

 

| 31/08/2021
| RUSSIA - CENTRAL ASIA

In a televised interview, a Taliban leader suggests that trade with India could go through Pakistan. India pulled out its diplomatic personnel from Afghanistan but with 20 years of investments and US$ 900 million in exports at stake, it is holding a wait-and-see position. New Delhi is worried about jihadist infiltrations in Kashmir. New rockets fall in Kabul this morning. Local media say that children were among the victims of yesterday's US raid.

| 30/08/2021
| AFGHANISTAN – INDIA

Shut down in 1915, the Üç Horan church in Malatya laid dilapidated. Local authorities contributed to its renovation with public funds. The place of worship is located in the neighbourhood where the late journalist Hrant Dink grew up. He was killed in 2007. The church will see Masses, weddings and baptisms, but also serve as a cultural centre.

| 30/08/2021
| TURKEY

The structure is about 70 km north of Aden. Several wounded are in serious condition and the toll is likely to worsen. The condolences of President Hadi to the families of the victims. Peace talks at a standstill, with the parties unable to reach a compromise.

 

| 30/08/2021
| YEMEN
by Chiara Zappa

Constant anguish under raids by fundamentalists amid failed attempts to escape. Anxiety for those who have remained, made even more lacerating by yesterday's bloody attacks. The testimony of a religious woman who arrived in Italy on one of the last evacuation flights: "The girls send me messages in tears. If it is possible I will return to Afghanistan.

| 27/08/2021
| AFGHANISTAN-ITALY
by Vladimir Rozanskij

Support for the Taliban is conditional on containing the Uyghurs and other jihadist forces. In a conversation with Pakistan's Foreign Minister, Wang Yi also recalled the attacks on technicians working on the Belt& Road Initiative. The hypothesis of a buffer zone on the border between Tajikistan and Afghanistan guarded together.

 

 

 

| 27/08/2021
| CHINA-RUSSIA-AFGHANISTAN

After years of tension and isolation, Qatar, which hosted talks between the U.S. and the Taliban, is back at the center of regional diplomacy, launching a coordination council to strengthen economic and commercial partnership with Riyadh. First visit in four years by a senior Emirati official to Doha. 

 

 

| 27/08/2021
| QATAR- SAUDI ARABIA - UAE

Bishop Paul Hinder issues a pastoral letter for the synodal period, which opens in mid-October with a Mass in Abu Dhabi’s cathedral. This journey calls for “the active participation of all the faithful”. The local Church is centred on pilgrimage and catholicity. The sacramental way and evangelisation in the media are among the topics to be explored.

| 27/08/2021
| GULF
by Steve Suwannarat

Selangor State wants to separate religion from politics. In recent years, Malaysia has seen a push towards polarisation and radicalisation, partly by governments focusing on policies that stress the Malay, thus Islamic identity.

 

| 26/08/2021
| MALAYSIA

The goal of the ride is to send a message of unity and rapprochement after seven years of war. Sport can be a tool of peace and dialogue, but the situation appears increasingly dangerous. A source told AsiaNews that the country “seems to be heading towards splitting into two, if not more parts”.

 

| 26/08/2021
| YEMEN
by Chiara Zappa

Along with five nuns and Father Giovanni Scalese, the head of the missio sui iuris in Afghanistan, the kids landed yesterday in Rome. Italy’s airlift also brought out 15 associates of the Pro Bambini di Kabul charity and their families, whose lives were at risk. As for the others left behind, “we do not know how to help” them, said the association’s president Father Matteo Sanavio.

| 26/08/2021
| AFGHANISTAN – ITALY
by Vladimir Rozanskij

According to a Ukrainian website - later taken down by Kiev - several aircraft and individual seats were "rented" by some wealthy refugees to escape to Iran. A group of Afghans who were in Moscow asked for political asylum but according to current Russian rules they could not be accepted.

 

| 26/08/2021
| AFGHANISTAN-UKRAINE-RUSSIA

Three copies of the Guru Granth Sahib arrived in the Indian capital along with Afghan Sikhs. Despite the emergency situation, a special religious ritual was followed to get them out. Each book of sacred hymns is a "living guru". Concern is growing for Afghanistan’s cultural and religious heritage now in the hands of those who destroyed the Buddhas of Bamiyan.

| 25/08/2021
| INDIA

Iraqi public opinion is critical of the United States, which, as in Afghanistan, has achieved the same poor results in building a state after years of occupation. Baghdad's silence and Isis' "contempt" for the rise of the Taliban. Saad Salloum: Iraq's 'neutrality and stability' essential for the region's future. The litmus test of elections in October.

 

 

| 25/08/2021
| IRAQ - AFGHANISTAN
by Sumon Corraya

The nun was returning to the convent. The man who stole her bag injured her eye. The episode adds to discrimination and violence against Bangladeshi Christians.

 

 

| 25/08/2021
| BANGLADESH

The incident took place in the Tuşba district, in Turkey's eastern province. Opposition MP Murat Sarısaç submitts a complaint. According to some sources, a local landowner was behind the damage. The number of incidents of violence, abuse and damage against minority property is increasing.

 

 

| 25/08/2021
| TURKEY
by Vladimir Rozanskij

Many young Afghans, including girls, used to attend Nur Sultan universities thanks to a cooperation agreement. Now they are unable to return to Kazakhstan to resume their courses and are worried about their future.

 

 

| 24/08/2021
| KAZAKHSTAN-AFGHANISTAN
by Riccardo Lampariello*

In addition to internal opposition, Islamist militants will have to face and manage rapid population growth. More than four children per woman in the country. Every month about 600 pregnant women and 4 thousand Afghan children lose their lives at birth or soon after. Continuous violence and Covid-19 exacerbate the problem.

| 24/08/2021
| AFGHANISTAN
by Mathias Hariyadi

For President Said Agil Siroj, the situation in Afghanistan is likely to fuel "a new wave of radicalism". The appeal to army and police leaders to guarantee security and preserve the values of pluralism and unity in diversity. The evacuation of Indonesian personnel from Afghanistan continues, the diplomatic representation transferred to Islamabad. 

| 23/08/2021
| INDONESIA - AFGHANISTAN

Philippine migrant workers and contractors in Afghanistan are among those leaving the country. They can be easily identifiable as Christian. Some have decided to stay because they still need to support their family back home. First plane evacuates Indians. Meanwhile, Mullah Abdul Ghani Baradar has arrived in Kabul.

| 21/08/2021
| AFGHANISTAN - PHILIPPINES
by Nirmala Carvalho

The court stayed the amendment to the State’s anti-conversion law introduced by Hindu nationalists if there is no fraud or coercion in marriage. This issue also touches other Indian states. For Father Babu Joseph, the ruling “does a good service to the cause of social justice.”

 

| 21/08/2021
| INDIA
by Vladimir Rozanskij

After months of impasse, the trilateral group resumes work on finding a solution to the conflict. The first objective is to reopen communication routes in the South Caucasus. However, the parties are still far apart.

| 21/08/2021
| ARMENIA – AZERBAIJAN

A new media bill would impose one to five years in prison for spreading online “disinformation” or “misinformation”. Penalties for defamation would also be increased. The bill would set up a directorate to monitor critical content. For experts and activists, this is the sign of a “continued trend of the degradation of internet freedom” in Turkey.

| 21/08/2021
| TURKEY

The family landed today in Rome after an airlift from Kabul organised by Italy. Starting with Ali Ehsani's appeal published by AsiaNews, the Fondazione Meet Human took charge of the case of this group of “hidden believers” whose father disappeared a few days ago. The rescue “might be a drop in the ocean, but the ocean is made up of drops.”

| 21/08/2021
| AFGHANISTAN – ITALY
by Vladimir Rozanskij

As with ISIS there is a considerable post-Soviet diaspora among the Afghan guerrillas. The problems of ties between the Taliban and the galaxy of jihadist movements in the Caucasus and Central Asia.

| 20/08/2021
| RUSSIA-AFGHANISTAN

For many Iraqis, the Afghan tragedy is a remake of Mosul’s in the summer of 2014. The pull-out of Iraqi troops leaving weapons behind was decisive for the jihadi victory. Public opinion and social media are abuzz about “US betrayal” and the politics of a country that sows “confusion”. Upcoming elections in October hang in the balance.

| 19/08/2021
| IRAQ – AFGHANISTAN
by Shafique Khokhar

On Independence Day, Aisha Akram was attacked and bullied for hours while shooting a video near the national monument. The images, which have gone viral on social media, have caused shame. For activist Mariyam Kashif, this is the “level of humanity and respect for women in our society.”

| 19/08/2021
| PAKISTAN
by Sumon Corraya

In Bangladesh several militant Islamist groups had participated in the fight against the Soviets in Afghanistan, now in Kabul history is likely to repeat itself. Human rights activists lobby for non-recognition of the Taliban government. Foreign Minister: we will not accept refugees, we already host one million Rohingya. 

 

 

| 19/08/2021
| BANGLADESH - AFGHANISTAN

According to the Director General Grossi "a new mode of operation" is underway in the Natanz plant. A second cascade of centrifuges launched to raise the level of enrichment. The goal is the 90% threshold necessary to produce a nuclear device. Stalemate in negotiations in Vienna, the EU aims at a date for September.

 

 

| 18/08/2021
| IRAN
by Vladimir Rozanskij

Notwithstanding the competition between the two great powers, the seizure of Afghanistan by the Taliban imposes united front to curb radical groups in Central Asia. Already in recent days joint Russian-Chinese military maneuvers. Meanwhile, Lukashenko also risks economic repercussions from the new course in Kabul. 

 

 

| 18/08/2021
| RUSSIA-CHINA
by Shafique Khokhar

Attack carried out by an extremist of the Tehreek-e-Labbaik, the Islamist party banned by the Pakistani government in April this year. Ranjit Singh was one of the protagonists of the Great Game in Asia: he repelled the Afghan invasions from Punjab and established friendly relations with the British. The Minority Rights Group: 'We must accept the facts of history and preserve them'.

 

 

| 18/08/2021
| PAKISTAN

From about 8-10 per cent before the war, the community has dropped to the current 3 per cent. No official statistics exists but the decline is evident “especially among young people,” source told AsiaNews. Should Europe and Canada “open their doors to immigration”, there is a real danger of another exodus. Christian parties try to build unity.

| 17/08/2021
| SYRIA
by Vladimir Rozanskij

Russia's Ambassador in Kabul, Zhirnov: "The impression of the first day is good." Putin spoke on the phone with the president of Uzbekistan. Concern over repercussions on former Soviet republics of the "redefinition of the Islamic fundamentalism".

| 17/08/2021
| RUSSIA - AFGHANISTAN
by NAT da Polis

“Dialogue and mutual knowledge between Christians, and between Christians and [the members of] other faiths, mainly our Muslim brothers here, can smooth out corners and clear up misunderstandings and fears that have no reason to exist.”

| 16/08/2021
| TURKEY

In a video message he speaks of an unexpected victory in speed and ease. The now ex-president Ghani justifies his flight abroad with the aim of averting martyrdom and the destruction of the capital. US forces take control of the airport, stormed by thousands of civilians trying to escape. Russia and China keep their embassies open. 

 

 

 

| 16/08/2021
| AFGHANISTAN
by Emanuele Scimia

Islamic fundamentalists now control half of the Afghan provincial capitals. Arsenal bought on Pakistan’s black markets. Former deputy minister of Kabul: The Taliban have complex relations with countries in the region. Their growing contacts with China could alarm Russia.

| 14/08/2021
| AFGHANISTAN
by Shafique Khokhar

Rwadari Tehreek held a rally on National Minorities Day to demand an end to discrimination against Christians and Hindus. The group sent recommendations to the government. Religious minorities are not represented due to the shortcomings of Pakistan’s democratic system.

| 13/08/2021
| PAKISTAN
by Giorgio Bernardelli

From Rome, the exile, who wrote about his odyssey and the horrors of the Taliban, speaks about the current anguish of those who secretly live their faith in Jesus while the Islamists advance without encountering resistance. In Kabul a Christian man has gone missing. “Don't leave Afghanistan alone,” he pleads.

| 13/08/2021
| AFGHANISTAN - ITALY

The identity of detained government officials has not been disclosed. The kingdom's anti-corruption commission has investigated 460 people in all. Since 2017, the purge campaign of Crown Prince Muhammad bin Salman has netted US$ 106 billion in assets.

 

| 11/08/2021
| SAUDI ARABIA
by Fady Noun

The stance taken by the head of the Maronite Church rekindles the intra-Lebanese debate over the weapons held by the pro-Iranian party. The situation along the southern border of the country is very dangerous. The cardinal calls on the Lebanese military and UN forces to take control of southern Lebanon.

 

| 10/08/2021
| LEBANON
by Shafique Khokhar

A transgender person and two brothers have been accused of burning pages of the Qurʼān. The three were beaten by local residents with police only intervening later. The blasphemy law continues to be used to settle personal matters.

| 10/08/2021
| PAKISTAN
by Vladimir Rozanskij

The presidential vote is set for 24 October. Only pro-government parties have been allowed to run candidates. In Central Asia, the Uzbek president is seen as an authoritative leader. Both China and the West appreciate his economic overtures. Any opposition was liquidated under the “Father of the nation” Karimov.

| 10/08/2021
| UZBEKISTAN
by Vladimir Rozanskij

Armenian Prime Minister Pashinyan met Raisi, Iran’s newly elected president. The two sides want to work for peace in the region. They did not discuss the Nagorno Karabakh conflict between Armenia and Azerbaijan. The Iranians are careful not to irritate the Azerbaijanis.

| 09/08/2021
| ARMENIA – IRAN
by Shafique Khokhar

Dozens of people stormed the Siddhi Vinayak temple wielding clubs, sticks and stones. The Catholic Justice and Peace Commission condemned the incident, urging the government to protect minorities in Punjab.

| 06/08/2021
| PAKISTAN

Openings from US State Department spokesman Ned Price. During his inauguration speech, the new Iranian president Ebrahim Raisi said he wanted to extend 'a hand of friendship" to the countries of the region. Iran accused of an attack on an Israeli oil tanker.

 

 

| 06/08/2021
| US-IRAN
by Shafique Khokhar

The case came to light only thanks to a human rights activist. The girl’s father had gone to pick her up at school, but did not find her. Shortly afterwards, the kidnappers sent the family a video and documents claiming that the 14-year-old had converted to Islam of her own free will.

| 05/08/2021
| PAKISTAN

August 4 marks the first anniversary of the incident that devastated the economic heart of the Lebanese capital. The inquiries ended with nothing. Politicians and institutional figures wave "immunity" to avoid interrogation. Father Abboud: "We have lost everything, but not our faith. We have experienced bloodshed and we will overcome this too". 

| 03/08/2021
| LEBANON

Sectarian tensions mount between the Shiite group and Sunni Arab tribes in the south of the country. The attack sparked clashes and army intervention to restore calm.

