innocent christinas martyrs

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Sep 17 2013. Fifth such attack on the island since NovemberAn elderly Catholic priest has been the victim of an acid attack in Zanzibar.Amselmo Mwangamba was attacked on Friday (September 13) and is now in … Read More. Egyptian army breaks Islamist grip on Delga
Sep 16 2013. Since the Aug. 14 wave of anti-Christian violence that swept over Egypt, the Christians of Delga have complained they had been abandoned by government security forces. Many of their churches and ...
Read More. Vietnamese police crush protests against Catholics' imprisonment
Sep 13 2013. Dozens injured, as police use tear gas, batons and police dogsAround 40 people have been injured in Vietnam during a protest against the 3-month detention of two Catholics on minor charges.The protest … Read More. Christians flee Pakistani village after pastor accused of blasphemy. Sep 12 2013. Dozens of Christian families have fled from their homes in a village near Lahore after a pastor was accused of blasphemy against the Prophet Muhammad.In a discussion with a Muslim man on August 24, … Christian woman raped and murdered in Madhya Pradesh
Sep 10 2013. Four men were today convicted of the fatal gang rape of a medical student in Delhi - a story that has grabbed the world's attention. Meanwhile, a little further south, the case of a Christian woman … Read More. Moroccan Christian jailed for evangelizing
Sep 09 2013. Mohamed el Baldi convicted for 'shaking the faith' of MuslimsA Moroccan Christian man has been jailed for two-and-a-half years and fined for evangelizing.Mohamed el Baldi, 34, from the town of Ain ...
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Sep 06 2013. Tourist hotspot the only place where being non-Muslim is illegalKnown for its golden sands and crystal waters, the Maldives is perhaps not the first country that springs to mind when one considers … Read More. Renewed day by day. Sep 04 2013. A photographic journey into the destruction, and resilience, of Egypt's churchesPhoto: Miriam, a member of Bishop Moussa Coptic Church in Minya, absorbs the destruction caused Aug 14 by pro-Morsi ...
Download. Christian woman raped and murdered in Madhya Pradesh
Sep 10 2013. The bed where the woman's body was found. Courtesy: World Watch Monitor. Four men were today convicted of the fatal gang rape of a medical student in Delhi - a story that has grabbed the world's attention. Meanwhile, a little further south, the case of a Christian woman who suffered the same fate has gone relatively unnoticed.. The 30-year-old was raped and killed on August 29 in Bakoudi village in the central Indian state of Madhya Pradesh.
The woman, whose name has not been released to protect her family's security and privacy, was found the next morning by her mother-in-law.
Witnesses told World Watch Monitor she had suffered multiple stab wounds to her torso and had been strangled with her own sari.
Two suspects, both Hindus, have been arrested. Mahesh Dohre, 23, who worked with the victim's husband, and Durgesh Potfode, 25, are residents of Bakoudi. They have both been released. It is unclear whether they will face further official charges. The local Christian community has been shocked by the event and expressed concerns about its vulnerability to local authorities. It is uncertain whether the attack took place because of the woman's faith, but Christian women often report threats in the area. Christians comprise a tiny fraction of the population of Madhya Pradesh (the 2001 census put the figure at around 170,000 people, or 0.3%) and just 2.3% of the total population of India (2011 census).
In the vast and diverse country, Christians often live freely. However, India ranks among the 50 countries where life as a Christian is most difficult, according to Open Doors International, a global ministry that serves Christians who are pressured because of their faith. The country is No. 31 on Open Doors' 2013 World Watch List, largely because of a streak of Hindu nationalism, or Hindutva, that envisions India as a purely Hindu state. Source:World Watch Monitor. Dozens of 'noisy' churches silenced in Cameroon. Sep 03 2013. Government continues crackdown on Pentecostal movementThe government of Cameroon has ordered the closure of dozens of churches in an attempt to put an end to what it considers to be anarchy among some ...
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Aug 29 2013. Nuri Kino is a Sweden-based independent investigative reporter, filmmaker, author, Middle East and human-rights analyst. His report, titled "The Camp," which examined the construction of a massive … Read More Court case hangs over Indonesian pastor
Aug 26 2013. Pastor says he was the victim, as human rights group questions police logicPastor says he was the victim, as human rights group questions police logicAn Indonesian pastor remains in a tortured .. Italian priest still unaccounted for in Syria. Aug 22 2013. Fr. Dall'Oglio reported abducted last month, now presumed deadConflicting reports are emerging about the whereabouts and welfare of an Italian Jesuit priest who went missing almost one month ...
