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Ecumenical News: Catholics in Pakistan have reiterated their appeal to the government for heightened security and protection after Islamic extremists carried out a new attack on a minority community last week.
Christian Today: Christian leaders in Pakistan have received death threats for their involvement in church planting, leading a country expert to warn that religious minorities are facing worse conditions day by day.
ACLJ: According to the United States Commission on International Religious Freedom’s (USCIRF) newly released 2015 Annual Report, “Pakistan represents one of the worst situations in the world for religious freedom for countries not currently designated by the U.S. Government as ‘countries of particular concern.’”
Breitbart: For the first time in history, Pakistani history books for middle and high school students will describe the role that Christians, Hindus and Sikhs have had in building the country after independence.
ACNS: Pakistan is one of the world’s most troubling epicentres for terrorism where minorities are targeted by religious extremists for having different beliefs or affiliations. Yet the persecuted Christian community – 1.5 per cent of 180 million people – remains steadfast in faith despite the daily persecution they face.
The Economist: Over the past month, the news about religion in Pakistan has become worse, whether this is measured by the behaviour of officialdom or the horrors suffered by ordinary folk at the hands of terrorists or fanatics.
Juicy Ecumenism: Less than two weeks after suicide bombers murdered 18 worshippers at two churches in Lahore, Pakistan, the country’s Ecumenical Commission for Human Development has issued its initial report on the atrocity saying it underscores “growing intolerance” towards minority groups.
Asia News: “We call on all Christians who are demonstrating in these days in Pakistan to protest in a peaceful manner, and to show patience, courage and forgiveness”, appeals.
Asia News: “The Catholic Church of Pakistan strongly condemns the brutal suicide bombings against churches of Youhanabad, Lahore. Government, political parties, religious leaders and all citizens of Pakistan must stand alongside their Christian brothers and sisters, against extremist forces”, reads the official statement released by Msgr. Joseph Coutts, Archbishop of Karachi, President of the Bishops’ Conference of Pakistan (PCBC). “The government of Punjab and federal government – he underlines – must take extraordinary measures to protect churches and religious minorities in the country”.
Ecumenical News: An extremist group in a restive Pakistan province has threatened a local press club, saying that it must eject from its ranks four Christian journalists whom it accused of proselytizing using a television station.
Christian Today: Seven Christian families living in Kasur, Pakistan have been left homeless after several Muslims bulldozed their homes.
Christian Today: The husband of Pakistani Christian Asia Bibi, who was sentenced to death for blasphemy, has given a rare interview in which he urged the international community to speak up for his wife.
The Daily Signal: A group of South Asia experts recently submitted a letter to Secretary of State John Kerry urging him to address rising religious persecution in Pakistan during his trip to the region for the U.S.–Pakistan Strategic Dialogue this week.
The Economist: A broad and ideologically mixed array of Washingtonian south Asia wonks, including ones who don’t normally pay much attention to things spiritual, urged John Kerry in an open letter to put religious freedom much higher on the agenda.
Pakistani Muslim beats Christian mother with bat after she prevented man from abducting, raping daughter
The Christian Post: Two Christian women were aggressively beaten by a Pakistani Muslim man in the country’s capital of Lahore after the women prevented the attacker from abducting the daughter of one of the women.
Christian News Network: The Supreme Court of Pakistan has ordered the arrest of two Muslim clerics for inciting a mob who killed a couple last month after being falsely accused of desecrating the Koran. Five police officials who failed to protect the couple have also been required to face disciplinary action.
Pakistan Supreme Court orders arrest of Muslim clerics who incited mob to kill Christian couple with pregnant wife
The Christian Post: Pakistan’s Supreme Court has ordered the arrest of two Muslim clerics for inciting a violent mob of hundreds of Muslims to brutally beat, torture, burn and murder a married Christian couple in the Punjab Province in early November.
Christian News Network: Members of the Pakistani Islamic Taliban opened fire on a military school on Tuesday, killing over 140 people—mostly children.