 

 

| 02/08/2021
| LEBANON

The chief goal is to stop influx of Afghan refugees fleeing the Taliban. A barrier of three-metre high and two-metre wide modules weighing seven tonnes. The security forces are also carrying out de-mining activities. Governor of Van: 55,000 irregular migrants stopped in 2021. 

| 31/07/2021
| TURKEY - IRAN
by Chiara Zappa

As international forces withdraw from the country, two nuns who run a centre for children with disabilities speak out: "Violence is on the rise and people are living in poverty. We are worried about the future, but we will step up our commitment". The role of women and young people.

| 30/07/2021
| AFGHANISTAN

Grand Imam Ahmed al-Tayeb calls for "serious action" to counter its effects. Floods and record heat are causing "hundreds of deaths and displaced persons". Emergencies in Iran, Iraq and Turkey. But there are not only environmental factors: corruption, mismanagement and exploitation of resources underpin the crisis. 

| 30/07/2021
| MIDDLE EAST

Local sources report "the most intense wave of violence" since the military victory of the regular army, backed by Russia. The province has long been one of the bastions of the anti-Assad militias. According to pro-government newspapers, a "military operation against terrorist hideouts" is underway. 

 

 

| 30/07/2021
| SYRIA

Syrians are on the brink, in shock, burdened by corruption and inflation. Most of them are hungry, and lack confidence in the future, says humanitarian worker. More and more families are asking for help; others are refusing it so as not to "spoil or delude" their children. Aid from abroad and the Syrian diaspora is dropping.

| 29/07/2021
| SYRIA
by Shafique Khokhar

Law enforcement freed Reena Meghwar after a video went viral on social media showing her asking to be sent back to her parents. She told a court that she had never converted to Islam, adding that the papers used to register her marriage were false. For the Justice and Peace Commission of the Archdiocese of Karachi, this is an important precedent for many similar cases.

| 28/07/2021
| PAKISTAN

Turkish authorities and the UN cultural agency are on a collision course over the ancient Christian basilicas. UNESCO’s World Heritage Committee said that it “deeply regrets” the lack of "dialogue and information". Turkey dismissed the claim and reiterated its “sovereign rights” over the properties.

| 28/07/2021
| TURKEY

Three air raids by the Israeli air force and 4,300 rockets launched towards southern Israel from the Strip, are under investigation. For the NGO there is no evidence of strategic military objectives in the area of the attacks. For the Israeli army these are "inferences already denied" in the past. The Islamic extremist movement says it did not "target civilians". 

 

 

| 28/07/2021
| ISRAEL - PALESTINE

Hariri gave up after 10 months of unsuccessful attempts. Backed by 72 MPs, the 65-year-old Mikati, a billionaire businessman, is tasked to form a new government, his third stint at the prime minister’s office. Promising a cabinet "in the interest" of the country, he has the support of Hezbollah, but must still earn that of Christian factions.

| 27/07/2021
| LEBANON

First (cordial) meeting between the two leaders yesterday at the White House. The goal remains the "permanent defeat" of Isis in the area. US military will remain on the ground to train soldiers. The withdrawal will take place by the end of the year. The "strategic partnership" between Washington and Baghdad remains. 

 

 

 

| 27/07/2021
| IRAQ - USA

Professional nurse, Javad Foroughi triumphed in the 10-meter air pistol with a record score. A nurse in a hospital in the capital in contact with the sick, he was part of al Quds forces in Syria and calls himself a "soldier" of his country. Newspapers and state TV euologise his victory; activists and NGOs speak of a "catastrophe" for the sport and the international community. 

 

 

| 26/07/2021
| IRAN
by Vladimir Rozanskij

During the Muslim festival of Eid al-Adha, the homes of citizens suspected of keeping forbidden religious literature were searched. The authorities fear Islamic extremism, rekindled by the successes of the Taliban in Afghanistan. Attacks have been carried out against the relatives of Turkmen activists living abroad.

| 23/07/2021
| TURKMENISTAN

Covid has allowed people to rediscover the value of prayer, the role of the Church and the importance of the pastor in the community. Going beyond online celebrations to "be close" to those in need. The Patriarch, eight bishops and 60 priests gathered in Ankawa for the first spiritual retreat at the time of the coronavirus. The emergency has led to "rediscovering the beauty of sharing". 

 

 

| 22/07/2021
| IRAQ
by Vladimir Rozanskij

The solemn celebration was attended by 7,000 faithful, despite restrictions against Covid. In 2004 Pope Wojtyla returned the icon of the Mother of God to the Russian Orthodox Church. The capital of Tatarstan is a place of dialogue between religions.

 

 

 

| 22/07/2021
| RUSSIA

At least 62 people arrested, eight journalists injured in police attacks. Demonstrations took place in Istanbul, Ankara and Izmir. An officer threw a woman down the stairs of the hospital where she had gone for medical treatment. Unanimous condemnation of police violence. 

 

 

| 22/07/2021
| TURKEY

Demonstrations for the sixth consecutive night in the south-west of the country. At least two people were killed in clashes with police. Supreme Leader Ali Khamenei was also targeted. Coronavirus outbreaks are on the rise again, with over 27,000 cases and 250 deaths in the last 24 hours.

 

| 21/07/2021
| IRAN

Sources tell AsiaNews about a “worrying” development that is getting worse. Turkey is on high alert for possible mass arrivals, triggered by the advance of Islamic extremists. Over the past few weeks, at least 500 Afghans have tried to cross the border every day. Erdogan’s reception policy in the name of Islam has failed.

| 20/07/2021
| TURKEY

A suicide bomber struck a market in Sadr City on the eve of the Muslim festival of Eid al-Adha. Several of teh injured are in a critical condition. Women and children were among the victims. The bloodiest attack in the last six months in the Iraqi capital. The premier has ordered the arrest of the head of security in the area. 

 

| 20/07/2021
| IRAQ
by Mathias Hariyadi

Tomorrow is the Muslim festival of the sacrifice. With about 50,000 new daily cases, the government has banned public celebrations and issued strict health protocols for the slaughter of animals. For experts, post-Ramadan travel contributed to the current health crisis.

 

| 19/07/2021
| INDONESIA
by Vladimir Rozanskij

Kyrgyz Ulema: it does not contradict the norms of Islam. Inoculations with the Chinese vaccine Sinopharm begin. To date the government had been in denial about the virus. The pandemic is compounded by the problem of refugees fleeing Afghanistan.

 

 

| 19/07/2021
| KYRGYSTAN
by Fady Noun

The prime minister-designate quit yesterday after months of vain attempts to form a cabinet and breach an insurmountable divide. “May God help the country!” he said. France complains of “organised obstruction”, while the US calls on Lebanon’s leaders to “put aside partisan differences”.

| 16/07/2021
| LEBANON
by Shafique Khokhar

The state agency responsible for approving school curricula pulls books from middle schools that mention the activist. For education rights advocates, this is a “deplorable” action. “The danger is that young people will grow up with a rigid, conservative and intolerant vision”.

| 16/07/2021
| PAKISTAN

The document proving vaccination, a negative test or recovery from Covid-19 is a prerequisite for participating in the Hajjr pilgrimage, and to enter public and private places. The arrested include officials of the Saudi Ministry of Health. To date, 21 million doses of the vaccine have been administered. 

 

 

| 16/07/2021
| SAUDI ARABIA - ISLAM
by Vladimir Rozanskij

The threat is the focus of the SCO summit being held today and tomorrow. Afghan refugees are taking refuge in Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Tajikistan and Uzbekistan after the start of the US withdrawal. The Afghan president promises to defeat the Taliban militias. Moscow is batting for both teams and is also negotiating with Islamist guerrillas.

 

 

| 16/07/2021
| AFGHANISTAN

The office in Marmaris, in the Aegean region, was attacked. An assailant, known to the police for a similar attack in the past and already apprehended, fired more than 100 shots. No casualties or injuries were reported. A month ago a party stafer died  in a similar incident against a HDP office in Izmir. 

 

| 15/07/2021
| TURKEY

The international NGO presents the testimony of an (anonymous) prison guard and denounces the situation. Victims included the feminist leader Loujain al-Hathloul and the activist Mohammed al-Rabea. New evidence confirms Saudi Arabia's "total contempt" for the "rule of law". Credible and independent investigations are needed. 

| 14/07/2021
| SAUDI ARABIA
by Shafique Khokhar

The People's Commission for Minority Rights warns that there are “sufficient grounds to suspect that concentration of powers in the Ministry of Religious Affairs” will increase the risk of abuses and illegal seizures, an already widespread problem.

| 12/07/2021
| PAKISTAN
by Mathias Hariyadi

The administrators of the Cikadut cemetery asked a family to pay US$ 275 to bury a relative who died from COVID-19. The case came to light thanks to complaints posted on social media. For Father Rusbani, “extortion is shameful”.

| 12/07/2021
| INDONESIA
by Dario Salvi

The Bishop of the Holy Land looks back over 60 years in a Christian community "in evolution". Having archived the Trump presidency and the Netanyahu era, there are no "positive glimmers". Goals include "strengthening the commitment to migrants", theological formation and unity, safeguarding the different peculiarities.

| 12/07/2021
| HOLY LAND
by Vladimir Rozanskij

Countries such as Tajikistan and Turkmenistan feel threatened by the advance of Afghan extremists. Russia's support and its control of the 'students of God'. Turkey is getting into the game by hiring ex-Isis militiamen.

 

 

| 12/07/2021
| AFGHANISTAN

The defendants on trial include the current leader of the movement, Mohamed Badie. They are guilty of killing policemen and organising mass prison escapes. They are also alleged to have conspired with foreign militant groups, including Hamas and Hezbollah. All the sentences were final. 

| 12/07/2021
| EGYPT
by Steve Suwannarat

UMNO has announced its decision to withdraw from the coalition government led by Muhyiddin Yassin. The party, which lost popular support in recent years, dominated Malaysian politics since 1957. Parliament will meet on 26 July to discuss the COVID-19 emergency but also to find a way out of the political impasse.

| 10/07/2021
| MALAYSIA

King Abdullah and Israel’s new Prime Minister, Naftali Bennett, met secretly last week. Israel will boost water supplies by 50 million cubic metres this year. The Jordanian king is set to travel to Washington to be the first Mideast leader to visit the White House. Some believe the Muslim Brotherhood played a role in last April’s attempted coup in Amman.

| 10/07/2021
| ISRAEL - JORDAN
by Fady Noun

A book celebrates one hundred years of relations between the Maronite patriarchate and the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia. The book launch brought together Card Beshara al-Rahi, Apostolic Nuncio Joseph Spiteri, and Saudi ambassador Walid Boukhari. The Patriarch stressed the link between the two countries and Riyadh's support for Lebanese independence, and attacked Hezbollah without naming.

| 09/07/2021
| LEBANON – SAUDI ARABIA

With 603 votes in favour and two against MEPs adopted a resolution condemning the ongoing violence. There is a "dire" situation in the country in terms of human rights and a "continuous erosion of democracy and the rule of law. Journalist sentenced to 11 months in prison for "insulting the president".

 

| 09/07/2021
| TURKEY-EUROPEAN UNION

A bitter clash is under way between the two supposedly allied nations over production quotas. The Emirates were asking for an upward revision, after having increased extraction capacity. In the background is the struggle between the two hereditary princes for political, economic and commercial supremacy in the Middle East region. Experts say battle is inevitable.

| 08/07/2021
| UAE - SAUDI ARABIA

In the night three rockets hit the U.S. Embassy in Baghdad. In recent days there has been an escalation of violence. The attacks celebrated by pro-Iranian Shiite militias active in the country. Iraqi analyst: the operations are a "show of force," but "have no effect on Washington's presence in Iraq." 

 

| 08/07/2021
| IRAQ-UNITED STATES
by Fady Noun

Patriarch Raï says the July 1 meeting in the Vatican has a prophetic value. Meetings with President Aoun and Prime Minister Hariri are scheduled for the coming days. Necessary to rebuild "a Lebanon that belongs to all Lebanese". Msgr Mazloum: "For peace to be lasting it must be based on justice".

| 07/07/2021
| LEBANON - VATICAN
by Vladimir Rozanskij

Islamist guerrillas control the Tajik-Afghan border. Russian troops will not replace US and NATO troops withdrawing from Afghanistan. Afghan soldiers hosted and protected in Tajik territory: they were fleeing a massive attack by Taliban forces.

| 07/07/2021
| RUSSIA-TAJIKISTAN-AFGHANISTAN

Guerrilla groups attack power stations causing disastrous blackouts. Despite the premier's efforts, the political class looks to power and money, corruption remains high. The change of guard in Tehran and its effects on the country. Religious tourism and brotherhood to bring Christians and Muslims closer together. A Mass for the pontiff convalescing after an operation.

| 06/07/2021
| IRAQ - VATICAN
by Mathias Hariyadi

The culprit has already been arrested. The building suffered minor damage, but residents complain of acts of intolerance against Christians and the lack of support from the authorities.

 

| 05/07/2021
| INDONESIA
by Sumon Corraya

Fr Linku Lenard Gomes, 39, will serve as Secretary to the Apostolic Nunciature in Panama starting 1 August. “I will surely use my talents to perform my service in the best possible way,” he told AsiaNews. The Church in Bangladesh is increasingly devoted to the mission. For Bishop Gervas Rozario, after receiving so much, now “the time has come to reciprocate”.

| 05/07/2021
| BANGLADESH

​In an interview with Chinese media, the Pakistani premier "considering relations with China" describes charges of human rights violations against the Muslim minority in Xinjiang as "hypocritical" and Washington's expectation that his country will take sides in an alternative axis to Beijing as "unfair".

| 03/07/2021
| PAKISTAN-CHINA

The Syrian Catholic Church of Mar Thomas, in the right bank of the city, the feast of the patron saint is solemnly celebrated. Fr. Pius Afas: rebuilding places of worship is an "important step." Young Muslims also contributed to the recovery of the building. The history of the local community custodied in a book written by the parish priest.

| 03/07/2021
| IRAQ
by Vladimir Rozanskij

Ankara mediates between Kyrgyzstan and Tajikistan over border problems. Turkish influence is equal to Russian in the Caucasus. The Turkish role in Azerbaijan’s military victory against Armenia. Azerbaijani army in fact under the control of Erdogan's generals. The dream of the Turkish-Azerbaijani union.

| 03/07/2021
| TURKEY-CAUCASUS- CENTRAL ASIA

In the wake of his visit to the Vatican, the Maronite patriarch said that he asked the Pope to meet Lebanese politicians and Muslim spiritual leaders. Hezbollah and Lebanon's neutrality were also discussed. Meanwhile, UNICEF raises the alarm about the plight of the country’s children: 30 per cent are suffering from hunger.

| 02/07/2021
| LEBANON
by Sumon Corraya

So far the appeal to the Anti-Corruption Commission, which has reported the matter in court, has been in vain. In 2012 the land of a Protestant church and the cemetery forcibly expropriated to build a multi-storey building. Bishop of Rajshahi: rights trampled. An anonymous source: "The land is valuable", taken "with illegal documents" and the connivance of land registry employees.

| 02/07/2021
| BANGLADESH
by Vladimir Rozanskij

Parent groups are organizing to protect their children. The police ignore the disappearance reports. The authorities do not want to give the country a negative image. The official numbers on the coronavirus never revealed. Obligation to wear a mask in public imposed only a few days ago.