Rimsha accused goes free. Aug 21 2013
Cleric acquitted due to 'insufficient evidence'Photo: Rights activist Basharat Khokhar, left; Mizrak Masih, centre; daughter Rimsha, right, in early 2013, after her release.The Muslim cleric suspected … Read More . What caused Syria's civil war?
Aug 16 2013. Revd. Nadim NassarThroughout its history, ancient and modern, Syria has played host to ethnic and religious minorities living together very much in harmony.Syria, in the original sense of what … Churches across Egypt attacked
Aug 14 2013. Photo: Coptic Kids at St. George in Sohag, Egypt - after church was attacked by Morsi supportersNumerous Christian churches across Egypt were attacked on Wednesday by mobs angered by the military's ...
Read More. In Egypt, Christian anxieties mount as Islamist hostility increases
Aug 13 2013. Coptic Pope cancels public appearancesPhoto: A burned truck is part of the damage caused Aug. 3 by a 4,000-person anti-Christian mob in Bani Ahmed, Egypt.Mass no longer is being celebrated at The … Italian priest still unaccounted for in Syria
Aug 22 2013. Fr. Dall'Oglio reported abducted last month, now presumed dead
Fr. Paolo Dall'Oglio, pictured in his native Italy in 2012.
Conflicting reports are emerging about the whereabouts and welfare of an Italian Jesuit priest who went missing almost one month ago.
Reuters reported on July 29 that Fr. Paolo Dall'Oglio had been abducted by Islamists with links to al-Qaeda in the northern Syrian city of ar-Raqqah, but the Vatican would not confirm the news.
Now, as various reports claim the priest has been killed, the Vatican remains tight-lipped.
The Syrian Observatory for Human Rights reported last week that the priest had been killed, but retracted its statement on Monday, Aug. 19.
The rights organisation said sources close to the Islamic State of Iraq and al-Sham, or ISIS, which claimed it has kidnaped Dall'Oglio, said he was still alive. ISIS has yet to make a statement.
"No side refuting the report that Father Paolo was killed has shown any evidence to prove that he is alive, despite their empty assurances," said a statement released by the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights.
The group called for "solid evidence" to be given, such as a recent video proving that he is alive, and a statement from a "clear and honest" member of the Syrian opposition.
"Any harm inflicted on Father Paolo is harm inflicted on the Syrian revolution and on the Syrian peoples' freedoms and dignity," SOHR said.
"No side refuting the report that Father Paolo was killed has shown any evidence to prove that he is alive, despite their empty assurances."--Syrian Observatory for Human Rights
A Jesuit spokesperson earlier this month expressed "deep worry" about the fate of Dall'Oglio.
Italian Foreign Minister Emma Bonino said: "We are still groping in the dark".
Dall'Oglio worked in Syria for more than 30 years, and described his work as "promoting Islamic-Christian harmony-building". He was expelled last year after speaking out against President Bashar al-Assad and helping victims of the civil war. Since then, he has been working predominantly in Europe. On July 22, he posted an online petition asking Pope Francis to advocate on behalf of suffering Syrians.
However, his stance has been controversial for many Syrian Christian leaders. Nadim Nassar, the only Syrian Anglican priest, told World Watch Monitor: "Any attempt to politicise the voice of Christians in Syria is wrong, and devastating for them, because it weakens them".
Meanwhile, there is nothing new to report about the two Syrian bishops – Yohanna Ibrahim and Boulos Yaziji – kidnapped four months ago.
Metropolitan Timotheus Matta Fadil Alkhouri, patriarchal Assistant for the Syrian Orthodox Patriarchate of Antioch, urged members of the press and politicians to refrain from speculation.
"Every week some politician or some journalist pulls out some story on the two Metropolitan Bishops of Aleppo kidnapped," he told Fides. "But so far they have always been unverifiable deductions. The reality is that… we do not know who kidnapped them."
Source: World Watch Monitor. What caused Syria's civil war?
Aug 16 2013. Revd. Nadim Nassar. Photo: Revd. Nadim Nassar
Throughout its history, ancient and modern, Syria has played host to ethnic and religious minorities living together very much in harmony.
Syria, in the original sense of what is now known as "Greater Syria", encompassed much of the Levant – today's states of Syria, Lebanon, Israel, and Jordan, plus a portion of Turkey. This is the cradle of the three major monotheistic religions, Judaism, Christianity and Islam; two were born in Syria, and Islam found its way there very early in its existence.
