Category : Pakistan

(Church Times) Tight security for Archbishop Welby in Pakistan

The threat facing minorities in Pakistan was laid bare on Monday, the day of the Archbishop of Canterbury’s arrival in the country, when an American doctor was shot dead in the Punjab province.

Mehdi Ali, a volunteer cardiologist born in Pakistan, was a member of the minority Ahmadi community, which faces persecution in the country.

Security is tight for Archbishop Welby’s visit to the country. On Tuesday, he met the diocesan bishops of the Church of Pakistan, the Governor of Punjab, and leaders from a range of faith communities.

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Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, * Culture-Watch, * Economics, Politics, * International News & Commentary, * Religion News & Commentary, --Justin Welby, Archbishop of Canterbury, Asia, Ethics / Moral Theology, Foreign Relations, Inter-Faith Relations, Law & Legal Issues, Pakistan, Politics in General, Religion & Culture, Theology

(Lambeth Palace PR) Archbishop visits Anglicans in Pakistan, Bangladesh and India

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Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, * Culture-Watch, * International News & Commentary, --Justin Welby, Archbishop of Canterbury, Asia, Bangladesh, Globalization, India, Pakistan, Religion & Culture

Archbishop of Canterbury arrives in Pakistan to support embattled Christians

The Archbishop of Canterbury has arrived in Pakistan to show his backing for the country’s persecuted Christian minority and to ask Muslim leaders for help in building better relations.

The Most Rev Justin Welby is due to meet politicians as well as bishops from the Church of Pakistan before travelling to Bangladesh and India.

The trip, conducted amid tight security, is part of a promise to meet leaders of the Anglican community as early as possible after taking up office and comes as Christians in some parts of the developing world suffer attacks at the hands of Islamist groups.

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Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, * Culture-Watch, * International News & Commentary, --Justin Welby, Archbishop of Canterbury, Asia, Pakistan, Religion & Culture

(BBC) Pakistan PM Sharif to go to Modi inauguration in India

Pakistan’s Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif is to attend the inauguration of Narendra Modi as Prime Minister of India on Monday.

It is the first time since the two countries won independence in 1947 that a prime minister from one state will attend such a ceremony in the other.

The two nuclear-armed rivals have fought three wars in the past 60 years.

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Posted in * Culture-Watch, * Economics, Politics, * International News & Commentary, Asia, Foreign Relations, History, India, Pakistan, Politics in General

(BBC) Religious freedom is 'marginalised', MP warns

Naomi Long, MP for Belfast East and deputy Alliance Party leader, has told the Commons that religious persecution is on the rise.

She opened a backbench business debate on 1 May 2014 by saying that the freedom to subscribe to any religion or none is not offered enough protection by the UN.

She referred to it as a “residual right” and warned that “within the family of human rights it remains on the margins”.

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Posted in * Culture-Watch, * Economics, Politics, * International News & Commentary, Africa, Asia, Egypt, England / UK, Ethics / Moral Theology, Foreign Relations, Globalization, Law & Legal Issues, Middle East, Nigeria, Pakistan, Politics in General, Psychology, Religion & Culture, Syria, Theology

(BBC) Sawan Masih: Pakistani Christian gets death penalty for blasphemy

A Pakistani Christian man has been sentenced to death for blasphemy, in a case which sparked fierce rioting in the eastern city of Lahore last March.

Sawan Masih was convicted of using derogatory remarks against the Prophet Mohammed in a row with a Muslim friend.

Hundreds of Muslims attacked the city’s Christian Joseph colony, torching homes, when the allegations surfaced.

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Posted in * Culture-Watch, * International News & Commentary, * Religion News & Commentary, Asia, Inter-Faith Relations, Islam, Law & Legal Issues, Muslim-Christian relations, Other Faiths, Pakistan, Religion & Culture, Violence

Bishop Munawar Rumalshal of Peshawar Writes after the Tragic Bombing There

The REALITY at All Saints’ Church, Peshawar, on Sunday, 22 September 2013

This cataclysmic act committed by two suicide bombers shook the very foundations of our people and changed the very course of not only their lives but of the whole Christian community in Pakistan. It happened after the morning worship of Holy Communion while they were sharing an agape fellowship in the small compound of this historic church. The church was built in 1883 as the first church building of its kind, being designed like a mosque and especially for the use of the native Christians of the local area. Even at that time its foundations were filled with the blood of nine local Christian martyrs. It is located in the heart of the ancient historic city of Peshawar and in the neighbourhood of the famous Qissa Khawani (story tellers) bazaar, which was the hub of the travellers of ancient times when entering from Khyber Pass onto the Silk Route.

My relationship with this ”˜gharana’ (family) goes back almost quarter of a century. I have shared their joys and sorrows during these years. I have been their friend and father-figure. Many of them I had Baptized, Confirmed and Married. It has been one of the two largest parishes in the Diocese of Peshawar and a bastion of indigenous Christianity in this famous border area of Pakistan/Afghanistan. Most of the families can claim their lineage in this area for well over a century. One of the most celebrated aspects of their Christian witness has always been their Easter procession, very often numbering up to five thousand young and old, women and children, singing and praying through the winding and narrow streets of the neighbourhood. Almost all of them speak and communicate in the local Pakhtun language and are also well versed in Pakhtun culture. So they have never felt themselves to be either outsiders or unfamiliar with the local customs and traditions. For this reason they were always open and at ease with their Muslim neighbours.

This horrendous tragedy claimed nearly 300 victims of all ages, with 117 passing away and 162 receiving very serious and other injuries…

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Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, * Culture-Watch, * International News & Commentary, * Religion News & Commentary, Asia, Ethics / Moral Theology, Inter-Faith Relations, Other Faiths, Pakistan, Religion & Culture, Theology, Violence

(TLS Blog) Adrian Tahourdin–'Drawing the Line'

Everyone knows that Indian Partition was a very bloody affair, but how many of us can name the man given the responsibility of laying the groundwork for it? In July 1947 Prime Minister Clement Attlee appointed Cyril Radcliffe, a barrister, to the task of drawing the boundary lines between the two new sovereign states of India and Pakistan. There had been riots in the country and the British were looking for as orderly an exit from empire as possible.

The guiding principle, crudely, was that as many Hindus and Sikhs as possible should remain within India’s redrawn borders, while the newly created Pakistan would be home to the majority of Muslims. There was the additional problem of populous Calcutta and Bengal in the East. Radcliffe, absurdly, had five weeks to accomplish this: Independence was set for August 15.

Howard Brenton’s new play Drawing the Line, which has been playing to full houses at the Hampstead Theatre (the curtain comes down with a live-stream performance this Saturday, available on a certain newspaper’s website), focuses on Radcliffe as he struggles with an impossible assignment in a country he has never until now visited, pulled in different directions by representatives from Jawaharlal Nehru’s Congress Party and Muhammad Ali Jinnah’s Muslim League

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Posted in * Culture-Watch, * International News & Commentary, Asia, England / UK, History, India, Pakistan, Religion & Culture, Theatre/Drama/Plays

(WSJ) Michael Phillips–Why U.S. Troops Want to Stay in Afghanistan

U.S. and Afghan politicians are in the middle of a heated debate over whether a small American and NATO force will remain in Afghanistan at the end of next year.

But what’s a political and strategic question at the negotiating table is an emotional question at bases around Afghanistan, where soldiers watch the discussions with one eye on their sacrifices over the past 12 years and the other on the American withdrawal from Vietnam four decades ago.

In short, they don’t want to go home without the win.

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Posted in * Culture-Watch, * Economics, Politics, * International News & Commentary, Afghanistan, Asia, Defense, National Security, Military, Economy, Ethics / Moral Theology, Foreign Relations, History, Pakistan, Politics in General, Terrorism, The U.S. Government, Theology, War in Afghanistan

(Pakistan Christian Post) Role of Clergy and grieved Christian families of Peshawar Church bombing

On 22nd of September 2013, around 500 persons gathered for Divine Sunday Service including another 64 children who were present in the Sunday School Center in the Church compound. Two suicide bombers entered in the compound and exploded themselves while the worshipers were coming out at the end of the Service at All Saints Church, Kohati Gate in Peshawar.