 

| 02/07/2021
| TURKMENISTAN

The Chaldean primate explores themes and models of the new synod drawn up by Pope Francis. The hope that every continent will have a permanent assembly consisting of "a small number of bishops". Greater authority at individual conferences to face the “demanding challenges” of everyday life. The experience of the Eastern Churches.

| 01/07/2021
| IRAQ - VATICAN

As of today Turkey officially withdraws from the international treaty signed in 2011. A motion presented to the Court of Appeal was rejected this week. Feminist leader promises to continue the battle in defence of rights. In the last five years at least one woman is murdered every day.

| 01/07/2021
| TURKEY

Tomorrow's much-anticipated Vatican meeting comes with many economic, social and spiritual expectations. The Holy See backs an International Conference on Lebanon. Neutrality is a tough issue given the desire not to close diplomatic channels with Hezbollah. From Lebanon as a “message” to a country based on “citizenship and responsibility”.

| 30/06/2021
| LEBANON - VATICAN

Over the past month, the Taliban have gained several strategic positions.  In Washington officials have expressed concern over the increasingly high level of violence. More and more people are caught between the Taleban and the Afghan military.

| 30/06/2021
| AFGHANISTAN

In three months, the Israeli army and forces would have demolished at least 72 houses, causing the displacement of 78 Palestinians, including 15 women and 47 children. In total, over 350 people have been affected in various ways by demolitions. Another thousand awaiting court decisions on expropriations in a new demolition campaign.

| 30/06/2021
| ISRAEL - PALESTINE

Three converts, originally from Fardis, are accused of educating “in a deviant way” about Islam. Their relatives live under threat. The visa of a nun working at a leprosy hospital caring for Christians and Muslims for 26 years has not been renewed. Bishop Mathieu is still waiting to take possession of the diocese. 

| 29/06/2021
| IRAN
by Vladimir Rozanskij

In 1997 the country emerged from a bloody civil war. The celebrations mark the enduring power of Emomali Rakhmon, the "eternal president". The current challenges of globalization and the pandemic. The Tajik government still denies the spread of the coronavirus.

| 29/06/2021
| TAJIKISTAN

The Israeli Foreign Minister begins two-day visit to Gulf Country. On the agenda the inauguration of the embassy in Abu Dhabi and the consulate in Dubai. Economic relations have been strengthened that not even the war in Gaza has dented. Satisfaction of the Jewish community that pushes for "further exchanges".

| 29/06/2021
| ISRAEL - EMIRATES
by Nirmala Carvalho

Six arrests were made immediately after the change passed by the state parliament. Under the new version of the law, any conversion by marriage will be considered forced and relatives will also be prosecuted. Fears of minorities: "One more weapon in the hands of Hindu fundamentalists to threaten us".

| 28/06/2021
| INDIA

For the Bishop of Jbeil-Byblos, the meeting on 1 July will boost “Christian unity” and speed up the formation of a new government. At least 20 people were injured over the weekend. As partisan protests, they lack “unity of intent”. The goal is to stop the exodus of young Christians, which is undermining the country’s demographic balance.

| 28/06/2021
| LEBANON – VATICAN

The militias close to Tehran active in the two countries. The attacks have targeted "operational structures and weapons depots" and are a response to the use of drones. There are no victims or injuries, but an NGO speaks of at least five militiamen killed in Syria. Damascus TV reports one child among the victims. Baghdad hosts meeting between the leaders of Jordan, Egypt and Iraq.

| 28/06/2021
| M. EAST - USA

In Iraq, Patriarch Sako and local bishops are united for the end of violence, extremism and violent conflicts. Patriarch Pizzaballa and Maronite Primate Beshara al-Rahi will also lead the consecration ceremony. Pope Francis sends a message to today's refugee families who left home, like Joseph and Mary did to protect Jesus.

| 26/06/2021
| MIDDLE EAST

The Human Rights Measurement Initiative, a group that tracks state abuse, published data about citizens’ safety from state abuse in Saudi Arabia. The Wahhabi kingdom notches up its  repression against activists, behind only Mexico. Mohammed bin Salman has centralised power and restricted rights.

| 25/06/2021
| SAUDI ARABIA

Hundreds of people took to the streets accusing Abu Mazen and the leaders of the Palestinian National Authority. The activist, who died from the beatings he suffered, was one of the most critical personalities of the local leadership. Last month his house was riddled with 60 bullets. Hamas also blames Abbas.

 

 

| 25/06/2021
| PALESTINE

The priest tells of the difficulties of a city facing many emergencies: food, education and health for Covid.  Prices are constantly rising, sanctions are inhumane and the population is starving.  The goal of opening a hot canteen for the poorest.  To young people: in a critical phase, getting married is "a heroic act of faith".

 

| 24/06/2021
| SYRIA
by Vladimir Rozanskij

 A law on freedom of conscience and religious associations is in the process of being approved.  The goal is to preserve local Islamic traditions.  From August 1st there will be “sporting checks” of the population Tax concessions and cash prizes for the participants.

 

| 24/06/2021
| UZBEKISTAN
by Mathias Hariyadi

At least 12 graves were desecrated. The offenders’ young age is a source of concern. The motives for the desecration are not yet known, but radical indoctrination in school has not been ruled out. The city’s mayor expressed his solidarity, but local Christians are bitter.

 

| 23/06/2021
| INDONESIA

Two years ago, Hindu nationalists successfully saw the autonomy of the Muslim-majority state scrapped. The prime minister has called a meeting tomorrow with leaders of People's Alliance for Gupkar Declaration, a group of parties seeking a return to the pre-2019 status. Talks with Pakistan and pressure from Washington are pushing the Indian government to reconsider its options.

| 23/06/2021
| INDIA – PAKISTAN

The Saudi kingdom opens up to yoga, fast-tracking of foreign publications and deletes references to non-Muslims as pigs and monkeys from school texts. Bin Salman's nation rebuilt from "foundations" based on money, safeguarding Islam. Government consultant says opening of a church on the "to do list".

| 23/06/2021
| SAUDI ARABIA

At least 63 rebels and 27 government soldiers died in two days of fighting. There is an escalation of military operations in the area. The United Nations diplomatic efforts for a lasting ceasefire at risk. The humanitarian situation of 1,800 displaced families alarming.

| 23/06/2021
| YEMEN

Heavy clashes broke out overnight between police-backed Jewish settlers and Palestinian residents. A woman was hit in back with a stone. Some Palestinians were arrested. For B'Tselem: “Settler violence and vandalism take place with full backing by the Israeli authorities.”

| 22/06/2021
| ISRAEL – PALESTINE

The newly elected president supports the Vienna talks and is in favour of the full reinstatement of the JCPOA. But he excludes a face to face with his US counterpart even in the event of complete cancellation of the sanctions. He confirms that "regional activities and ballistic missile program" are non-negotiable.

| 22/06/2021
| IRAN - UNITED STATES

The police arrested two people, whose identity remains unknown.  The third is Apro Diril, already arrested in the past for an altercation with elderly spouses and released on probation.  Dispute over possession of some agricultural land.  There has been no news of Houmouz Diril for 531 days.

 

| 21/06/2021
| TURKEY

Victims include 16 members of government forces, including six officers.  For months the Houthis have been trying to wrest the last stronghold in the north.  Local sources report violent attacks, with the use of missiles and drones.  Stall in the attempted truce mediated by Oman.  UN envoy: "The parties have not resolved their differences".

 

| 21/06/2021
| YEMEN

The ultra-conservative exponent who was beaten by Rouhani in 2017 is ahead in the vote count in the Iranian elections. Against contact between men and women in the public spaces and the standard bearer of an "economy of resistance", he declared that he was better suited than the reformists to implement the "nuclear deal approved by the Supreme Leader".

| 19/06/2021
| IRAN

The major pilgrimage scheduled for mid-July. 450,000 requests for participation have already arrived in 24 hours. There will be a total of 60 thousand faithful who will have the nulla osta. They will need to have Saudi citizenship and be immunized against the coronavirus. Use of robots "to avoid any human contact".

| 19/06/2021
| SAUDI ARABIA - ISLAM
by Vladimir Rozanskij

Evidence presented to the International Criminal Court. Uyghurs, who seek refuge in the former Soviet republic, are returned to the Chinese and end up in the Xinjiang concentration camps. The triangulation with Turkey. In exchange, the Tajiks obtain a loan to build a highway between the capital and the border with China.

| 18/06/2021
| TAJIKISTAN-CHINA

During the night, jets hit Hamas positions in the Strip. For the third consecutive day, militants had launched balloons towards southern Israel. There are no casualties or injuries. The Israeli army ready to "step up preparation" in view of a "resumption of hostilities".

| 18/06/2021
| ISRAEL - PALESTINE

Favoured by the former head of the judiciary and a loyalist of Khamenei. The supreme guide against those who intend to desert the polls, "one of the worst and deadliest sins". The nuclear issue among the priorities of the future leader. Feelings of apathy, distrust and disillusionment predominate among the voters.

| 17/06/2021
| IRAN

About 900 children and young people between the ages of three and 17 are involved, including children and grandchildren of the royal family of Abu Dhabi. The goal is to start with a "mass vaccination campaign in the near future". In Dubai, about two-thirds of the adult population has already received both doses of the vaccine.

| 17/06/2021
| UAE - CHINA
by Fady Noun

About forty bishops from Lebanon, the Arab world and the diaspora will gather from 14 to 19 June. An appointment that precedes the ecumenical meeting on July 1st, announced by the Pope. The themes include the social, economic and financial crisis, liturgy, seminaries and the formation of priests.

| 16/06/2021
| LEBANON
by Vladimir Rozanskij

A proposal to this effect was presented by the parliamentarian Ališer Kadyrov: "Deportation is better than the use of force". Intimate relationships between people of the same sex are a crime in Uzbekistan. Many flee to avoid detention.

 

| 16/06/2021
| UZBEKISTAN

Now 26, the young man was accused of fomenting unrest and sowing discord. A photo on his mobile phone used as evidence against him. The family only learned of the execution at a later stage. Last year Riyadh announced a moratorium on the death penalty for children under 18.

| 16/06/2021
| SAUDI ARABIA

His Beatitude will be in the Strip from 14 to 17 June meeting ordinary people and officials. Communions and confirmations will be held tomorrow. The patriarch visited a school damaged in the latest round of violence. For Fr Romanelli, “tensions remain high”, but a desire to rebuild prevails.

| 15/06/2021
| ISRAEL – PALESTINE

The monastic community founded by the Roman Jesuit, who died in Raqqa in 2013, elected fra 'Jihad Youssef as the new abbot. His account to AsiaNews: "The Syrian people are tired of war, divided and abandoned by the international community, which is actually overwhelming them with the embargo. They suffer from the absence of a vision for a future free from multiple resentments".

| 15/06/2021
| SYRIA
by Shafique Khokhar

Danish Masih, 17, was drugged and held captive for five days. The police acted late, and no one has been arrested. The Catholic Commission for Justice and Peace is calling for new legislation to put an end to anti-Christian practices.

 

| 14/06/2021
| PAKISTAN

After 12 years, the era of Israel’s longest-serving prime minister ends. The first obstacle is the adoption of the state budget within 100 days. Bennett maintains two key figures in the fields of domestic and military security. And he assures: "No atomic power to Iran". Bibi promises: “We will be back”. Exponents of the Arab List say the government is "even more to the right" than the previous one.

| 14/06/2021
| ISRAEL – PALESTINE
by Sumon Corraya

Joy Haldar died in hospital for 22 long days after he was struck with rods and sticks in a punitive raid during which three other Christians were injured. His mother demands justice. A prayer and protest march are planned next week, with Catholic leaders expected to attend. The attackers have been released on bail.

| 14/06/2021
| BANGLADESH

There were no casualties or injuries in the attack. The raid threatens to hamper international diplomacy efforts for a ceasefire in Yemen, which has been at war for seven years. Riyadh wants to ease military pressure to foster political dialogue. The Shiite rebels continue the Marib offensive.

| 14/06/2021
| SAUDI ARABIA - YEMEN
by Vladimir Rozanskij

The leaders of the Islamic Renaissance Party of Tajikistan are languishing in jail. Their families have been targeted as “traitors to the homeland.” Some women were abandoned by their husbands because their fathers are jailed Islamist politicians. Dr Mirzo Khodjmatov has been arrested.

| 12/06/2021
| TAJIKISTAN
by Sumon Corraya

In a virtual ceremony, the prime minister officially inaugurated new mosques to mark the centenary of the birth of the nation's Founding Father Sheikh Mujibur Rahman. However, this is proving controversial on social media. Catholic prelate wonders if minorities will “have their own model places of prayer”.

| 12/06/2021
| BANGLADESH

The special service will be held on 27 June, in conjunction with the celebration of all the Catholic patriarchs of the East. Since Pope Francis’s visit, pastoral and Church life has experienced a renewal. The patriarch reminds Catholics of “Christian hope and national identity” as part of living together.

| 12/06/2021
| IRAQ

This Sunday, the Knesset will vote for a new cabinet that will end 12 years of undisputed power by the incumbent prime minister. For Palestinians, there is little hope for real change. But Mansour Abbas can work within the system to develop Israeli Arab communities. The Church works for dialogue and does not pass judgments on governments.

| 11/06/2021
| ISRAEL – PALESTINE

The new round of indirect negotiations between the parties is scheduled for the weekend in Vienna. The measure affects three former government officials and two oil companies from the Islamic Republic. US spokesman: "conciliatory" gesture on the eve of the meetings, ready "to be reasonable" on sanctions.

| 11/06/2021
| IRAN - UNITED STATES
by Sumon Corraya

Every year the anniversary of the constitutional amendment recognising Islam as state religion is marked as a ‘black day’. “If this state of affairs continues, Islamic extremism and communalism will end up creating serious problems”, says the Bangladesh Hindu Buddhist Christian Unity Council.

| 10/06/2021
| BANGLADESH

Two of the victims are members of Palestinian intelligence. The third is a militiaman linked to the Islamic Jihad Movement in Palestine. The interim government authorizes the "March of the flags" for June 15, fears of renewed violence. Two days after the Knesset vote to end the Netanyahu era.