Its geopolitical position brought Syria to the attention of many different superpowers and, sadly, it has often been a battleground for these foreign powers. Throughout millennia of occupation and recent decades of independence, the minorities in Syria have always stayed true to their homeland: they played a major role in the liberation from the Ottomans after more than 500 years of oppression, and from the French Mandate in the twentieth century, leading to independence in 1946.
Christians, Druze, Alawites, Kurds and other, smaller minorities worked hand in hand with the majority Sunnis to secure the liberation of Syria from all foreign occupation.
In 1970 the political situation in Syria took a dramatic turn when a faction of military leaders who were Alawites – an Islamic sect – took power. After many centuries in which the Syrians had been ruled by outsiders, they now found themselves ruled by one of their own minorities.
For years Syrians hoped that the Assads, the ruling family, would bring stability and freedom after the troubled 1950s and 60s, during which a series of coups d'états pushed the country into uncertainty and military conflict. In 1973, just three years after he seized power, Hafez al-Assad joined with Egyptian President Anwar al-Sadat in a new major war against Israel. The Soviet Union supplied Egypt and Syria with arms, while the United States of America backed Israel. This disastrous war damaged relations throughout the Middle East and achieved little for Syria.
Before the region could recover, civil war engulfed Syria's southern neighbour, Lebanon. The superpowers and regional powers, including Syria, used their allies in Lebanon to wage their own proxy wars in the midst of the 17-year-long Lebanese Civil War. This act by the ruling minority dragged Syria into the heart of the bloodshed through indirect and direct military intervention.
At this time, President Hafez al-Assad focused most of his energy on foreign politics, especially the on-going conflict with Israel, and left Syria to be run mainly by members of his family and the Intelligence Services.
Trade with the rest of the world was tightly controlled by the Assad regime, and many benefitted from the Lebanese Civil War through establishing smuggling rings and black markets across the Syrian-Lebanese border – with the support of many of those in power; this was the beginning of the awful corruption that has infected Syria.
In an extremely closed economy, smuggling became the norm – even fruit, vegetables and daily products like butter, tea, sugar, bananas and tissues had to be smuggled into Syria from Lebanon and Jordan.
The corruption deepened as time went on, creating a new upper class of people from all religions who took advantage of the situation and got closer to the Alawite regime in order to further their business.
This squeezed the traditional middle class and deprived them of much of their income, fomenting anger and hostility towards the regime and towards Alawites in general.
"What is happening in Syria today is not merely the result of a minority ruling a majority. Some of those who are supported by external powers would like the conflict to be seen in this way, but the changes the people seek have nothing to do with Assad coming from a minority." --Revd. Nadim Nassar
The regime maintained its hold on power through the usual measures employed by a dictatorship: eliminating dissent through censoring the media, silencing opponents and critics, preventing free speech and denying political expression.
That created an atmosphere of fear and resentment of the Alawites and the Assad family in particular.
In the early eighties the Assad regime killed tens of thousands in the western city of Hama to silence the uprising of a Sunni group, the Muslim Brotherhood. The Muslim Brotherhood had been terrorising parts of Syria through assassination and bombing.
This brutal act did not end the Syrian people's resentment against the regime but merely drove it deeper underground where it would smoulder under the fist of the regime.
When Hafez al-Assad died in 2000, his second son, Bashar, an ophthalmologist living in London, inherited the Presidency.
The people hoped that a young President, who studied in the West and who had married an intelligent and charming Syrian-British woman, could change the situation which his father had created. Many people were almost euphorically optimistic – they saw Bashar as an open-minded, well-travelled reformer.
Indeed, Bashar al-Assad began to restore proper international trade and he started to reform the country, but everything quickly slipped back to the old corrupt ways. Most of the promises of change that Bashar made in his inauguration speech evaporated.
For most Syrians, religion was not a source of tension and conflict. I have always had dear Muslim, Alawite and Druze friends, and differences in belief were never an issue.
Sadly this has now changed in my homeland. Sectarianism was not a part of a Syrian lifestyle until recently. It has been imported by foreign religious fanatics.
The conflict in Syria began as a protest against the corruption that blighted every aspect of people's lives and the lack of freedom; the people demanded radical reforms in how Syria was governed.