Christian News Network: An American pastor imprisoned in Iran remains strong in faith despite suffering from internal injuries resulting from beatings behind bars, according to an update from his wife and the legal organization that is fighting for his release.
Christian News Network: Three more cases of blasphemy accusations have emerged in Pakistan, even after a Christian couple’s beating to death and burning in a brick kiln after allegations of blasphemy horrified the world, including the metropolitan elite in the country.
Pakistani Christian woman suffers miscarriage after being beaten following argument with Muslim women
The Christian Post: A pregnant Christian women living in Pakistan is no longer expecting her baby after suffering a miscarriage that resulted from being stripped naked and beaten by two Muslim men earlier in November.
Aleteia: Asia Bibi, the Christian woman who has received the death penalty for being accused of blasphemy made an appeal to the Supreme Court of Justice in her country to change her sentence. Her sentence is considered “unfair” and excessive in light of the insufficient evidence and weakness of the testimonies against her.
The Guardian (Agence France-Presse): A Pakistani Christian woman sentenced to death for blasphemy has filed an appeal in the country’s top court , her final legal recourse after being found guilty of insulting the prophet Muhammad four years ago.
The Daily Signal: The 2014 Global Slavery Index (GSI) found that there are nearly 36 million victims of human trafficking worldwide. Of that, 36 million, nearly two-thirds, are from Asia. Without serious attention from the U.S. and Asian governments, millions of adults and children will continue to be forced into bonded labor, sex trafficking, slave-like conditions, and child soldiering in Asia.
Christian professor arrested for blasphemy in Pakistan, charged with same offense as mother-of-five Asia Bibi
The Christian Post: A 40-year-old Christian man was arrested for blasphemy in Lahore, Pakistan, and has been charged with insulting the Prophet Mohammad, the same offense that Christian mother-of-five Asia Bibi is facing the death penalty for.
The Compass News (CNS): Catholic leaders in Pakistan protested the Nov. 4 beatings and burning of a young Christian couple accused of desecrating the Quran.
Religious Freedom Coalition: The Islamic State has just beheaded a woman who resisted being raped by an ISIS fighter. She killed the rapist and then was slaughtered for defending herself.
Zenit: A local human rights organization warned of interests groups involved in covering up the truth following a Pakistani court’s ruling upholding a Christian woman’s death sentence.
One News Now: Attorneys for Bibi say they plan to appeal her death sentence for blasphemy. A court upheld that penalty last week, ending speculation as to how the court might rule.
Canon and Culture: What did you do on Saturday, July 19th? Catch a movie? Visit the beach? Host a barbecue? Whatever you did, half a world away beneath that same summer sun thousands of Iraqi Christians were being purged from the city of Mosul and told never to return on pain of death.
The New York Times: A liberal Muslim scholar who had been accused of blasphemy for a speech he gave during a visit to the United States was shot and killed in Karachi on Thursday, the city police said.
Christian News Network (Morning Star News): Police in Pakistan have taken into custody a Christian convert from Hinduism and his Hindu co-worker for allegedly burning a Koran and a chart of Koranic verses.
Religious Freedom Coalition (Morning Star News): Police in Pakistan have taken into custody a Christian convert from Hinduism and his Hindu co-worker for allegedly burning a Koran and a chart of Koranic verses.
The Christian Post: The minority Christian community in Pakistan is said to be outraged following the rape of a 12-year-old Christian girl in Lahore by two Muslim men. Christian advocates have said Muslims often use sexual violence as a means of controlling the Christian population, especially women and girls.
Worldwide Religious News: A pregnant woman was stoned to death by her own family in front of a Pakistani high court on Tuesday for marrying the man she loved.
Reuters: A teenager walked into a Pakistani police station on Friday and shot dead a 65-year-old man from a minority sect accused of blasphemy, their spokesman said, the second murder involving the country’s controversial blasphemy laws in as many weeks.
Reuters: Gunmen posing as clients shot dead a prominent human rights lawyer defending a professor accused of blasphemy, officials said Thursday, underscoring the danger facing those trying to put an end to religious intolerance in majority-Muslim Pakistan.
