Anti-Christian violence in Iraq left 92 dead and 47 wounded in 2010, making the year the worst to date for the Christian minority, according to the human-rights group Hammurabi.
Hammurabi reports that all of Iraq’s Christian churches have been badly hurt by violence and by the emigration of families leaving the country to find security elsewhere. More than 800 Christians have been killed in the years since the start of the US-lead military intervention.
Nevertheless the group found that the Christians remaining in Iraq who a strong sense of commitment. On July 4 the Chaldean Catholic Partiarch Emmanuel III paid a courtesy call on Ali al Sistani, Iraqi’s leading Shi’ite cleric, to demonstrate ‘the unity of Iraq and of Iraqis, Muslims and Christians.”
More peaceful guys:
The Assyrian International News Agency reports a Coptic priest in the same region was threatened late last week by a mob of Muslims that surrounded the church of St. George.
Father George Thabet was serving the morning mass when hundreds of Muslims, some armed, surrounded the church vowing to kill him.
Eye-witnesses reported the Muslims chanted, “We will kill the priest, we will kill him and no one will prevent us..” One Muslim said they would “…cut him to pieces.”
Security forces arrived and escorted Father George in a police car to the Coptic Diocese in Minya. Youth from the church remained to defend the building from the Muslims.
A Christian peer\’s speaking out about the persecution of minorites in Pakistan. Lord Alton has asked a question in the House of Lords inquiring what the government is doing to support the religious in the country.
Very interesting link: it has lots of information about the persecution that Pakistani Christians are suffering.
- Pakistan: Muslim think-tank denounces persecution against Christians (teaandpolitics.wordpress.com)
- Pakistan: Christians demonstrate to call for the release of kidnapped Anglican pastor (teaandpolitics.wordpress.com)
- Pakistan: Court Acquits 70 Muslim Radicals of Burning 8 Christians Alive during 2009 Gojra Massacre (teaandpolitics.wordpress.com)
- Pakistan: Christians are forbidden to eat in restaurants (teaandpolitics.wordpress.com)
Pakistan’s fundamentalists are rejoicing following the acquittal verdict. The country’s Christian minority is “under shock” because, this time as well, the massacre of innocent victims done in the name of the infamous blasphemy law will go unpunished. The justice system also shows its powerlessness vis-à-vis extremists who can carry out heinous crimes with total impunity, whilst the government remains silent. Meanwhile, a Muslim religious leader publicly says that Christians “deserve” to be murdered.
A Pakistani anti-terrorism court acquitted 70 people who, in various roles, were involved in the Gojra massacre of August 2009 (see Fareed Khan, “Eight Christians burned alive in Punjab,” in AsiaNews, 2 August 2009). The anti-Christian violence broke out following blasphemy allegations. During a wedding, a group of Christians supposedly burnt pages of the Qur‘an, a pretext used to strike at the religious minority.
“When they were beating me, they kept saying: ‘We won’t leave any Christians in this country,'” Mr. Mitri recalled in a recent interview, two months after the March attack. Blood dripped through a plastic tube from his unhealed wound to a plastic container. “Here, there is a war against the Copts,” he said.
His attackers, who were never arrested or prosecuted, follow the ultrafundamentalist Salafi strain of Islam that promotes an austere, Saudi-inspired worldview. Before President Hosni Mubarak was toppled on Feb. 11, the Salafis mostly confined themselves to preaching. Since then, they’ve entered the political arena, drawing crowds and swaying government decisions. Salafi militants also have blocked roads, burned churches and killed Copts.
The Salafi vigilantes who brutalized Mr. Mitri later ignited a bigger controversy that is still playing out here in Qena, an upper Nile governorate of three million people—almost one-third of them Copts. In April, Egypt’s new government appointed a Christian to be Qena’s new governor, replacing another Christian who had held the post under Mr. Mubarak. The Salafis responded by demanding a Muslim governor and organizing mass protests, showcasing the movement’s new political influence.
Angry crowds left the mosques and converged outside the governor’s headquarters for a sit-in. Qena’s revolutionary coalition split. Some liberal Muslims, such as Mr. Yasin, were offended by bigoted slogans and left. Others, including Muslim Brotherhood youths, stayed.
Hala Helmy Botros, a Coptic blogger active in the uprising against Mr. Mubarak, was stunned to see a former comrade-in-arms with a poster that read: “I am against sectarianism—but I refuse a Copt as governor!” Other protesters screamed: “Islamic, Islamic—we want a Muslim, not an infidel.”
Two Christian Iranian women, Maryam Rostampour, 27, and Marzieh Amirizadeh Esmaeilabad, 30, were released from prison this afternoon with no bail amid an international campaign calling for their freedom since their arrest on March 5.
The two women, whose health deteriorated while in detention at the notorious Evin prison in Tehran, are at their homes recovering from their nine-month ordeal, an Iranian source told Compass. They still could face charges of proselytizing and “apostasy,” or leaving Islam.
even Algerian churches face closure this week after the governor of their province sent them written notice that they were operating “illegally.”
The notice on Sunday (May 22) from Police Chief Ben Salma, citing a May 8 decree from the Bejaia Province governor, also states that all churches “in all parts of the country” will be closed for lack of compliance with registration regulations, but Christian leaders dismissed this assertion as the provincial official does not have nationwide authority.
“All buildings permanently designated for or in the process of being designated for the practice of religious worship other than Muslim will be permanently closed down in all parts of the country, as well as those not having received the conformity authorization from the National Commission,” Salma stated in the notice.