The lack of response to these demands was followed by severe and sustained military action against those who protested, and this violence drove some in the opposition to seek help from foreign governments in the region. Many of these governments are keen to shatter the age-old alliance between Syria and Iran, and the fall of the Assad regime would help them greatly; for this reason, they offered military and financial aid to the opposition but only on the condition that the "new Syria" would cut links with Iran and with Hezbollah in South Lebanon.
Some religious leaders outside Syria then called for a Sunni uprising against the minorities – with the Alawites being at the top of the list. Sadly, Christians are also on that list because they are wrongly seen as having been protected by the Alawites.
As the conflict continued, this new sectarianism spread; it became popular because it legitimised violence against others – even those who were not part of the regime. The regime's acts of war against its own people across Syria only encouraged further resentment against the regime and the Alawites.
What is happening in Syria today is not merely the result of a minority ruling a majority. Some of those who are supported by external powers would like the conflict to be seen in this way, but the changes the people seek have nothing to do with Assad coming from a minority.
The change the Syrians desire with all their hearts is the change from oppression to freedom, from corruption to the rule of law, from dictatorship to democracy. This change would be to the great benefit of all Syrians. Source: World Watch Monitor. Churches across Egypt attacked, Aug 14 2013
Coptic Kids at St. George in Sohag, Egypt - after church was attacked by Morsi supporters
Photo: Coptic Kids at St. George in Sohag, Egypt - after church was attacked by Morsi supporters
Numerous Christian churches across Egypt were attacked on Wednesday by mobs angered by the military's armed crackdown on protesters in Cairo. The official death toll has passed 500; a state of emergency and curfew are in effect. St George's Cathedral. Sohag. Southern Egypt just burnt by Muslim Brotherhood supporters.. Photo: St George's Cathedral. Sohag, Southern Egypt just burnt by Muslim Brotherhood supporters.
Watani International provided the following tally of assaults on Christian churches and other buildings: Three churches and six buildings at the monastery of the Holy Virgin and Anba Abra'am in Dalga, Minya, Upper Egypt. The church of Mar-Mina in the district of Abu-Hilal in the town of Minya. The bishopric church of Mar-Girgis (St George) in Sohag, Upper Egypt (video below)
The church of the Holy Virgin in Nazla, Fayoum, Lower Egypt. The Baptist church in Beni-Mazar, Minya. Coptic-owned shops in Gumhouriya Street in Assiut, Upper Egypt. The Good Shepherd School in Suez. The Fransiscan School in Suez. Bible Society of Egypt bookstore in Fayoum. The church of al-Amir Tawadros (St Theodore) in Fayoum. The church of the Holy Virgin in the district of Abu-Hilal in the town of Minya. The Catholic church of St Mark, Minya. The Jesuit church in Abu-Hilal, Minya. The church of Mar-Morqos (St Mark) and its community centre, Sohag
18 houses of Coptic families in Dalga, Minya, including the home of Father Angaelus Melek of the Holy Virgin and Anba Abra'am's· The Evangelical church on Nassara Street in Abu-Hilal, Minya. The church of Anba Moussa al-Aswad in Minya. Coptic-owned shops, pharmacies, and a doctor's clinic in Minya (photo below) Photo of fire set in a shop owned by coptic citizen in El minya governorate upper Egypt. Photo: Fire set in a shop owned by coptic citizen in El minya governorate upper Egypt. The Jesuit church in Minya (attacked, not burned)
The St Fatima Basilica in Cairo (attacked, not burned)
St Joseph's School in Minya (attacked, not burned)
The Nile boat al-Dahabiya, owned by the Evangelical Church in Minya
Coptic-owned shops, pharmacy, and hotels on Karnak Street and Cleopatra Street in Luxor (attacked and looted)
The church of Mar-Girgis (St George) in Wasta (attacked)
The church of St Michael on Nemeis Street in Assiut, Upper Egypt
The Adventist church in Assiut; the pastor and his wife were both kidnapped
The Greek church in Suez. The church of Mar-Girgis in Assiut
Coptic houses on Qulta Street in Assiut attacked
The church of Mar-Girgis (St George) in Arish, North Sina
The church of St Dimiana and the Evangelical church in the village of Zerbi in Fayoum
The offices of the Evangelical foundation in Minya, and those of Umm al-Nour in Beni-Mazar, Minya. The church of Anba Antonius in Kerdassa, Giza
The bishopric church in Etfeeh, Giza. A church burning in Sohag, multiple angles
Photo: A church burning in Sohag, multiple angles.
Additionally, the Bible Society of Egypt reported that another of its bookstores, in Minya, was burned. Source: World Watch Monitor