Christian Today: “A Christian couple in Punjab Province incapable of writing proper Urdu has been sentenced to death for allegedly sending blasphemous text messages, bringing the number of Christians on death row in Pakistan to four.”
Daily Times: “The Hindu community has urged the government to provide them religious freedom, ensure sanctity of their worship places, protection of their lives and properties, and grant them their fundamental rights enshrined in the constitution.”
New York Times: “A court here found a Christian sanitation worker guilty of blasphemy on Thursday and sentenced him to death, in a case that set off rioting and the torching of a Christian neighborhood last year.”
Agence France-Presse: “The US Commission on International Religious Freedom, a government advisory panel, voiced fear that the rise in laws banning blasphemy was leading to punishment of people who merely express different religious views or who have been falsely accused.”
Robert P. George, president of the U.S. Commission on International Religious Freedom (USCIRF), at The Hill: These prisoners of conscience have been unjustly barred from enjoying the most basic human rights enshrined in the landmark Universal Declaration of Human Rights (UDHR), the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights (ICCPR), and other international instruments and standards.
Daily Times: “The participants of a panel discussion with provincial leadership of political parties stressed the need of implementing constitutional and international guarantees protecting the rights of religious minorities in Pakistan.”
CNSNews: The top ten countries for persecuting Christians over the last year were: North Korea, Somalia, Syria, Iraq, Afghanistan, Saudi Arabia, Maldives, Pakistan, Iran and Yemen.
CNSNews: Asia Bibi, a Catholic Pakistani mother of five who was sentenced to death by hanging in 2010 for blasphemy, wrote a letter to Pope Francis sending Christmas greetings and adding that, even though in a Pakistan prison, she also “celebrated the birth of the Lord.”
Religion Clause Blog: In Multan, Pakistan on Saturday, a trial court judge sentenced two men to death on blasphemy charges.
Morningstar News: Compliance with an order that only the death sentence can be given to those convicted of insulting Islam’s prophet will further endanger Christians and increase the powers of the Islamic court that issued it, critics said.
Catholic Culture: Eight months after his acquittal, Younis Masih, a Pakistani Christian imprisoned since 2005 on blasphemy charges and once sentenced to death, has been released from jail.
Morning Star News: An illiterate vendor in Pakistan beaten by an Islamic mob for unwittingly using pages containing Koranic verses received “forgiveness” from his accusers, but the complainant filed a blasphemy case against the Christian anyway under direction from Islamic leaders.
World: In Pakistan, authorities recently arrested three Muslims on charges of forcible conversion to Islam. Boota Masih, a Christian, said a man “bluntly asked me to convert to Islam,” issued threats, and pistol-whipped him and his nephews when they refused, theMorning Star News reported Oct. 24.
Morning Star News: young evangelist in Pakistan, in hiding after being accused of blaspheming Islam’s prophet, has surrendered to police due to serious threats to his life from Islamic extremists, his lawyer said.
Morningstar News: Police and a banned Islamic extremist group in Lahore, Pakistan are searching for a young Christian accused of blasphemy – with the extremist group calling for his death – after he sought to correct misconceptions about Christianity in a Muslim book, sources said.
MorningStar News: Police in Islamabad have arrested three Muslims for pistol-whipping a Christian and his teenage nephews after they refused to convert to Islam, sources said.
Religion Clause Blog: In a press release on Friday, the U.S. Commission on International Religious Freedom urged Obama “to raise concerns about the dire religious freedom situation in Pakistan, with both Muslims and religious minorities consistently confronting violence or jail.”
EuroNews: There are close to 30 million slaves worldwide with India home to nearly half, a new report has claimed. The Global Slavery Index 2013, the first of its kind, estimates there are 13.9 million people living as slaves in India. China is a distant second with 2.9m slaves; followed by Pakistan with 2.1m; Nigeria 0.7m; and Ethiopia 0.6m.