This city is the Provincial head and a main town in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa province which has borne the brunt of a bloody Islamist insurgency in recent years.

This bloody blast took almost 130 lives and injured 169 persons. 120 People are still in the different hospitals. 12 women become widows, 24 children become orphan and amongst them 18 children lost both parents.

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Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, * Christian Life / Church Life, * Culture-Watch, * International News & Commentary, * Religion News & Commentary, Asia, Ethics / Moral Theology, Inter-Faith Relations, Islam, Muslim-Christian relations, Other Faiths, Pakistan, Parish Ministry, Religion & Culture, Theology, Violence

(Telegraph) Stephen Hough–Is it Christian to single out the Christians? Beyond terror in Peshawar

We may not like it, but Christians are not God’s ‘favourites’; and we may like even less the fact that God loves terrorists as much as he loves well-behaved little me. This is not to suggest turning a glib, blind eye to evil or injustice, far from it; but it is to suggest that any Christianity worth preserving, defending or celebrating is (if at times with gritted teeth or a broken heart) to strive to forgive to the last breath.

“The last will be first and the first will be last”, said Christ. A strident demand for Christianity to be pushed to the front of the queue in our present age may well turn out to be counterproductive. In the West Christendom had over a thousand years to make its point, its mouth close to the only microphone in town. In our global, post-Christian times a gentler, kinder voice will need to be used, and we may even thereby find a way of changing Terror itself into hope and reconciliation.

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Posted in * Culture-Watch, * Economics, Politics, * International News & Commentary, * Religion News & Commentary, Asia, Ethics / Moral Theology, Foreign Relations, Inter-Faith Relations, Islam, Law & Legal Issues, Muslim-Christian relations, Other Faiths, Pakistan, Police/Fire, Politics in General, Religion & Culture, Theology, Violence

(Express Tribune) With one eye on peace, India's PM terms Pakistan an 'epicentre of terrorism'

Indian Prime Minister Manmohan Singh said on Saturday that he reciprocated Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif’s sentiments on forging a new beginning but reiterated that the epicentre of terrorism was located in Pakistan.

Addressing the audience during the 68th session of the United Nations General Assembly at the United Nations, Singh said that state sponsored cross border terrorism was of particular concern to India.

“It is important that the terrorist machinery that draws its sustenance from Pakistan be shut down,” he said.

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Posted in * Culture-Watch, * Economics, Politics, * International News & Commentary, Asia, Foreign Relations, India, Pakistan, Politics in General, Terrorism, Violence

[Reuters] Market bombing kill 33 in Pakistan's Peshawar

Twin blasts in the northwestern Pakistani city of Peshawar killed 33 people and wounded 70 on Sunday, a week after bombings at a church there killed scores, police and hospital authorities said.

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Posted in * International News & Commentary, Asia, Pakistan

(NY Times) Pakistan Christians Issue Call for Protection After Church Bombing

With its Muslim-style minarets topped by a large black cross, the All Saints Church in Peshawar has for more than a century offered a daring architectural expression of Muslim-Christian harmony and cohabitation….

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Posted in * Culture-Watch, * Economics, Politics, * International News & Commentary, * Religion News & Commentary, Asia, Ethics / Moral Theology, Foreign Relations, Inter-Faith Relations, Islam, Law & Legal Issues, Muslim-Christian relations, Other Faiths, Pakistan, Police/Fire, Politics in General, Religion & Culture, Theology, Violence

(ACNS) Secretary General to Anglican Communion: "Please pray for Pakistan"

The Secretary General of the Anglican Communion has asked for Communion-wide prayer following the suicide attack on a church in Pakistan that left than 78 dead and more than 100 injured.

In a letter to the Anglican Communion’s Primates–its most senior bishops–Canon Kenneth Kearon wrote, “Messages of condolences have been coming in from around the Communion, and I write to ask you to consider requesting your parishes and dioceses to remember in prayer those who died or were bereaved and those who were injured or live in fear because of the tragedy.”

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Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, * Christian Life / Church Life, * Culture-Watch, * International News & Commentary, * Religion News & Commentary, Asia, Inter-Faith Relations, Pakistan, Religion & Culture, Spirituality/Prayer, Violence

(NC Register) Pakistani Leaders and Pope Condemn Terror Attack Against Christians

It has become an all too familiar narrative: Muslim militants in some majority Islamic country going out of their way to kill and intimidate the local Christian populace.

What happened this past Sunday in Pakistan, however, has shocked even the most jaded and cynical observers.

Peshawar’s All Saints Church is an Anglican parish that has existed since 1893. Around noon, after services this past Sunday, two suicide bombers, each wearing 13 pounds of explosives, forced their way past two police guards and detonated their devices. At least 83 people have died from the blast, including 34 women and seven children, with more than 175 people injured. The attack decimated entire families.

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Posted in * Culture-Watch, * Economics, Politics, * International News & Commentary, * Religion News & Commentary, Asia, Ethics / Moral Theology, Foreign Relations, Inter-Faith Relations, Islam, Muslim-Christian relations, Other Churches, Other Faiths, Pakistan, Politics in General, Pope Francis, Religion & Culture, Roman Catholic, Theology, Violence

Archbishop Justin Welby 'appalled' by Pakistan church bombings

Writing to the Church of Pakistan last night, the Archbishop said his heart ‘goes out to all those bereaved and injured by this terrible attack….’I pray for the peace of Pakistan and the protection of Christ’s people. With the people of Peshawar I join in calling for the Pakistan Government and all people of good will to ensure that communities may go about their daily lives in safety, and that the perpetrators are brought to justice. Please be assured of my prayers and fullest support as you provide leadership and care for your people at this difficult time.’

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Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, * Culture-Watch, * International News & Commentary, --Justin Welby, Archbishop of Canterbury, Asia, Pakistan, Religion & Culture, Violence

(BBC) In Pakistan, Burials amid anger after Peshawar church attack

Burials have been taking place in the Pakistani city of Peshawar after a double suicide bombing killed at least 80 people at a church on Sunday.

It is thought to be the deadliest ever attack on Pakistan’s Christians.

Two militant groups with links to the Taliban said they ordered the attack to retaliate against US drone strikes.

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Posted in * Culture-Watch, * International News & Commentary, * Religion News & Commentary, Asia, Other Churches, Pakistan, Religion & Culture, Violence

(CSM) Report blames Pakistan politicians, security for anti-Christian riots

A series of violent riots against Pakistani Christians in the past decade has concerned human rights watchers and religious minorities in Pakistan.

The latest deadly incident, which took place just two months ago, raised questions about what, if anything, can be done to prevent such violence.

The March incident when a Muslim mob burned down a Christian neighborhood in Lahore, echoed a similar incident in the rural town of Gojra four years earlier. Nine people were killed when rioters torched two Christian neighborhoods over rumors the Christians had celebrated a wedding by showering the groom with pages torn from the Quran. Despite hundreds of arrests, no one was tried for the riots, and relatives of those killed have now fled Pakistan.

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Posted in * Culture-Watch, * Economics, Politics, * International News & Commentary, * Religion News & Commentary, Asia, Inter-Faith Relations, Islam, Muslim-Christian relations, Other Faiths, Pakistan, Politics in General, Religion & Culture, Violence

Pakistanis Vote as Violence Mars End of Vibrant Campaign

Pakistanis went to the polls in high numbers on Saturday, in a vote that carried the historic prospect of the country’s first fully democratic political cycle despite being carried out under threat of fresh violence from Taliban insurgents.

A bomb in the southern port city of Karachi killed at least 11 people, doctors said, offering an ominous start to the day following Taliban threats to dispatch suicide bombers to targets across the country. And intensifying claims of vote irregularities in Karachi raised the prospect that some of the vote would be invalidated in the country’s largest metropolis.

But in several cities the turnout was very strong, supporting predictions of unusually high voter participation. Long lines remained at many polling places well into the evening, leading to the announcement that the formal poll-closing time would be extended by an hour, to 6 p.m. local time, and that even then lines would not be cut off.

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Posted in * Culture-Watch, * Economics, Politics, * International News & Commentary, Asia, History, Pakistan, Politics in General, Violence

(AP) Battered and bullied, Pakistan’s religious minorities say they have little faith in democracy

In majority Muslim Pakistan, religious minorities say democracy is killing them.

Intolerance has been on the rise for the past five years under Pakistan’s democratically elected government because of the growing violence of Islamic radicals, who are then courted by political parties, say many in the country’s communities of Shiite Muslims, Christians, Hindus and other minorities….

More than a dozen representatives of Pakistan’s minorities interviewed by The Associated Press expressed fears the vote will only hand more influence to extremists. Since the 2008 elections, under the outgoing government led by the left-leaning Pakistan People’s Party, sectarian attacks have been relentless and minorities have found themselves increasingly targeted by radical Islamic militants. Minorities have little faith the new election will change that.

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Posted in * Culture-Watch, * Economics, Politics, * International News & Commentary, * Religion News & Commentary, Asia, Ethics / Moral Theology, Inter-Faith Relations, Law & Legal Issues, Pakistan, Politics in General, Religion & Culture, Theology

(AFP) US report warns of crisis for Pakistan religious minorities

A US government-appointed panel urged Washington Tuesday to step up pressure on Pakistan over religious freedom, warning that risks to its minorities have reached a crisis level.

In an annual report, the US Commission on International Religious Freedom also raised concerns about what it called a worsening situation in China, as well as problems in Egypt, Iran, Myanmar, Saudi Arabia and other nations.

The commission, which advises the government but does not make decisions, called for the United States to designate Pakistan, among eight other countries, as a “country of particular concern,” meaning it could be subject to sanctions if it fails to improve.

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Posted in * Culture-Watch, * Economics, Politics, * International News & Commentary, * Religion News & Commentary, Asia, Foreign Relations, Globalization, Inter-Faith Relations, Islam, Muslim-Christian relations, Other Churches, Other Faiths, Pakistan, Politics in General, Religion & Culture

(NPR) Afghanistan Deadline Awaits Next U.S. President

How does a president bring the war in Afghanistan to an end? There are 68,000 American troops serving in the country as the war enters its 12th year.

The war hasn’t been a major issue in the presidential campaign, and polls show American voters are tiring of the war. But the next commander in chief will find the Afghan war among the most difficult of many foreign policy challenges.

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Posted in * Economics, Politics, * International News & Commentary, Afghanistan, Asia, Defense, National Security, Military, Foreign Relations, Office of the President, Pakistan, Politics in General, War in Afghanistan

(BBC) Drones in Pakistan traumatise civilians, US report says

Civilians are being “terrorised” 24 hours a day by CIA drone attacks that target mainly low-level militants in north-west Pakistan, a US report says.

Rescuers treating the casualties are also being killed and wounded by second drone strikes, says the report by Stanford and New York Universities.

Drone attacks are thought to have killed hundreds of militants in Yemen and Afghanistan as well as Pakistan.

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Posted in * Culture-Watch, * Economics, Politics, * International News & Commentary, America/U.S.A., Asia, Defense, National Security, Military, Ethics / Moral Theology, Foreign Relations, Pakistan, Politics in General, Science & Technology, Theology

Bishop Alexander John Malik of Lahore Condemns church burning

Lahore Bishop Rt Rev Dr Alexander John Malik has strongly condemned the burning of a church in Mardan, reiterating that Pakistani Christians have nothing to do with the people who made the profane movie.

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Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, * Culture-Watch, * International News & Commentary, * Religion News & Commentary, Asia, Ecumenical Relations, Islam, Lutheran, Muslim-Christian relations, Other Churches, Other Faiths, Pakistan, Religion & Culture, Violence

A Pakistani mob sets St Paul's Lutheran church in Mardan ablaze in anti-Islam film protest

A mob of hundreds of Muslim men attacked and burnt an 82-year-old church and an adjoining school in northwest Pakistan during a protest against an anti-Islam film, sparking concerns among the minority Christian community.

The mob broke through the gate of the St Paul’s Lutheran Church inside the cantonment in Mardan city, 48 km from the Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa capital of Peshawar, on Friday while returning from a rally against the film Innocence Of Muslims.

According to reports from Christians in Mardan, the mob attacked and set on fire the church, St Paul’s high school, a library, a computer laboratory and houses of four clergymen, including Bishop Peter Majeed.

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Posted in * Culture-Watch, * International News & Commentary, * Religion News & Commentary, Asia, Islam, Lutheran, Movies & Television, Muslim-Christian relations, Other Churches, Other Faiths, Pakistan, Religion & Culture, Violence

(ACNS) Bishops condemn attack on church compound, request Communion prayers

Thousands of people today broke into a church compound in Pakistan, burnt down the church, and destroyed the homes of two priests and the school headteacher.

The motivation behind the attack in Mardan, near Peshawar, is not yet clear, but the school was looted with newly installed computers being stolen and the building was set alight. No-one is reported to have been injured in the attack.

The Bishop of Peshawar Rt Rev Humphrey Peters has appealed for support from the Anglican Communion condemned the attack: “The damage has been very severe, and we will need to rebuild. We are asking for people around the world to keep us in your prayers.”

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Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, * Culture-Watch, * International News & Commentary, Asia, Pakistan, Violence

(BBC) Deadly film protests in Pakistan

At least 19 people have died as violent protests erupted on the streets of Pakistan’s main cities in anger at an anti-Islam film made in the US.

Fourteen people were killed in the port city of Karachi and a further five died in the north-western city of Peshawar, hospital officials said.

Protesters clashed with police outside the diplomatic enclave in the capital, Islamabad, near the US embassy.

Makes the heart sad–read it all.

Posted in * Culture-Watch, * Economics, Politics, * International News & Commentary, * Religion News & Commentary, Asia, Foreign Relations, Islam, Movies & Television, Other Faiths, Pakistan, Politics in General, Religion & Culture, Violence

(Reuters) As Muslims rage, Pakistan scrutinised by churches

With Muslim leaders in many countries calling for a global law barring what they call insults to Islam, the main non-Catholic world Christian grouping on Monday said just such a law in Pakistan is used to persecute other religions.

Pakistan’s “Blasphemy Law” has driven the country’s religious minorities – Christians, Hindus and Ahmadis, a dissenting Islamic group – into “a state of fear and terror”, said the World Council of Churches (WCC), organisers of a 3-day conference on the law.

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Posted in * Culture-Watch, * Economics, Politics, * International News & Commentary, * Religion News & Commentary, Asia, Ecumenical Relations, Inter-Faith Relations, Law & Legal Issues, Other Churches, Pakistan, Politics in General, Religion & Culture

(RNS) Activists hail release of Christian pastor in Iran, teen in Pakistan

Religious rights activists are hailing the release over the weekend of an Iranian pastor accused of apostasy and a Pakistani girl who was charged with blasphemy.

Pastor Youcef Nadarkhani was released Saturday (Sept. 8) after a six-hour hearing, reported the American Center for Law and Justice, which worked to garner American support for the minister’s release. The Christian convert had faced possible execution.

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Posted in * Christian Life / Church Life, * Culture-Watch, * Economics, Politics, * International News & Commentary, * Religion News & Commentary, Asia, Foreign Relations, Inter-Faith Relations, Iran, Law & Legal Issues, Middle East, Other Churches, Pakistan, Politics in General, Religion & Culture, Spirituality/Prayer