| 10/06/2021
| ISRAEL - PALESTINE

Over the weekend, the auxiliary from Baghdad celebrated the first communions of 210 boys and girls. A moment of deeply felt celebration, after months of closures and restrictions for the new coronavirus. The catechism, trips and community meetings explore the legacy of the pontiff’s visit. A large gathering of young Chaldeans from all over the country is being studied.

| 08/06/2021
| IRAQ
by Shafique Khokhar

Two trains collided at 3.30 am yesterday near Daharki. It is the fourth collision to occur in the Ghotki district in the past year

| 08/06/2021
| PAKISTAN

The outgoing premier has a few days left to break the alliance that will oust him from power. Death threats and attacks on supporters of the future executive. Lapid: "If the leadership uses violence and incitement against members of the Knesset, then we need change." The March of flags has been cancelled, but right-wing parliamentarians want to parade.

| 08/06/2021
| ISRAEL - PALESTINE

A Syrian Catholic priest in Damascus remembers “a man of God in the difficult time of war”. The prelate fought against the flight of Christians and remained in the face of jihadi advance. He worked in favour of education, essential for the future of the community. A Christian journalist and activist was recently kidnapped in the area.

| 07/06/2021
| SYRIA
by Shafique Khokhar

The Archdiocese held a seminar on the problem of abducted Christian and Hindu women and girls abducted and forced into Islamic marriages. An appeal has been made to judicial and political authorities to enforce the Pakistan Penal Code in the case of forced marriage.

| 07/06/2021
| PAKISTAN

Twins Muna El-Kurd and Mohammed El-Kurd, aged 23, were held for a few hours, interrogated and released. Their family is among those who are in danger of being thrown out of their homes in East Jerusalem. An al-Jazeera journalist who was following the protests was also arrested.

| 07/06/2021
| ISRAEL - PALESTINE

United Arab Emirates and Bahrain to roll out third dose with Pfizer to those who have previously received two of Sinopharm. China’s vaccine would not have stimulated adequate antibody production. The Turkish president also receives a third dose, but does not reveal the product. Outcry from opposition: he already on his third dose, ordinary people still waiting for their first.

| 05/06/2021
| MIDDLE EAST

Camilla Haddad, 98, was hidden and cared for by the family of Elias Abu Ahmed when the Islamic State captured Mosul. Yesterday, she met with the Chaldean patriarch in Baghdad. Brotherhood and friendship between Christians and Muslims are echoed in Pope Francis’s ‘Fratelli Tutti’. A change in attitude is underway in Iraq.

| 04/06/2021
| IRAQ
by Shafique Khokhar

The Lahore High Court overturned the death sentence imposed on Shafqat Emmanuel and Shagufta Kausar, two illiterate parents accused out of revenge of sending a message against the prophet of Islam  on a mobile phone. For Christian lawmaker Khalil Tahir Sandhu, the law should punish those who make false accusations.

| 04/06/2021
| PAKISTAN
by Sumon Corraya

June 3 was the 20th anniversary of the bombing of the church of the Most Holy Redeemer which killed 10 and wounded over 50. "It's been 20 years, but we still have not obtained justice. We express anger, dissatisfaction and anxiety."

| 04/06/2021
| BANGLADESH

The fifth round of indirect negotiations between the parties has ended. A sixth is expected to begin next June 10th. US spokesman "does not rule out"  an agreement maybe as early as next week, but mutual "trust" is needed. Iranian negotiator: differences not insurmountable.

| 04/06/2021
| IRAN - USA
by Melani Manel Perera

The prelate is leading Christians in their fight for justice and truth about the massacres. He slams the government, the president and law enforcement for failing to shed light on the “grand conspiracy.” Key witnesses have been ignored. The cardinal would like to see international organisations, like the UN, involved.

| 03/06/2021
| SRI LANKA
by Mathias Hariyadi

Archbishop Mandagi said that he was the intended victim in two attempts this year. The police arrested 11 people, most likely linked to the Jamaah Ansharut Daulah terrorist network. Last Sunday, they had planned to set off bombs at the local cathedral, like the Palm Sunday attack in Makassar.

| 03/06/2021
| INDONESIA
by A.M.A.*

The emphasis on urban development and mega-projects, including the new administrative capital. Covid-19 pandemic has eradicated tourism with heavy losses to the state coffers. The role of the army as a guarantor and the position of the country in the international arena. The desire to share and work towards building the future is growing.

| 03/06/2021
| EGYPT

As Lapid's exploratory mandate expires, Bennett and Mansour Abbas reach an agreement for the new executive. The coalition will consist of eight different parties, including nationalists and Arabs. It will have to pass in Parliament, but the numbers are tight. From July Israel will also have a new president, former Labor leader Isaac Herzog.

| 03/06/2021
| ISRAEL
by A.M.A.*

Ten years after the Arab Spring, the land of the pharaohs has gone through an upheaval: the end of Mubarak's regime, the brief interlude of the Morsi presidency and Muslim Brotherhood rule, and the military’s intervention. Both population and prices have risen. Construction is happening everywhere, from archaeological sites to the desert, marking the end of a rural nation.

| 02/06/2021
| EGYPT

The Ministry of Islamic Affairs orders that loudspeakers be set at a third of their maximum volume. Parents complain that the high volume disturbs their children’s sleep. In some mosques, full sermons are broadcast over loudspeakers, not only the call to prayer. Not all mosques are heeding the order, which has sparked criticism and controversy.

 

| 01/06/2021
| SAUDI ARABIA
by Fady Noun

With the ecumenical meetings on July 1st in the Vatican, the pontiff intends to entrust Christians with a role of stability for the country. Political wills must be united and placed at the service of the nation. Nunzio Spiteri: his concern for Lebanon is hidden in the pope's words. Experience of coexistence that must remain free.

| 01/06/2021
| LEBANON - VATICAN

New attack by Card. Raï on politicians incapable of forming a government to guarantee stability to the nation. Fears of the impending withdrawal of subsidies, which could trigger further price hikes. International conference and neutrality to save a collapsing nation.

| 31/05/2021
| LEBANON
by Bernardo Cervellera

The 69-year-old prelate died from a heart attack while in Taipei for cancer treatment. Pope Francis had appointed him cardinal in November 2020. The cardinal had described the Church of Brunei (16,000 in all, mostly migrants) as a “hidden Church”, lively, small, “not noisy”, like a “Fat 500” whose apostolate focused on education and help to migrants. He had said: “people here in Asia are hungry for God.”

| 29/05/2021
| BRUNEI – VATICAN

The money raised will go to Gaza communities as a “sign of solidarity”, said Patriarch Pizzaballa, to meet the needs that emerged during the brief war. Gaza’s Fr Romanelli is grateful that no member of the community “was hurt”, but the damage and the shock run deep. Spiritual and economic support is “important”.

| 29/05/2021
| ISRAEL – PALESTINE

Saudi and Philippine authorities disagree over who pays for testing and quarantine, including for Filipinos who received a Chinese vaccine. This “hidden” tax affects thousands of Philippine workers in Saudi Arabia.

| 28/05/2021
| PHILIPPINES – SAUDI ARABIA

More than half are unemployed and unable to meet basic needs. According to a survey by the International Organisation for Migration, the crisis has exacerbated the “vulnerability” of workers. About 20 per cent suffer from chronic health problems, including mental health issues. Physical, psychological and sexual harassment are up.

| 28/05/2021
| LEBANON

The outgoing leader triumphed with 95.1% of the votes. Rivals Abdallah Salloum Abdallah and Mahmoud Mareï won 1.5% and 3.3% of the votes. The turnout figure is around 76%. Elections only held in the areas controlled by Damascus. In the province of Idlib, in the hands of the rebels, large protests. For the West, the vote was "neither free nor fair".

| 28/05/2021
| SYRIA
by Shafique Khokhar

The authors of the attack are three young people from the neighborhood: Muhammad Noman, Zaheer and Zain. One was arrested. Another is a member of the ruling party and is pushing the police to bury the case. Justice and Peace offer support and legal help to the family.

| 27/05/2021
| PAKISTAN

The Guardian Council has rejected the candidacy of the conservative Larijani and former president Ahmadinejad. The victory of the ultraconservative Ebrahim Raisi, close to the state apparatus and the supreme leader Khamenei, is taken for granted. The outgoing president recalls that "the heart of the elections is competition".

| 27/05/2021
| IRAN
by Vladimir Rozanskij

Failure to define the borders between the two Caucasian countries risks separating Armenia from Iran. Tensions mount between Yerevan and Baku, between Tehran and the Russian and Turkish "peacekeepers". Zarif makes desperate bid to save Rouhani.

| 27/05/2021
| ARMENIA-AZERBAIJIAN

Their story only came to light recently after Patriarch Sako found one of the two women still alive. Camilla Haddad and Mary Fathohi Weber were taken in and protected by Elias Abu Ahmed, who gave them a home along with his two wives and 14 children. The 98-year-old says she feels good, even if sometimes her “legs hurt”.

| 26/05/2021
| IRAQ

The outgoing president, in power since 2000, is looking for a fourth term. The only two rival candidates admitted by the electoral commission are almost unknown. Opposition abroad excluded from the vote. Polls open until 7 pm, there are 12 thousand seats scattered throughout the country. There is no vote in the Kurdish area and in Idlib, in the hands of the rebels.

| 26/05/2021
| SYRIA
by Shafique Khokhar

Arif Masih, 32, was beaten, kidnapped, poisoned and then abandoned on the street. Although there are complaints and witnesses, the police have not arrested the perpetrators. In protest, Arif's parents deposit his body amid rush hour traffic asking for solidarity. Baba Intizar Gill: We urgently need to protect religious minorities and give them full citizenship.

| 25/05/2021
| PAKISTAN

Iran’s 13th presidential election is set for 18 June. The race is between former parliamentary speaker Larijani and Chief Justice Raisi. Ahmadinejad might be the spoiler. For many Iranians, not voting is the only option to make their voice heard. Poverty, corruption and nepotism are rising.

| 24/05/2021
| IRAN
by Fady Noun

The cardinal attacks the "deadly" stalemate and the politicians who have "emptied" the Constitution. The prime minister in charge must show "courage" and agree on a new executive. If not, he should step aside and favour "a new process". The condemnation of the Nahr el-Kalb incidents.

 

| 24/05/2021
| LEBANON
by Shafique Khokhar

According to the police, the target was the leader Maulana Abdul Qadir Luni, who was injured.  Throughout the country there were demonstrations for "Palestine Solidarity Day".

 

 

| 22/05/2021
| PAKISTAN

A report drawn up by the Eğitim-Sen school union reveals that 44% of teachers report attendance less than 20% of the total. Turkey is among the first four countries in the world to have closed schools for the longest period in 2020. 56% of teachers have not yet received the vaccine.

| 22/05/2021
| TURKEY

Israeli and Palestinian activists and scholars are critical of the escalation of the conflict, which leaves the main issues unresolved. For a Palestinian Catholic, “internal conflicts and tensions [in Israel and Palestine] mirror the failure of political leaders.” The two sides must change leadership. Israeli activist says military victory is no way “to achieve peace”.

| 21/05/2021
| ISRAEL – PALESTINE

The cry “Allah Akbar” rings out from the loudspeakers of the mosques of the Strip.  Tens of thousands of people in the Strip and Palestine celebrate the ceasefire.  In 11 days of fighting 232 Palestinian victims, including 65 minors.  In Israel 12 dead, two children.  Satisfaction from the UN and the United States.

 

| 21/05/2021
| ISRAEL PALESTINE

The Chaldean primate spoke at a conference organised by University of Kurdistan Hewlêr in Erbil, in the presence of the top leaders of Iraqi Kurdistan. True democracy is fundamental “for the progress and unity of peoples”. A secular state embraces “all religions, cultures, groups and languages”.

 

| 20/05/2021
| IRAQ

Bangladesh is concerned about funding cuts to the refugee aid programme for Muslims who fled Myanmar. Donor conference comes up with only 35 per cent of what is required. UNHCR chief Filippo Grandi tells donors not to take for granted the host community’s patience, asks Asian donors to step up to the plate.

| 20/05/2021
| BANGLADESH

In the ongoing conflict there is an increasingly marked division between leadership and ordinary people. The "profound weariness" of a "perpetual conflict" and the "economic interests" that prevail over rights and people. In Kuwait hundreds of people demonstrated against the Jewish state, burning flags. Protests also in Bahrain and Qatar.

| 20/05/2021
| MIDDLE EAST

Moussa Abu Marzouk, political leader of the movement, optimistic that the diplomatic "efforts" underway "will be successful". According to an Egyptian source, the parties have reached an agreement in principle for the truce. Hospitals in the Strip overcrowded with waves of deaths and injuries, supplies of life-saving drugs run out.

| 20/05/2021
| ISRAEL - PALESTINE

The conflict between Israel and Hamas “is nothing new”, not so the “internal unrest” in Israel where the identity of the Jewish state, the question of Jerusalem, and religion are unresolved issues. The Church plans to hold a prayer vigil. Peace, justice and forgiveness are needed to heal the wounds of the Holy Land.

| 19/05/2021
| ISRAEL – PALESTINE
by Mathias Hariyadi

A Sumatran school expelled a 17-year-old student for releasing a video in which she "humiliated" Palestinians. An investigation opened against a cleaner in West Nusa Tenggara for a similar reason. The misperception of a "war" between Christians and Muslims in the violence in Palestine. Maximum government and army alert.

| 19/05/2021
| INDONESIA – MIDDLE EAST

Negotiations "in the initial phase" but give reason for optimism. The presidential elections in Tehran in June should not affect foreign policy, determined by Khamenei. A turning point also caused by the change of US administration.

 

| 19/05/2021
| SAUDI ARABIA - IRAN
by Vladimir Rozanskij

In the city of Dmani, a quarrel has turned into a brawl and struggle between the Christian and Muslim communities. The city is on the road between Armenia and Azerbaijan. The intervention of the Mufti of Eastern Georgia and the representative of the Patriarchate of Georgia was decisive. Inter-ethnic struggles, a legacy of the Soviet past.

| 19/05/2021
| GEORGIA
by Fady Noun

For the Lebanese Church, a war would be a “coup de grace” for a country already on its knees. Rockets have been launched from Lebanese territory, which could lead to involvement in the conflict. The UNIFIL mission calls for calm. Palestinian refugee camps call for a general solidarity strike.

| 18/05/2021
| LEBANON - GAZA

The US president in talks with Egypt and other partners to reach a truce. In Gaza the only laboratory for Covid-19 is out of use. Bernie Sanders: Palestinian rights matter. The updated toll is 212 victims in the Strip, including 61 minors.

| 18/05/2021
| MIDDLE EAST – USA
by Shafique Khokhar

The violent attack on Okara (Punjab) caused by a simple argument. Muslims with guns and hockey sticks have beaten, injured and destroyed entire families. Three days later, despite an official complaint and witnesses, the police have made no arrests.

| 18/05/2021
| PAKISTAN

Fr Ibrahim Faltas sounds the alarm for the "violence" and "anger" of young people. The failure of the 1967 resolutions and the indifference of the international community. People "are afraid to leave their house" because they "risk dying". An appeal to the heads of state: "Violence generates violence, we must all stop it!".

| 17/05/2021
| ISRAEL - PALESTINE

In a single day, over 40 deaths in air raids launched by Israeli jets on the Strip. In one week, over 3,000 rockets were fired by Hamas in Israeli territory. The updated toll is 218 Palestinian victims, including 58 minors and 34 women, more than 1230 injured. On the Israeli front 10 dead. The UN Security Council meeting ends with nothing.

| 17/05/2021
| ISRAEL - PALESTINE

Hundreds of worshippers follow the service outside, whilst few were allowed inside due to COVID-19 restrictions. Diyanet leader Ali Erbaş led the prayer. During his sermon from the minbar, wielding a sword, he mentioned the Palestinian cause and spoke of “cries” from “aggrieved lands of Islamic geography”.

| 15/05/2021
| TURKEY
by Melani Manel Perera

The government has imposed new restrictions to stem the tide of infection. Almost 900 people have reportedly died so far. Travel is limited during the curfew; non-essential activities are restricted, but for Muslims, this time brings a “spiritually high” experience to pray and heal the wounds caused by the coronavirus.

| 14/05/2021
| SRI LANKA

Fr Romanelli speaks about “constant bombing”, not knowing how far “the forces on the ground will go”. The school and the Convent of the Sisters of the Rosary have been damaged. Electrical power is out and the water supply is at risk. The fear of war has replaced the fear of COVID-19. Daytime bombings are a “very negative sign”.

| 14/05/2021
| ISRAEL – PALESTINE
by Vladimir Rozanskij

The famous blogger had criticized the president's policies and the corruption of the regime. He also denounced the authorities' use of false accusations to convict other bloggers. Kidnapped in January, he was tried in March and sentenced two days ago.

| 14/05/2021
| UZBEKISTAN

Over 150 "underground targets" in the Strip were hit overnight. Three rockets launched from Lebanon in the direction of Israel. Netanyahu warns: "The operation will last as long as necessary". Clashes in Israel between Orthodox and Arabs. President Rivlin appeals for calm. Fears of an internal civil war.

| 14/05/2021
| ISRAEL - PALESTINE

According to the Uyghur Human Rights Project, 18 Muslim clerics have died in prison or immediately after their release. Many have not been heard from for some time. Little official documentation exists about people sent to concentration camps. Uyghurs and members of other Muslim groups have been imprisoned just for praying.

 

| 13/05/2021
| CHINA
by Bernardo Cervellera

The editor of AsiaNews bids farewell as he returns to Hong Kong and China, an old and new mission. He gives thanks to God, to the AsiaNews staff, to friends and readers for their generosity. Mission in mass media is the “first areopagus” of contemporary mission.

| 13/05/2021
| EDITORIAL

The request came during a conference organized by the USA and Human Rights Watch. Turkish delegate: We are very concerned about the plight of Uyghurs and other Islamic minorities in the region. Beijing: Accusation of genocide is " lies of the century".

| 13/05/2021
| UN - CHINA

From today, for security reasons, all flights to Tel Aviv are diverted to other airports. Violence between Arabs and Jewish Israelis within mixed Israeli cities including Lod, Acre, Haifa and Tel Aviv. The UN Security Council is divided: it has already held two fruitless meetings and has scheduled another for tomorrow. European countries: No to rockets, no to settlements and expulsion of Palestinians.

| 13/05/2021
| ISRAEL - PALESTINE
by Mathias Hariyadi

Two of them, mother and son, were beheaded. The local Christian community is calling on the government to catch the culprits. The chief of the local Protestant Synod notes that the East Indonesia Mujahideen are a small group, and the government should have defeated them already.

| 12/05/2021
| INDONESIA
by Samir Youssef *

The testimony of a parish priest from Iraqi Kurdistan where infections are on the rise. The virus carries "a stigma" that people prefer to hide. The "Christian charity" which manifests itself in need through initiatives of solidarity. Prayer is a weapon against the isolation and fear caused by the disease.

| 12/05/2021
| IRAQ

Clashes between Arabs, Israelis and army in Lod, East Jerusalem and West Bank. Hundreds of rockets rain down on Tel Aviv and Beersheba. Hundreds of Israeli raids on Gaza. Five Israelis died, at least 35 Palestinians, including 10 children. Criticism from the Arab League; US caution. Good chance for Netanyahu.

| 12/05/2021
| ISRAEL - PALESTINE
by Mathias Hariyadi

Like last year, the traditional exodus associated with Eid celebration has been banned. Checkpoints and roadblocks have been set up across the country. More than 6,700 “mudikers” have been tested. Indonesia so far has reported 1.7 million cases, but the actual number is likely to be 10 times those admitted by the authorities. People move at night to avoid checkpoints.

| 11/05/2021
| INDONESIA

 250 rockets fired from the Gaza Strip into Israel. The army responds with airstrikes on strategic Hamas targets. The inertia of the international community. From the first protests over the ban on prayer during Ramadan to the Sheikh Jarrah controversy, many issues remain unresolved.

 

| 11/05/2021
| ISRAEL - PALESTINE

In a note, the patriarchate expressed discouragement and concern over the violence in East Jerusalem, the al-Aqsa mosque and Palestinian properties in Sheikh Jarrah. Blocking access to sacred places during Ramadan is an "unacceptable" deprivation of "basic human rights". By Israel "discriminatory" use of the rule of law.

| 11/05/2021
| ISRAEL - PALESTINE
by Shafique Khokhar

For Muhammad Ali, father of a 17-year-old boy, “no one thinks or cares about disabled people”. Caritas made him “feel that my son is also important for someone.” Providing “food packages among Muslim brothers and sisters is an example of religious harmony” that transcends “differences”, said Caritas Karachi executive secretary.

| 10/05/2021
| PAKISTAN

Violence also this morning with the annual Jerusalem Day Flag March, which marks the Israeli conquest of the city. The judges overturned the sentence scheduled for today in legal battle over the ownership of some houses in the Sheikh Jarrah neighbourhood. Netanyahu threatens an iron fist. Pope and international community appeal for calm.

| 10/05/2021
| ISRAEL - PALESTINE
by Vladimir Rozanskij

The city, conquered by the Azeris last November, has been declared the "cultural capital" of Azerbaijani Karabakh. But the Armenians claim it. About 200 Armenian prisoners have not been returned, violating the agreement mediated by Russia. For now, the Azeris continue to hold them hostage to use as a weapon of blackmail in negotiations.

| 10/05/2021
| ARMENIA-AZERBAIJAN
by Kamel Abderrahmani

In an interview with "Al-Arabiya", the Saudi Crown Prince suggests concentrating the constitution and laws on the Koran, eliminating many hadiths (sayings of the Prophet). He speaks of the need for a current “interpretation” of the Koran. A real change in ideological direction that goes beyond the Wahhabism propagated by Riyadh to date. No more stoning, scourging, killing apostates and homosexuals. Many Muslim intellectuals were persecuted and killed because they proposed the same vision as Mbs.

| 08/05/2021
| SAUDI ARABIA - ISLAM

At least 163 Palestinians and six Israeli policemen were injured yesterday, when Al Qods Day, famous in Iran, was celebrated. The Red Crescent had to set up a field hospital to treat the mass of wounded. Hamas proposes the occupation of the Al Aqsa compound until the end of Ramadan. UN: Enough with the forced expulsion of Palestinians, a possible "war crime".

 

| 08/05/2021
| ISRAEL - PALESTINE

For the second night in a row, violence erupts in the city’s suburb of Sheikh Jarrah. A dispute over properties between Jewish settlers and Palestinians is at the root of the issue. On Monday, Israel’s Supreme Court will hold a hearing over the issue. For the UN, the situation is “very worrying”.

 

| 07/05/2021
| ISRAEL – PALESTINE
by Shafique Khokhar

In the Mental Government Hospital in Lahore, false accusations of blasphemy, the Nursing Superintend Khalida Suleri organized a group of Muslim nurses and occupied the church located inside the hospital. James Channan OP clarified the facts and informed the superior authorities of the Punjab police.

| 07/05/2021
| PAKISTAN
by Vladimir Rozanskij

A Russian-Chinese project aims to "expose the Western lie". Russian media publish interviews with satisfied workers from Xinjiang. Secretary of the Shanghai Group: "There are no violations of human rights", no religious discrimination or "racial genocide". Moscow delegates control of troubled Central Asia to China.

| 06/05/2021
| RUSSIA - CHINA

Netanyahu's mandate has failed. Coalition with the religious Yamina nationalist party is under consideration. With his seven seats, Naftali Bennet could prove decisive. Clashes south of Nablus. A young Palestinian shot dead, as tensions rise.

| 06/05/2021
| ISRAEL - PALESTINE

An additional 400 children will receive the sacrament in the coming weeks, said Father Attalla, a sign of a living community. Pope Francis’s visit is still in people’s eyes and heart. “Even today children sing what they sang for the pope and laugh.”

| 05/05/2021
| IRAQ
by Mathias Hariyadi

Simon, a member of Christ the King parish in Pejompongan (Central Jakarta), is behind the initiative. During Ramadan, the Islamic holy month of fasting and prayer, donations drop creating supply shortages. Veronica and Simon of Cyrene in the Way of the Cross are the inspiration for the initiative to benefit the Diocese of Agats, one of the country’s poorest areas.

| 05/05/2021
| INDONESIA
by Shafique Khokhar

Attack took place yesterdat in Karachi’s Essa Nagri neighborhood. The little girl managed to free herself by screaming and running away. Neighbours grabbed and beat the attempted rapist. The police were also attacked. 

| 05/05/2021
| PAKISTAN

Ekrem Imamoglu is President Erdogan's main rival. The mayor allegedly disrespectful by walking near the deceased sultan's mausoleum with his hands behind his back. He is also under investigation for alleged contacts with members of the Kurdish HDP party.

| 05/05/2021
| TURKEY
by Melani Manel Perera

Hemasiri Fernando and Pujith Jayasundara are charged with 800 counts. For Sri Lanka's Attorney General Department, they are guilty of dereliction of duty in connection with the Easter Sunday bombings. Lawyer tells AsiaNews that the charges are “political sloganeering”. The government does not want to punish the real mastermind and perpetrators.

| 04/05/2021
| SRI LANKA
by Shafique Khokhar

The Christian owner of the land “went to the Muslim tenant to inform him that the lease was about to expire”. At his request, “I handed him the rental documents. He became enraged and tore them up, claiming to have bought the land from my father.”

| 04/05/2021
| PAKISTAN

The beatification process begins for the Claretian clergyman abducted by Abu Sayyaf in 2000. For Father Calvo, “People already think of him as a martyr, a hero” who gave his life for others.

| 04/05/2021
| PHILIPPINES

Forty leading figures from the world of culture, law and politics sign a study that accuses the president of violating the constitution while in office. For the bishop of Byblos, Lebanon needs help from abroad to end the deadlock; however, the attacks against the president go too far. External violence has repercussions on domestic problems.

| 04/05/2021
| LEBANON

The delegation led by intelligence chief Khalid Al-Humaidan. The official representation was closed in 2012. The reopening perhaps after Eid al-Fitr. New meetings are expected between the parties in the coming weeks. Middle Eastern diplomacy is moving from Riyadh to Tehran.

| 04/05/2021
| SYRIA - SAUDI ARABIA
by Vladimir Rozanskij

An Islamic court settled a dispute between Ingushetia and Dagestan. Clash between Kyrgyzstan and Tajikistan over the Golovnoy water intake facility leaves scores of people dead and wounded.

| 03/05/2021
| RUSSIA

China’s Communist government has its faults in the war of words with the West over its treatment of the Uyghurs. Accusations of human rights violations in the region are based on speculation. Some call for dialogue between China and Western countries, but Beijing has imposed restrictions on a possible international investigation.

| 03/05/2021
| CHINA
by Mathias Hariyadi

Local political officials and Catholic leaders are seriously concerned that Jakarta's hard-line approach will not produce positive results nor solve the problem in the short term. For the governor, it will have a negative economic, social and political impact. Fr Marthen Kuayo calls for dialogue and everyone’s commitment.

| 03/05/2021
| INDONESIA

The Maronite Patriarch and the Greek Orthodox Metropolitan united in criticism of political class. Greek Orthodox Metropolitan: errors accumulated over time, we pray "for resurrection". Maronite Patriarch: we need "solutions" to conflicts and unsolved problems. International aid is fundamental, because the origin "is not Lebanese".

| 03/05/2021
| LEBANON
by Sumon Corraya

The incident took place in Sarakdanga, a village near Naogaon. The victims’ home was destroyed, their food and valuables stolen, and both parents and children beaten. The attackers are from the same village and want to seize the Christians’ land. Despite a complaint, the police have not yet arrested anyone. The parish priest met with the victims and wanted to meet the attackers as well, but they fled.

| 01/05/2021
| BANGLADESH

An Iranian Foreign Ministry spokesman expressed appreciation for Saudi Arabia’s "change of tone" and hopes to work together for peace and stability. After a regional tour, Iranian Foreign Minister Zarif sees “positive signs on [the] horizon”. US President Biden might be ready to ease sanctions to jumpstart the nuclear deal.

| 01/05/2021
| IRAN – SAUDI ARABIA
by Fady Noun

The lack of border controls with Syria weighs heavily. Hezbollah uses the gaps in the border for its own cross-border trade. Many fear the country might become a drug trade hub for Gulf countries. At least 120 illegal crossings exist along the Syrian border. Selling drugs in Saudi Arabia is also a political aim.

| 30/04/2021
| LEBANON – SAUDI ARABIA
by Mathias Hariyadi

This follows the latest violent incidents. On Sunday a regional intelligence chief was killed in an ambush; on Tuesday, a policeman died in a gunfight. President Widodo orders a manhunt. Critics say the decision will have unpredictable “consequences”.

| 29/04/2021
| INDONESIA

Saudi Arabia’s strongman is sending signals of dialogue and détente towards the Islamic Republic. Divisions and opposing interests remain, but collaboration can “benefit everyone”. The White House, Gulf nations and COVID-19 are the factors that led to the change. Hinduism and Buddhism are included in Saudi school curriculum.

| 29/04/2021
| SAUDI ARABIA – IRAN

The deadline to present candidates for the May 26th vote closed yesterday. In order to run for election, each candidate must obtain the support of a member of parliament. France, the United States and the United Kingdom are already talking about sham elections. For Russia it is "inadmissible interference in internal affairs".

| 29/04/2021
| SYRIA

In Turkey, majority and opposition parties, Erdogan’s supporters and opponents are against Biden. Turkey’s Armenian minority keeps a low profile amid tensions. Sources told AsiaNews that the issue is “complex and sensitive”, that the “political and instrumental use” of the word must end.

 

| 28/04/2021
| TURKEY - ARMENIA

The report states that the "domination" of one group over the other is underway, the result of a "systematic oppression" of a people victim of "inhuman acts". For Israel these are "absurd and false" accusations, the NGO harbors an "anti-Israeli" agenda. Barricades preventing access to the Old City removed.

| 27/04/2021
| ISRAEL - PALESTINE
by Fady Noun

From John Paul II to Francis, Lebanon remains a model of dialogue and encounter to be preserved. The Holy See is closely following the political crisis and the "reawakening of identities”. Lebanese Christians have an historic role to play in a Middle East torn by conflicts and tensions.

| 26/04/2021
| LEBANON - VATICAN

The still provisional toll of the fire that struck the Ibn Al-Khatib hospital has risen to 82 dead and over 110 injured. Inside were hospitalized patients affected by the new coronavirus, while the country faces the second wave of the pandemic. Among the causes, "the storage of oxygen cylinders" without safety standards. Pope Francis’ prayer.

| 26/04/2021
| IRAQ

At least 10 thousand people marched through the streets of the capital. The crowd, holding torches and candles, gathered around the memorial to the victims. Turkish and Azerbaijani flags burned. Waiting for Biden's possible recognition of the genocide. A move that on the Turkish front would lead to the "irreparable" destruction of relations.

| 24/04/2021
| ARMENIA-TURKEY

Fear of violence and Israeli police barriers have limited the number of people going to the al-Aqsa compound. Palestinians and young Jewish supremacists from the Lehava group clashed last night, with about a hundred injured, 22 hospitalised, and more than 50 taken into custody. Provocations mar the holy month of Islamic fasting and prayer. Israel’s occupation is the main problem.

| 23/04/2021
| ISRAEL – PALESTINE

Yesterday the pontiff received the prime minister designate. The talks focused on Lebanon’s political crisis and the delays in forming a cabinet. The pontiff fears that the political row might take on a confessional character. Hariri, a Sunni, highlights the Vatican’s role in dealing with the country’s many crises.

| 23/04/2021
| VATICAN – LEBANON
by Kamel Abderrahmani

The judges of the Sidi M'hamed court found him guilty of "offending the precepts and rituals" of the Muslim religion. He will also have to pay a fine of 50,000 dinars. The defence lawyer is "shocked" by the harshness of the verdict and an appeal has already been announced. The struggle for freedom of conscience "is non-negotiable".

 

| 23/04/2021
| ALGERIA
by Fady Noun

There has been no news of Youhanna Ibrahim and Paul Yazigi in eight years. All traces of the two archbishops were lost between Aleppo and the Turkish border. According to unconfirmed sources, they were killed by a radical Islamic group. A memory "rooted in hearts" and that time "cannot erase". The roots of Christians go back to the Middle East.

| 23/04/2021
| SYRIA - LEBANON
by Melani Manel Perera

The Catholic Bishops' Conference urges Pope Francis to recognise as martyrs the victims of the attacks. For Card Ranjith, the bombings failed to sow divisions between different faiths. Activist slams the  government for failing to live up to its promises and provide justice no justice. People “want the truth.”

 

| 22/04/2021
| SRI LANKA
by Shafique Khokhar

A suicide bomber blew himself up in a car in the hotel parking lot, no foreigners among the victims. The target was probably the Chinese ambassador who is on a visit to the city.

| 22/04/2021
| PAKISTAN
by Melani Manel Perera

The attacks killed 269 people on 21 April 2019. The former Methodist bishop of Colombo Asiri Perera urges people to go beyond the wounds. For him, God’s justice is our only guide.

| 21/04/2021
| SRI LANKA

The speaker of Syria’s parliament announced the candidacy of 50-year-old Faten Ali Nahar, from Damascus, but little is known about her. Assad has not yet announced. For Bishop Abou Khazen, a woman candidate in a Muslim society is an important step. Daily hardships trump hopes for change.

| 21/04/2021
| SYRIA
by Shafique Khokhar

An unknown attacker shot at the journalist at point blank as he walked in a park near his home, breaking a rib and damaging his liver. He was immediately rushed to hospital for treatment. In a video he said he would continue his struggle. Fellow journalists and government officials expressed solidarity.

| 21/04/2021
| PAKISTAN

Iran, Egypt, Iraq and Saudi Arabia occupy four of the top five positions globally according to data from Amnesty International. People executed by Riyadh (down 85%) and Baghdad (down 50%) are decreasing. Dizzying increase in Cairo of more than 300%. The global figure is the lowest in the last decade.

| 21/04/2021
| MIDDLE EAST
by Melani Manel Perera

The Archbishop of Colombo wants two symbolic acts to mark the second anniversary of the 21 April 2019 bombings. He also renewed his protest against the government's reluctance to inquire. The Sri Lankan Muslim Council also calls for prayers for the victims and demands the truth.

 

| 20/04/2021
| SRI LANKA

Workers stormed a construction site demanding unpaid wages and fewer hours of work for Ramadan. Police say they intervened to avoid attacks against 900 Chinese workers. Humanitarian organisation is seeking compensation for the families of the dead. China's investments play a major role.

| 20/04/2021
| BANGLADESH

Elections are scheduled for 26 May. Victory assured for outgoing leader Assad, who has yet to formalize his candidacy. The High Court has so far admitted two challengers, excluding figures from opposition in exile. AsiaNews source: a vote that does not warm the hearts, the hope of an agreement between Iran and world powers on nuclear power.

| 20/04/2021
| SYRIA
by Mathias Hariyadi

Our age is inhabited by many evils, from COVID-19 to corruption. Playing a leadership role in society requires “moral integrity and dedication,” putting aside personal interests. The novel coronavirus provides an opportunity to “reset” what is now an unsustainable model of life. “Moral conscience” should guide people and help them not to get lost in a sea of information.

| 20/04/2021
| INDONESIA

The 31-year-old spent over a thousand days in prison fighting the ban on women driving. In prison she was subject to solitary confinement and torture, since February she has been under house arrest and subject to restrictions. Her sister Lina calls for international support to "expose the injustices in my country and to protect the victims".

| 20/04/2021
| SAUDI ARABIA - EU

Nabil Habashi Khadim, 62, was an esteemed merchant and philanthropist. He was kidnapped on 8 November last and killed with a Kalashnikov shot to the head. His murder was posted online by the jihadist movement who accused him of having contributed to the construction of the only Christian place of worship in Bir Al-Abd,

| 19/04/2021
| EGYPT
by Mathias Hariyadi

The foundation celebrated 33 years of activity with a seminar dedicated to leadership and the COVID-19 pandemic. Moral integrity and inclusion are some of the principles required to join. The NGO is now open to non-Catholics, including Hindu and other Christian students.

| 19/04/2021
| INDONESIA

The Financial Times reports a first meeting between officials of the Islamic Republic and emissaries from the Wahhabi kingdom in the Iraqi capital on 9 April. Relations broke off in 2016 after the assault on the Saudi consulate in Iran. Issues on the agenda include nuclear power to the war in Yemen.

| 19/04/2021
| IRAN – S. ARABIA

Worshippers, mostly Israeli Arabs, are back at al-Aqsa mosque on the first Friday prayer of Ramadan after last year's pandemic-related restrictions and lockdowns. Prayers were peaceful with no tense moments with police. Meanwhile, Israel is planning to reopen to vaccinated foreign visitors on 23 May under strict conditions.

 

| 17/04/2021
| ISRAEL – PALESTINE
by Shafique Khokhar

The extremist Islamist party has violently attacked France over the Muhammad cartoons. Paris urges its citizens and businesses to leave Pakistan.

 

| 16/04/2021
| PAKISTAN

Hope is needed most to cope with today’s suffering and angst. Transcending human optimism, it “has its basis in something religious: God loves us, and therefore cares for us through his providence”.

| 16/04/2021
| VATICAN

In recent days, about 35 women between the ages of 15 and 30 have participated in a bike ride through the streets of the old city. In the past, bicycles were a taboo; according to a superstition they were the cause of loss of virginity. The restoration project of the mosque destroyed by Isis has been assigned. Don Paolo: significant changes on a social level, economic and administrative difficulties remain.

| 16/04/2021
| IRAQ

Israeli fighters launched attacks on Hamas military targets. A weapons production site, a smuggling tunnel and a military post were hit. Last night a rocket landed in an uninhabited area of ​​Sderot, without causing damage or injuries. Isolation and Covid-19 worsen the situation of population living in the Strip.

| 16/04/2021
| ISRAEL - PALESTINE
by Emanuele Scimia

A new civil conflict is likely, but the country can be saved. The Taliban will take advantage of the US withdrawal to regain power. The need for a new Afghan political class. Young people can be a force for change. A conversation with a Barnabite priest in Afghanistan for over 30 years.

| 15/04/2021
| AFGHANISTAN
by Fady Noun

Cardinal speaks with French diplomatic press, reiterating his appeal to neutrality and a UN sponsored international conference. Diverging visions of the Elysée and the White House on Hezbollah. The issue of Syrian refugees and the demographic element as an essential factor in a delicate balance.

 

| 15/04/2021
| LEBANON

Joe Biden: support for the Afghan government, but no longer on a military level. There are 3,500 US troops on the ground, along with another 7,000 from NATO. The Taliban sing victory: The United States has lost, we will restore the Islamic government. A civil war scenario. The conflict has caused almost 160 thousand deaths: between 35 and 43 thousand are civilians. US forces suffered 2,312 casualties.

| 15/04/2021
| USA-AFGHANISTAN

The 71-year-old intellectual was convicted of involvement in the failed summer 2016 coup against Erdogan. Activists denounced abuses and violations in the trial against him. His first words: News came "suddenly. I want to spend time with my children”.

| 15/04/2021
| TURKEY

Restaurants and bars in the emirate are no longer obliged to affix panels or screens to cover those who consume food. Archbishop Hinder: “less strict” rules for the holy month than in the past. 90% of the inhabitants of foreign origin, a substantial portion non-Muslims. Vaccination tourism linked to the pandemic.

| 14/04/2021
| UAE - ISLAM
by Vladimir Rozanskij

Due to frosts, many agricultural productions were destroyed in March. For onions, beans and corn, extraordinary work rates are needed. According to Islamic leaders, Rakhmon "finds new excuses every year". Trial and convictions for "terrorism" of 119 members close to the Muslim Brotherhood.

| 14/04/2021
| TAJIKISTAN

The activists were members of the Young Free Women movement and the Socialist Women's Assembly. During interrogation they allegedly suffered beatings and abuse. Women’s rights activists say the convention is fundamental to counter "fascism" and the daily "massacres" of women. The “Sofà-gate” case and the question of women in Erdogan's Turkey.

| 14/04/2021
| TURKEY
by Fady Noun

On April 10, the episcopal ordination in Bkerké, presided over by Patriarch Raï. A pastor, catechist, administrator and chaplain linked to the world of scouts and the Focolare movement. The prelate will have to lead one of the most populous and controversial dioceses in the country. The key is hope and strength for the future.

| 13/04/2021
| LEBANON

The holy month begins tomorrow and will end on 12 May with the feast of Eid al-Fitr. This year the COVID-19 pandemic will impose restrictions again. Religious leaders support vaccination, which does not violate the fast. The Chaldean Patriarch extends his wishes, and sees the celebration as an opportunity for “peace and reconciliation”.

| 12/04/2021
| MIDDLE EAST – ISLAM
by Shafique Khokhar

The two women are accused of having thrown away an adhesive label with devotional phrases. One of them risked being killed by a colleague of hers. An investigation has started. The accusation probably arose from disagreements at work or personal interests. Bishop of Faisalabad: It is time to change the blasphemy law.

| 10/04/2021
| PAKISTAN

Ahead of parliamentary elections in October, the cardinal launches a "patriotic and heartfelt" appeal.  Tensions, instability and uncertainty weigh on the future of the nation.  An "awakening of the conscience" of belonging to a "community" is necessary.  With al-Sistani for the end of sectarianism.

 

| 10/04/2021
| IRAQ

“Giving bread and water to those who knock on the door of monasteries is a tradition that goes thousands of years,” Bishop Bizzeti said. The monk was so sure of his innocence that he did not hire a lawyer. People are waiting to read the verdict’s full text. It is “premature” to claim that politics or religion are behind it.

| 09/04/2021
| TURKEY - ITALY

Sattar Sawut was convicted for his role in the publication of school textbooks said to incite interethnic hatred. Five other Uyghurs were convicted in the same case. The former head of the local justice department was also sentenced to death for conspiring with Muslim separatists.

 

| 08/04/2021
| CHINA

The defendants found guilty of attempts to overthrow the constitutional order and assassinate of the head of state. Another 106 people will have to serve between six and 18 years in prison. 497 defendants on trial. The majority were career soldiers at the time, including presidential guard officers.

| 08/04/2021
| TURKEY

Father Aho will serve 25 months in prison for providing “help to a terrorist organisation”. The clergyman, absent from the courtroom, has always rejected the charges. The trial was held without journalists and public. Anti-Christian repression is growing as evinced by the Assyrian monk’s trial and the fate of Hagia Sophia.

| 07/04/2021
| TURKEY
by Shafique Khokhar

In his Easter greetings to Christians, the politician claimed that "minorities enjoy full freedom in Lahore." The tears of Mrs. Nageena, whose 15-year-old daughter was kidnapped more than a year and a half ago: "If what happened to me had happened to these politicians would they have the courage to say the same?".

| 07/04/2021
| PAKISTAN
by Ati Nurbaiti

President Jokowi calls on ASEAN to intervene to ensure the safety of the people of Myanmar whose generals are more interested in Thailand’s military coup than Indonesia’s model of democratic transition. In Indonesia there is little empathy for protesters in Myanmar.

| 07/04/2021
| INDONESIA – MYANMAR

Cautious optimism after the first (indirect) meeting yesterday in Vienna, under the aegis of the EU. The restoration of the JCPOA "will not be immediate" and "will take time", but positive signals are coming from Iran and the United States. The White House is ready to remove the sanctions "contrary to the agreement".

| 07/04/2021
| IRAN - UNITED STATES
by Melani Manel Perera

The prelate slams the former head of state for seeking office again. According to the Archbishop of Colombo, Sirisena must be indicted. If no justice is done by 21 April, he will take to the streets. At 8.45 am, the moment of the first blasts, church bells tolled across Sri Lanka.

| 06/04/2021
| SRI LANKA
by Fady Noun

In his Easter homily, the prelate expressed his outrage that half of the Lebanese people are hungry and living below the poverty line. He voiced his most serious accusations against the political establishment during a meeting with President Aoun, whom he criticised along with Hezbollah. He calls for an end to abuse, and supports neutrality and an international conference to save the country.

| 06/04/2021
| LEBANON

Analysts and experts speak of an encouraging "small step forward". Indirect talks, mediated by the European Union, could open today in Vienna. Ayatollah Khamenei withholds go-ahead for direct meetings. But unresolved issues such as support for Hamas, Hezbollah and Assad weigh on the future of the negotiations.

| 06/04/2021
| IRAN - UNITED STATES

Cases of new coronavirus are on the rise in the Strip, but the pandemic has not stopped the desire for participation. Once more, Israel has not granted any travel permits, using the health emergency to keep tight control. For Fr Romanelli, at a time of uncertainty, faith is strengthened: “let us feed the desire to live through works and prayer”.

| 03/04/2021
| PALESTINE – ISRAEL
by Fady Noun

Cardinal launches new attack o Shiite movement, the last obstacle to a position of "neutrality" in the interest of the country and its people. The dialogue between the president and the prime minister in charge renewed, with a view to forming a new government. Behind the scenes the dialogue between the patriarchate and the Shiite movement continues in the framework of the bipartite committee Bkerké-Hezbollah.

| 02/04/2021
| LEBANON

The Palestinian 'Nelson Mandela' and Arafat's nephew are joining forces for change. This is a turning point in the run-up to May’s Palestinian parliamentary elections and July’s presidential elections, rumours of a postponement notwithstanding. For the Catholic leader, Barghouti represents a break with the policies of recent years. A breakthrough is needed to overcome years of deadlock.

| 01/04/2021
| PALESTINE – ISRAEL

Card. Beshara Raï met with Sheikh Hamid Shahrayari and the charge d'affaires of the embassy in Beirut. A "frank and transparent" dialogue which confirmed the importance of "national unity" to safeguard "sovereignty". Openness to dialogue and confrontation also by the leader of Hezbollah to "get the country out of the impasse".

| 01/04/2021
| LEBANON - IRAN
by Mathias Hariyadi

The attacker, whose identity remains unknown, was killed. Three days ago, a bomb attack on Makassar Cathedral was blamed on Jamaah Ansharut Daulah, a jihadi group linked to the Islamic State group, also deemed responsible for several recent terror attacks.

| 31/03/2021
| INDONESIA

In 2020, at least 267 people executed, including four minors and nine women. China, Iraq and Saudi Arabia follow. The abolitionist front is growing in the Islamic Republic; the wrestler Navid Afkari, symbol of the struggle executed in September. In 2020, a death sentence was carried out for crimes related to alcohol consumption.

| 31/03/2021
| IRAN

The fifth Brussels Conference of Syria's donors opened. At least US$ 10 billion are needed in 2021 to meet needs. At least 24 million people are in serious need, four more than last year. For Bishop Audio, “a shared and global effort is needed”.

| 30/03/2021
| SYRIA – UNITED NATIONS
by Vladimir Rozanskij

Preventive arrests, a block on communications fail to stop the rally. Several participants arrested in other cities. Nazerbaev charged with giving "the Chinese whatever they ask for". Request for the release of Aron Atabek, poet and dissident sentenced to 18 years in prison.

| 30/03/2021
| KAZAKHSTAN

November 2019 protesters of fuel hikes among pardoned. Analysts define the release of such a large number of detainees for crimes against the state "very rare". The new Silk Road unites Tehran and Beijing in an anti-American key.

| 30/03/2021
| IRAN - CHINA

Over a thousand faithful attended the procession to the Mount of Olives with the Patriarch Pierbattista Pizzaballa. A sign of "the need to return to normality, meetings, real life". The future of pilgrimages "with a gradual recovery" and of the school "with online lessons that works up to a certain point". The Pope's “courageous” trip to Iraq. For an involvement of the Jewish world "that takes time".

| 29/03/2021
| HOLY LAND
by Mathias Hariyadi

One of the terrorists who tried to blow up the cathedral belonged to the Jamaah Ansharut Daulah (Jad) group, famous for carrying out the attack on Jolo Cathedral in 2019. Some members of the group were arrested in Sumbawa, in the province of West Nusa Tenggara. The condemnation of President Widodo, of the Minister for Religious Affairs, of the Protestant Churches. Vicar General of Makassar: Thanks to the police commitment. It is important to support the Catholic community and "promote the spirit of fraternity among all Indonesian citizens".

| 29/03/2021
| INDONESIA
by Mathias Hariyadi

There are only a few injuries and human remains in front of the crime scene: perhaps those of the bomber.

| 28/03/2021
| INDONESIA
by Sumon Corraya

Demonstrations against the Indian premier’s participation in celebrations for the 50th anniversary of independence and the centenary of the birth of Mujibur Rahman. Islamists accuse him of persecution of Muslims in India. Modi: "Collaboration between our two countries is fundamental for the development of South Asia."

| 27/03/2021
| BANGLADESH

Two former police chiefs and two other former senior officials of the Interior Ministry sentenced. The Armenian community says the sentence fails to do justice to the victim. RSF: "Partial justice" 14 years after his death. Friends of Hrant Dink Group: the mechanisms and connections that led to the assassination are still unknown.

| 27/03/2021
| TURKEY
by Mathias Hariyadi

For a second year, Indonesian authorities have banned the mudik, the traditional homecoming tradition associated with Islamic holidays. The exodus usually involves millions of people. No travel between 6 and 17 May. “We hope that a certain kind of herd immunity can be achieved by our vaccination programme,” says minister.

| 26/03/2021
| INDONESIA

The cardinal invited the interim premier to re-launch institutional dialogue. The request for a new team of ministers and for consultations between the parties in a spirit of "unity and sincerity". But the rift between Hariri and President Aoun remains. The Feast of the Annunciation is an opportunity to strengthen the dialogue between Christians and Muslims.

| 26/03/2021
| LEBANON
by padre Nikhil Gomes*

The father of the nation, Sheikh Mujibur Rahman, was a man of incredible courage who always stood up for equality, dignity and justice. His ideal vision has always been to transform this nation he called home, Bangladesh, into Sonar (Golden) Bangla, where every citizen would lead a life of dignity, respect and fulfilment.

| 26/03/2021
| BANGLADESH

The Apostolic Journey constitutes a legacy of exchanges and experiences that can bring the country back “to the international arena”. Card Sako suggests ways to revive tourism, dialogue, unity and interfaith dialogue. Tourism can play a role in the economic recovery while highlighting the country’s Christian, Muslim, Yazidi, Sabaean and Jewish heritage.

| 25/03/2021
| IRAQ – VATICAN
by NAT da Polis

The Greek Revolution, which began the dissolution of the Ottoman Empire, was characterised by a reference to religion. For this reason, the then Ecumenical Patriarch Gregory V was killed, as was his defender Haci Halil, Grand Imam of Constantinople. The betrayal by the Russians. Erdoğan's neo-Ottoman prospects.

| 25/03/2021
| TURKEY – GREECE
by Shafique Khokhar

The Rwadari Tehreek movement held a rally after people die in custody and in fake clashes with police. Anyone responsible for such serious abuse must be brought to justice and tried “in line with international standards,” said Samson Salamat, the movement’s chairman.

| 25/03/2021
| PAKISTAN

Riot police units forcibly interrupted demonstrations in Amman and other cities across the country. Citizens and organized groups took to the streets for the 10th anniversary of the Arab Spring. Demands include an end to emergency laws introduced to combat the new coronavirus pandemic.

| 25/03/2021
| JORDAN

After Trump’s “maximum pressure” policy, Washington and Tehran struggle to reconnect. The economy lost almost 5 percentage points in 2020. Billions of oil dollars are stuck in Chinese, Iraqi and South Korean banks. Unemployment is at 12.4 per cent while the fiscal deficit is rising.

| 24/03/2021
| IRAN – UNITED STATES
by Fady Noun

The rift between the president and the prime minister-designate seems irreversible. Aoun's demands vis-à-vis the formation of the government clash with Hariri's vain quest for autonomy. Meanwhile, the US dollar HAS hit A new high against the Lebanese pound while the population is getting hungrier. US, UN, EU and Arab League urge Lebanese leaders to find a solution and put an end to the political and institutional stalemate.

| 23/03/2021
| LEBANON

The Saudis are calling for a ceasefire under the auspices of the United Nations. The (partial) reopening of air and sea connections is also expected, together with the start of political negotiations. For the pro-Iranian militias, the proposal is "insufficient": first they demand an "end to the aggression" and the "complete removal of the blockade".

| 23/03/2021
| YEMEN – S. ARABIA
by Shafique Khokhar

Experts and activists are demanding that teachers, parents, students and education experts be involved in the policy process. The interests of students must be protected without any discrimination. Imposing Islamic studies on non-Muslims will drive many away from school. The education budget should be increased.

| 22/03/2021
| PAKISTAN
by Sumon Corraya

Christians, Buddhists and Hindus held a rally to protest against an attack by Muslim radicals against the Hindu community in Sunamganj District. The mob desecrated a temple. One minority leader lamented the fact that “the police and local authorities were silent” on the day the country celebrated 50 years of independence and the creation of a secular state.

| 22/03/2021
| BANGLADESH
by Mathias Hariyadi

The Indonesian Ulema Council (MUI) issues its official opinion on whether the vaccine is allowed under Islamic law or not. The Anglo-Swedish pharmaceutical company denies that its drug contains derivatives of animal origin, in particular pig.

| 22/03/2021
| INDONESIA

In his homily for Sunday Mass, Card. Raï attacks the "new proposals and excessive conditions" linked to the birth of the new executive. Hopes for "positive results" from today’s summit between the president and prime minister in charge. Criticism, without directly naming, of Hezbollah which continues to "paralyze" political and institutional life.

| 22/03/2021
| LEBANON

Turkey's human rights agency has rejected the request by Fr Remzi Diril for an investigation. Nothing is known about his father who went missing over a year ago while his mother’s body was found, naked with signs of torture. Human rights groups call on the members of the human rights agency to resign.

| 20/03/2021
| TURKEY

More and more cases of violations and abuses are reported in schools, workplaces, and public buildings. Since 2001, at least 60 national and local rules or laws have been adopted discriminating on the basis of dress. For Alissa Wahid, an “inclusive paradigm” has morphed into an “exclusive” vision that leaves “a single interpretation of Islam”.

 

| 19/03/2021
| INDONESIA

At least 10 people were detained in Istanbul. Exponents of the Peoples' Democratic Party are targeted. Process at Constitutional Court over ban on Kurdish education. Its leaders denounce a "political coup". Criticism from the United States and Germany over violation of human rights.

| 19/03/2021
| TURKEY

Yesterday there were 5663 new cases to the virus and 33 deaths. On average 40 thousand tests are carried out every day; an insufficient number according to experts to contain the infections. Baghdad auxiliary: In Jordan a "major increase", the new coronavirus is now "part of everyday life".

 

| 18/03/2021
| IRAQ
by Fady Noun

The positions between Aoun and Hariri are irreconcilable. The legacy of the civil war has never been remedied. The alliance with Hezbollah is a problem: a confrontation between a democratic society and an incompatible totalitarian project. The Pope's visit to Iraq carries great significance for the Lebanese.

 

| 17/03/2021
| LEBANON

The EU is planning punitive measures for anti-Uyghur repression in Xinjiang. In April, it will also approve sanctions against China for violating the “one country, two systems” principle in Hong Kong. The Chinese admit that US restrictions are hurting. The EU and China are also split over the South China Sea and Taiwan.

| 17/03/2021
| CHINA – EUROPEAN UNION
by Shafique Khokhar

Seven more families will be able to pay off their debt thanks to the generosity of AsiaNews readers. Some 50 families also received food parcels. Now free, Amir and Asima can continue their love story. Muslim businessmen praise the initiative. For one of them, “without your help they would not have made it”.

| 16/03/2021
| PAKISTAN
by Melani Manel Perera

The prelate points out that “the authors of the attacks” and those who “funded them” have not been identified. The report is “incomplete” and therefore unacceptable to the country’s Catholic bishops. The cardinal reiterates his commitment to the search for the truth and the quest for justice.

| 16/03/2021
| SRI LANKA
by Fady Noun

After weeks of tensions over the internationalisation of Lebanon’s crisis and the proposed UN conference, the parties open talks. For Hares Chehab, neutrality is a complex issue that needs to be explored. The Shia party’s weapons remain a stumbling block. The two sides pledge to meet again.

| 16/03/2021
| LEBANON
by Vladimir Rozanskij

In the Kabardino-Balkaria region, the dead from Covid arrive in polyethylene bags and closed coffins, after body and coffin treated with chlorine. However, Muslims bury their dead by wrapping them in a sheet, placing them in the bare earth, with their faces turned towards Mecca. Only 391 victims in Kabardino-Balkaria although mortality in the region is up by 20%.

 

| 16/03/2021
| RUSSIA
by Fady Noun

Over the weekend, former Prime Minister Siniora, head of the committee, met with Card Beshara Al-Rahi. Christians and Muslims support the cardinal’s appeal against the politics of factions and never-ending conflicts. An appeal is made to the international community to protect and respect Lebanon’s sovereignty.

| 15/03/2021
| MIDDLE EAST

In his Sunday homily, the cardinal stands in solidarity with population’s "anger" of the population. The army’ duty is to defend democracy, sovereignty and neutrality of the nation. He asks young people and demonstrators, the hope of tomorrow, not to block the roads and avoid clashes with the military.

| 15/03/2021
| LEBANON

Saudi Arabia requires foreign companies to establish their regional headquarters in the capital. The law will come into force in 2024 and leaves ample time (and room for negotiation). Analysts and experts speak of whim of bin Salman. The emirate remains more attractive not only for funding, but for greater freedom (including of faith).

| 13/03/2021
| SAUDI ARABIA - UAE
by Mathias Hariyadi

Leaders in culture and society underline the significance and value of the event, which follows the Abu Dhabi Document. For Father Wibowo, "the brotherhood declared by the Document will be the key point in which all the different religious parties can meet in the same spirit".

| 12/03/2021
| INDONESIA
by Sumon Corraya

Two arrested militants have confessed to taking part in organising trans people by teaching them the Qurʼān. The campaign is promoted by the same groups that attack scientific communicators, bloggers and journalists. COVID-19 fundraisers have also become a means of Islamist propaganda.

| 12/03/2021
| BANGLADESH

For Fr Ibrahim Faltas, the pontiff found a new Holy Land amid the rubble, the severed heads of the statues of Our Lady and in the devastation by the Islamic State. He also found a “people who clung to their land through their faith.” The pontiff also sent greetings to President Abbas, which “amazed everyone.”

| 12/03/2021
| HOLY LAND – IRAQ – VATICAN

On the 10th anniversary of Syria’s civil war, Mgr Abu Khazen looks at a “torn” nation and a people “in poverty and growing despair.” The country is rich in gas, oil and wheat but the average family has US$ 30 a month to live on.  The help of the Church and NGOs is fundamental. The pope in Iraq is a source of hope.

| 11/03/2021
| SYRIA

The abuses linked to recent demonstrations marking 10 years since the Arab Spring. Activist groups report threats of rape and electroshock. A policeman beat a 13-year-old in the head, a 16-year-old is still in custody despite serious health problems.

 

| 11/03/2021
| BAHRAIN
by Khosrow Ebrahimi

The meeting between the pontiff and the Shia cleric confirms Sistani’s role as world leader of Shiism. Since the founding of the Islamic Republic, Qom has tried to undermine Najaf's place. Kayhan, a newspaper close to religious extremists, mocked the meeting. Others, including some in Qom, see it as a new effort to bring peace to the Middle East.

| 10/03/2021
| IRAN – VATICAN – IRAQ

The dispute has dragged on for decades with a legal battle that has lasted over 10 years. For the High Court, the Home Ministry exceeded its powers when it issued a rule contrary to the constitution. “Religious freedom is absolutely protected even in times of threat to public order," a judge said.

| 10/03/2021
| MALAYSIA
by Felix Machado

The Secretary General of the Bishops’ Conference, a former undersecretary of the Pontifical Council for Interreligious Dialogue, speaks about the journey by Christians and Muslims noted by the Pope in his trip to Iraq. Asia is multireligious. “The approaches must differ,” writes the prelate. “But there is no alternative to dialogue. It is a do or die, survive or perish situation.

| 10/03/2021
| INDIA - VATICAN

For the Chaldean primate, the pontiff "extended his gaze to a people who have suffered", reinforcing the value of "fraternity and closeness". Christians today can show "their faith with pride". The Muslims on the streets paid homage to Francis. With al-Sistani the seed of dialogue sowed, which the Church must "irrigate and cultivate".

| 10/03/2021
| IRAQ - VATICAN

Francis dedicates the general audience to his journey to Iraq. The "unforgettable encounter" with the Great Ayatollah Al-Sistani. “Who sells weapons to terrorists? Who today sells weapons to terrorists who carry out massacres?”. "God, who is peace, grant a future of brotherhood to Iraq, the Middle East and the whole world!".

| 10/03/2021
| VATICAN

The alarm raised by Prime Minister Mohammad Shtayyeh. Rigid two week lockdown. The daily number of victims also rises. We need "stringent, direct and unprecedented" measures. In Israel, 53% of the 9 million inhabitants received at least one dose of the Pfizer / BioNTech vaccine and 38% inoculated the two doses.

 

| 10/03/2021
| ISRAEL - PALESTINE

On the New Dawn newspaper, Prof Özcan Güngör, of Ankara University, talks about the “Theo-strategy of the Pope's visit to Iraq”. In a long article illustrated by a cartoon he cites Daesh (Islamic State) as a force that acted through means provided by “Western imperialism”. For the New Era newspaper, the Vatican is the centre of FETÖ, a putative organisation accused by Ankara of organising the failed 2016 coup.

| 09/03/2021
| TURKEY – VATICAN
by Shafique Khokhar

Asma Bibi, 26, and her husband Munawar Masih, 28, talk about the misery and slavery of living in a brick factory. Joy and gratitude for their debt paid thanks to the AsiaNews campaign. Now their three children will be able to go to school and will be able to have a house with a toilet.

| 09/03/2021
| PAKISTAN
by Melani Manel Perera

Sri Lankan Churches held a symbolic protest over the weekend to mark “Black Sunday”, demanding light be shed on the attacks. Card Ranjith and the country’s bishops openly backed the rallies. For many people, the attacks were “planned in every detail”. They want to know the names “of the masterminds”. For the prelate, “We will not fear anybody”.

 

| 09/03/2021
| SRI LANKA
by Vladimir Rozanskij

International Women's Day saw rallies in defence of women's rights and against gender-based violence. Attacks on women in Kyrgyzstan are on the increase. Protesters called for the release of Kazakh women detained for membership in banned organisations”. For some, “feminism will save Kazakhstan.”

 

| 09/03/2021
| KYRGYZSTAN – KAZAKISTAN

The large majority held in the structure, run by Houthi rebels, were Ethiopian migrants. According to IOM activists, the centre was overcrowded and housed at least 900 people, including 350 in the sector most affected by the flames. The fire, the causes of which remain unknown, broke out on March 7, coinciding with the air strikes of the Saudi-led Arab coalition.

| 09/03/2021
| YEMEN - UN

Francis has Q&A with journalists on the flight back from Baghdad. The meeting with Al-Sistani validates the reasons for fraternity and dialogue; the one with the father of little Alan Kurdi highlighted the right to emigrate. Lebanon will be the destination of an upcoming trip, but nothing has been decided about Argentina.

 

| 08/03/2021
| VATICAN – IRAQ
by Louis Raphael Sako*

The Chaldean Patriarch expressed satisfaction with Pope Francis' visit to Iraq, who is stronger than COVID-19 and terrorism. This event can bear fruit “in every respect”, from interfaith dialogue to the rebirth of the Christian community and the country. The meeting with al-Sistani was memorable.

| 08/03/2021
| IRAQ – VATICAN
by Bernardo Cervellera

On his trip to Iraq, Pope Francis signalled the buds of rebirth, unthinkable even just a few years ago. The power of hope, which pushes the population to collaborate, overcomes the obstacles of the state and politics, still prey to divisions. Iraq's message of hope relayed to Myanmar, Hong Kong, Cambodia, the whole Middle East, a large part of Africa. Wherever power and control becomes an idol. Even in a world in the grips of Covid and an economic crisis, hope comes from the coexistence of identities, from mutual help, from faith.

| 08/03/2021
| VATICAN - IRAQ

Reformist, moderate and conservative newspapers give ample coverage to the meeting between the two leaders in Najaf. Seen as an opportunity for a breakthrough with a view to detente in Iraq. the newspaper "Sazandegi" describes the leaders as "standard bearers of world peace". Their personal encounter "the most effective event" in a perspective of "dialogue between religions".

| 08/03/2021
| IRAN-VATICAN

Fr Paul, parish priest in Karamles, spoke how he felt seeing Pope Francis kiss the wooden cross made from pieces of his church destroyed by jihadis. The pontiff leaves “a scent of celebration that overcomes the stench [. . .] of death.” Mosul Eye notes that the Islamic State wanted to invade Rome, but today its bishop prayed for the city.

| 07/03/2021
| IRAQ – VATICAN

In Mosul, the Islamic State’s self-proclaimed capital, Pope Francis prayed for the victims of wars. In Qaraqosh, the main Christian city in the country, “Even amid the ravages of terrorism and war, we can see, with the eyes of faith, the triumph of life over death.”

 

| 07/03/2021
| IRAQ – VATICAN

Saad Salloum notes that al-Sistani's Islam is “different from that in Qom” and is “open to other religions”. In his view, “The roots of the Iraqi tree are Christian.” Iranian scholar says that Al-Sistani is a “good choice” to convey a “message of peace” to the Islamic world. Even in Israel the balance with the Muslim world is changing, says pacifist rabbi.

| 06/03/2021
| IRAQ – VATICAN

Today was dedicated to dialogue between faiths. It began with a visit to the leader of Iraqi Shias, Al-Sistani, and continued with the interfaith meeting in Ur of the Chaldeans, a blessed place that “brings us back” to “the birth of our religions”. “Hostility, extremism and violence are not born of a religious heart: they are betrayals of religion.”

| 06/03/2021
| VATICAN - IRAQ

David Rosen, an Israeli Rabbi and a prominent figure in interfaith dialogue, speaks from Jerusalem about the Pope's trip to Baghdad. “It is great that the journey that began in Abu Dhabi continues. The fact that Judaism was mentioned in the speeches at the presidential palace is important. But the three religions must come together.”

| 06/03/2021
| IRAQ – ISRAEL

Francis met with bishops, priests, religious, seminarians and catechists in the Syriac Catholic Cathedral of "Our Lady of Salvation" where a terror attack killed 48 people. “Their deaths are a powerful reminder that inciting war, hateful attitudes, violence or the shedding of blood are incompatible with authentic religious teachings,” said the Pope.

| 05/03/2021
| VATICAN – IRAQ

During his first hours in Iraq, Francis met with Iraq’s president, political leaders and diplomats. “May God grant that we journey together as brothers and sisters in ‘the firm conviction that authentic teachings of religions invite us to remain rooted in the values of peace… mutual understanding, human fraternity and harmonious coexistence’.” The pontiff will travel in a bullet-proof car and wear a mask.

| 05/03/2021
| VATICAN – IRAQ

A UN report mentions tens of thousands of civilian victims of violence, abducted and abused by government and jihadi groups with “unimaginable” suffering committed by all sides. For the  Bishop of Aleppo, there are too many interests to be able to shed light on abuses. From Christians comes a vocation to peace, respect and dignity.

| 05/03/2021
| SYRIA – UNITED NATIONS
by Sumon Corraya

Christians prepare for Easter in a Muslim-majority country. “From my sincere service people recognise that I am Christian,” says one Christian. Lent offerings fund new church construction for new Christians in remote areas.

 

 

 

| 05/03/2021
| BANGLADESH

In Baghdad, the Chaldean patriarch led a prayer vigil on the eve of the Pope’s arrival. For many, his presence is considered an invitation to remain in the country and build bridges with the world. Young people have the task of keeping their presence alive. The warning to politicians to overturn their "Pharisaic" attitude (Part II).

| 04/03/2021
| IRAQ - VATICAN
by Franco Pisano

Francis leaves for Baghdad tomorrow to meet a “martyred Church” and visit places devastated by the Islamic State. The trip includes a visit to Ur of the Chaldeans and a meeting with Grand Ayatollah Ali Al-Sistani, leader of the Shia community, which is the majority religion in Iraq and in neighbouring Iran. Before his departure, Francis released a video message.

 

| 04/03/2021
| VATICAN
by Melani Manel Perera

Sri Lankan authorities plan to bury Muslims who die from COVID-19 on the island. Environmentalists and locals fear the cemetery will disrupt the island’s fragile environmental balance. The area is famous for fishing, woods, farmland and livestock.

| 04/03/2021
| SRI LANKA
by Shafique Khokhar

Civil society groups criticise the government’s minority rights watchdog at a seminar organised in Karachi by the Justice and Peace Commission of the Catholic Church of Pakistan. The “Minority Commission is not the one we recommended. It should be based on its own bylaws, principles and criteria without state interference.”

| 04/03/2021
| PAKISTAN
by Shafique Khokhar

Thanks to the generosity of some AsiaNews readers, 52 families were helped to pay off their debt to kiln owners who had forced them to work as slaves. Now their children can go to school and are no longer forced to pay for their parents' debt. Some of them told their stories.

 

| 03/03/2021
| PAKISTAN

At the general audience, Francis asks to pray for the journey that begins on Friday. In Myanmar, "aspirations for peace must not be stifled by violence". Before knowing Jesus, he said, "we really did not know how to pray: what words, what feelings and what languages ​​were appropriate for God."

| 03/03/2021
| VATICAN

The Papal visit bears three messages: hope, peace and coexistence and it is a “dream come true". A thank you to the Yazidis for their support over the years. Sunni Muslim: "We want to pray together with Christians", a stimulus from the Pope "to arise and rebuild".

| 03/03/2021
| IRAQ - VATICAN
by Sumon Corraya

Forest Department officials tore down a Seventh-day Adventist church in Bandarban district for lack of construction permit. Extremists attacked another Protestant church in northern Bangladesh because of the presence of new Christians. For the Bangladesh Christian Association, everyone should be guaranteed the right to practise their own religion and justice should be done.

| 03/03/2021
| BANGLADESH

During the three-day visit, Francis will travel to Baghdad, Najaf, Ur, Erbil, Mosul, and Qaraqosh. During his stay, he will give four speeches and deliver two homilies, an Angelus and a prayer of suffrage for war victims. On Saturday, he will meet Al-Sistani, the country's highest Shia authority.

| 02/03/2021
| VATICAN

To participate in the major pilgrimage, it will be "mandatory" to demonstrate immunization. Doubts about the presence of faithful from abroad. Riyadh started the vaccination campaign on December 17. Since the beginning of the pandemic, almost 380 thousand infections and 6,500 deaths.

| 02/03/2021
| SAUDI ARABIA

Through his anonymous blog Mosul Eye, the Sunni historian Omar Mohammed documented the atrocities in the years of the "caliphate". The arrival of the pontiff in his city is a dream come true: "he will also show us Iraqis that the only way forward is to accept each other"

| 02/03/2021
| IRAQ - VATICAN

Government gives the go-ahead for Muslims to collaborate in the construction or restoration of Christian places of worship. A decision that follows the fatwa issued at the end of January by the Egyptian grand mufti. But some of the faithful are against it: "Christianity is blasphemy".

| 01/03/2021
| EGYPT

A poll shows that the majority want the JCPOA to be restored. But only if the United States takes the first step or at the same time. The Biden administration is tasked with rebuilding trust in the US after the Trump years. President’s approval rating plummets from 61% in 2015 to 7.6% today. Conservative Raisi favourite for June polls, Ahmadinejad gaining ground.

| 27/02/2021
| IRAN - UNITED STATES

In the letter to the faithful for Lent, Fr. Ibrahim recalls the suffering of 10 years of war, exacerbated by the Covid-19 pandemic. Parents don't have money to feed their children, unemployment and inflation are on the rise. Suicides of desperate fathers are on the rise. “Emergency first Aid” intervention from the Church. The example of the father of Jesus, who "did not flee from the unknown".

| 26/02/2021
| SYRIA

First telephone call between the new president and King Salman. The White House now deals only with the monarch and relegates the crown prince to the background. Waiting for the declassified report on the Khashoggi murder, which would prove the responsibility of Mbs. Diplomacy to counter Iranian nuclear ambitions.

| 26/02/2021
| MIDDLE EAST - USA

Data from India, Bangladesh, Nepal and Sri Lanka report the disappearance of 5,927 people. The Pakistani embassy speaks of 824 dead compatriots. The figure could be much higher because numbers from Kenya and the Philippines are missing. Doha accused of failing to protect migrant workers.

| 25/02/2021
| QATAR
by Shafique Khokhar

At the ceremony commemorating the centennial of the “Nankana massacre,” Pakistan’s Anti-Narcotics minister claims that Pakistan respects and protects non-Muslims whilst India commits ‘atrocities” against them. Activists and clergymen are dismissive of such claims. Rev Bashir cites a long list of abuses, from sexual assault to false accusations of blasphemy.

| 23/02/2021
| PAKISTAN