The Express Tribune: Hand in hand as many as 200-300 people formed a human chain outside the St Anthony’s Church adjacent to the District Police Lines at the Empress Road, in a show of solidarity with the victims of the Peshawar church attack two weeks back, which resulted in over a 100 deaths. The twin suicide attack on All Saints church occurred after Sunday mass ended and is believed to be the country’s deadliest attack on Christians.
British Pakistani Christian Association: Today in press release ,LEAD demands judicial probe into All Saints Peshawar Cathedral Church attack in the city in which more than 84 innocent Christians were killed and more than 150 injured.LEAD’s Chief and President PCC Punjab, Sardar Mushtaq Gill advocate on Friday demanded a high level commission of Supreme Court to probe the twin suicide bombing at a Peshawar Cathedral Church.
Financial Times: Symbols of Christianity are scattered around Lahore, a legacy of British missionary zeal in Pakistan’s second-biggest city. But this coda to colonial times was jerked into a more violent present at the weekend, with the murder of at least 78 churchgoers in a Taliban suicide attack in the northern city of Peshawar.
AP: Angry Pakistani Christians on Monday denounced the deadliest attack ever in this country against members of their faith as the death toll from the church bombings the day before climbed to 85.
Telegraph: A suicide attack on a historic church in northwestern Pakistan killed at least 78 people on Sunday in one of the deadliest attacks on the Christian minority in Pakistan in years.
MorningStarNews: Shouting that he was killing “an infidel who blasphemed against Muhammad,” a Muslim in Karachi on Saturday (Sept. 14) slit a Christian’s throat as police and others looked on, according to the slain man’s son.
Morningstar News: The killers of Pakistan’s first Christian to become a federal cabinet member, Shahbaz Bhatti, have confessed to the crime, Bhatti’s brother and security sources said.
Huffington Post: This week in Multan, Pakistan, 36-year-old Farzana Bibi was allegedly dismembered by her husband for refusing to wear a niqab. Waiting until their three children had gone to school, he allegedly took a knife used for slaughtering an animal in the halal fashion to dismember her into ten pieces.
Christian woman explains why she faces hanging in Pakistan for the crime of ‘blasphemy’ | Asia Bibi at NY Post
Asia Bibi at NY Post: As her religion faces persecution across the Middle East, a Christian woman explains why she faces hanging in Pakistan for the crime of ‘blasphemy’
Morningstar News: A court in Islamabad on Saturday (Aug. 17) dismissed charges against a Muslim cleric arrested on suspicion of framing a Christian girl for blasphemy.
Pakistan Today: Christian couple in Gojra has been charged under the blasphemy law for allegedly sending blasphemous text messages to a local Muslim, Pakistan Today has learnt.
Morning Star News: A Christian couple was arrested on Saturday (July 20) for allegedly sending blasphemous text messages to a Muslim cleric in Gojra, a religiously volatile city where a week before a young Christian man was sentenced to life in prison on the same charge.
AsiaNews.it: Rafique and his wife have seven children, four girls and three boys. After his eldest daughter, Iram, 17, was yet again verbally harassed on July 10 last, the father went to tell the two young men not to bother his daughters anymore. In response, Muslims began to verbally abuse him, insulting him and his family and threatening to “teach him a lesson.”
Religion Clause Blog: The U.S. Commission on International Religious Freedom today issued a Fact Sheet on Pakistan’s History of Violence: A Chronology of Targeted Violence against Religious Communities (January 2012-June 2013).
Can Islam Embrace Religious Freedom? Can Religious Freedom Undermine Islamist Terrorism? Is the U.S. State Department Witless?
Thomas F. Farr at National Review: In two posts last week (here and here) I wrote that America’s failure to advance religious freedom in places such as Afghanistan, Pakistan, and Egypt had harmed the victims of religious persecution and undermined U.S. national security.
AP: A Christian girl who was accused of burning Islam’s holy book in a case that focused international attention on Pakistan’s harsh blasphemy laws is now in Canada with her family after spending months in hiding, Immigration Minister Jason Kenney said.
News.va: 16-year-old boy, who converted to Christianity from Islam, has been reported missing since May 25 in Peshawar, capital of the province of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa