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AP: Indonesia’s government, security forces and courts must do more to protect religious minorities from growing episodes of intolerance and violence, an international rights group said in a report Thursday.
AP: Australia’s highest court on Wednesday narrowly rejected the case of two Muslim activists who argued they had a constitutional free-speech right to send offensive letters to families of Australian soldiers killed in Afghanistan
Religion Clause Blog: The court dismissed a petition filed on behalf of a 17-year old Muslim girl who claimed that the Prohibition of Child Marriage Act is not applicable to Muslims because Muslim Personal Law permits marriage of a girl after she has attained puberty.
Christianity Today: Escalating violence in northern Syria is forcing Christians to flee their homeland and take refuge in nearby regions of Armenia and Turkey.
Middle East Forum: It is a truism that the de-Baathification process in Iraq was turned into virtual “de-Sunnification” in many respects and thus helped to fuel the Sunni Arab insurgency in the period 2003-2005. However, one area that stands out as a notable exception is the judiciary.
Front Page Magazine: A Christian pastor was recently slaughtered in the Muslim-majority African nation of Tanzania. While butchering Christian minorities is becoming increasingly common in that part of the Muslim world, the context for this latest slaughter is somewhat different than the usual forms of Christian persecution under Islam—such as allegations of “blaspheming” the name of Muslim prophet Muhammad.
WorldNetDaily: The Sudanese regime of Omar al-Bashir has detained approximately 55 Christians without charge, perhaps to curry favor with Islamic forces in his country, reports the advocacy group Christian Solidarity Worldwide.
Haaretz: ctively revising the three monotheisms’ archaic homophobic legacy may not be 100% historically honest, but it is certainly necessary for reframing more tolerant versions of these religions.
AP: A Dutch appeals court has upheld a (EURO)60 ($90) fine against an Orthodox Jew who refused to show police an identity card, citing religious reasons.
AP: Former U.S. President Bill Clinton said Tuesday that Nigeria must do more to alleviate the extreme poverty across the nation’s predominantly Muslim north in order to halt the wave of bombings, shootings and kidnappings by Islamic extremists there.
CNSNews: Imprisoned American pastor Saeed Abedini wrote of what he called “horrific” and “unbearable” conditions in the Iranian prison where he is held after being convicted in January for being a Christian.
Catholic Culture: Orthodox Patriarch Bartholomew I of Constantinople has staked out his opposition to convert the Hagia Sophia into a mosque.
Catholic Culture: Sudanese authorities have detained over 55 Christians in the past two weeks, according to Christian Solidarity Worldwide, a group that monitors the persecution of Christians.
Spiegel Online: The murder of opposition politician Chokri Belaïd was also an assault on Tunisia’s emerging democracy. It has exposed the chasm between Islamists and secularists, and threatens to plunge the nation at the forefront of the Arab Revolution into chaos.
Daniel Pipes at Townhall: Philadelphia, the city where I live, has quietly and unassumedly become the capital of the Western world as regards female Islamic garb as an accessory to crime.
Lela Gilbert at Patheos: A few days ago a chilling video appeared on BBC’s website, relating the story of a Coptic Christian man, Victor Schata-Michael, who had fled Egypt with his wife and children because of religious persecution. Schata-Michael was desperate to save his family from dangers that increasingly threaten Egypt’s Coptic community, comprised of 8-10 million Christians.
WorldNetDaily: Authorities in New Jersey allege a Muslim man beheaded two Coptic Christians, burying their bodies and heads and hands in separate graves near Philadelphia, bringing the horror of the persecution of Christians in Islamic nations to the United States.
AFLC: Yesterday, the American Freedom Law Center (AFLC) filed a motion for a preliminary injunction in the United States District Court for the Eastern District of Michigan, requesting that the court issue an order preventing the Wayne County Sheriff and his deputies from restricting a group of Christian evangelists from displaying banners and signs with Christian messages on the public sidewalks during the 2013 Arab Festival to be held in Dearborn, Michigan.
Gatestone Institute: Spain has acceded to the demands of the Islamist government in Morocco by agreeing that Moroccan children adopted by Spanish families must remain culturally and religiously Muslim.
Protesters call Dutch MP Geert Wilders a racist as he calls for end to mass migration from Islamic countries
Herald Sun: PROTESTERS clashed violently with police and guests tonight before a speech by controversial anti-Muslim Dutch MP Geert Wilders.
Vatican Today: More than one year after the Arab Spring, Christians in Egypt continue to suffer persecution. The latest attack happened Friday, when a mob of a few hundred people threw stones and set fire to St. Georgas Coptic Church in Sarsena. The village is located about 100 km southwest of Cairo.
Daily Mail: The incoming head of the CIA converted to Islam while working as a station chief in Saudi Arabia in the 1990s, a former FBI agent has claimed. John Guandolo, who retired from the FBI in 2008, said in a radio interview that John Brennan – who has been nominated by Barack Obama as the new director of the CIA – visited the Islamic holy cities of Mecca and Medina accompanied by Saudi officials who may have persuaded him to convert.
Religion Clause Blog: Christian Churches Together, an organization of over 40 Christian church groups (Catholic, Orthodox, evangelical and main-line Protestant) last week issued a press release and Statement (full text) calling for comprehensive immigration law reform.
Religion Clause Blog: In Juma Mosque Congregation v. Azerbaijan, (ECHR, Feb. 8, 2013), the congregation sued complaining that the government refused to re-register the congregation unless it subordinated itself to the Caucuses Muslim Board.
Middle East Forum: Categorized by theme, the rest of December’s batch of Muslim persecution of Christians around the world includes (but is not limited to) the following accounts, listed by theme and in country alphabetical order, not necessarily according to severity . . .
Polski Radio: Rev. Guy Liagre, Secretary-General of the Council of European Bishops’ Conferences, said in Warsaw on Wednesday that Islam in Europe is becoming more fundamentalist and radical.
Nathaniel Botwinick at National Review: In a foreign-policy address at the Heritage Institute this morning, Senator Rand Paul (R., Ky.) called for a shift in American foreign policy, saying that the U.S. should apply a strategy of containment to radical Islam and declaring himself “a realist, not a neoconservative.”
Haaretz: In interview with Al-Ahram on eve of Islamic Summit Conference in Cairo, Iranian president also says his country opposes outside intervention in Syria.
AP: A gunman tried to shoot a Danish writer and prominent critic of Islam on Tuesday, but missed and fled after a scuffle with his intended victim, police and the writer said.
Religion Clause Blog: Under the Agreed Order (full text) in United States v. City of Lomita California, (CD CA), the city will consider on an expedited basis a new application from the Islamic Center.
Catholic Culture: Rimsha Masih, who had spent 18 months in prison, was freed when an appeals-court judge found insufficient evidence to support the blasphemy charge.
Islamist Watch: Zead Ramadan, board president of the New York chapter of the Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR), is eyeing a bigger platform from which to promote his Islamist agenda: a seat on the New York City Council. If he prevails, the city that endured 9/11 will count among its lawmakers a senior official in an organization linked to the financing of terrorists and intent on frustrating law enforcement efforts to foil the next jihad plot.
RealTruth.org: Partly as a result of this action, ministers across America risked their status as tax-exempt charities and tackled politics from the pulpit: “About 1,600 pastors across the country violated a 58-year-old ban on political endorsements by churches in October by explicitly backing political candidates in their Sunday sermons, according to the Alliance Defending Freedom of Scottsdale, Ariz., a conservative Christian legal organization behind a campaign called Pulpit Freedom Sunday” (NBC News).
AP: Thousands of Egyptians marched across the country, chanting against the rule of the Islamist President Mohammed Morsi, in a fresh wave of protests Friday, even as cracks appeared in the ranks of the opposition after its political leaders met for the first time with the rival Muslim Brotherhood.
CNSNews: Newly confirmed Secretary of State John Kerry condemned Iran’s “continued violation of the universal right of freedom of religion” and urged the release of an American Christian pastor imprisoned for his religious beliefs.
Ansamed.info: France will expel radical foreign preachers within days, Interior Minister Manuel Valls announced Tuesday at an international conference on fighting terrorism and radicalism.
DW.de: Bremen is the third German state to recognize Islamic organizations as official religious bodies. Holidays, funerals and pastoral care will be regulated by state contracts. Other states will likely follow suit.
Telegraph: Egypt is nearing “state collapse”, its defence minister and army chief warned in comments widely seen as a threat to re-impose military rule.
Religion As An Activity Engaged In By Consenting Adults In Private | Peter Berger at the American Interest
Peter Berger at the American Interest: But I do want to make a general observation: In all these cases the authorities accused of violating the plaintiffs’ rights operate with a definition of religion as a private matter to be kept out of public space. There is here a general issue of government overreach, as clearly illustrated by the (still unresolved) attempt by the Obama administration to force Catholic institutions to provide contraception coverage in their employees’ health plans. Beyond that, though, there is a very ideological view of the place of religion in society. In other words, religion is to be an activity engaged in by consenting adults in private. The attorney for the Judeo-Christian side in the aforementioned American case had it quite right when he compared the treatment of his client’s religion with measures of disease control. This is not an attitude one would expect to find in a Western democracy. It is curiously reminiscent of policies toward religion in Communist countries and toward non-Muslims under Islamic rule.
Gatestone Institute: When one thinks of Yemen—the impoverished Arab country that begat Osama bin Laden, and is cushioned between Saudi Arabia and Somalia, two of the absolute most radical Muslim nations—one seldom thinks of Christians, primarily because they are practically nonexistent in such an inhospitable environment. Most tallies, in fact, suggest that Yemen’s entire non-Muslim population is less than one percent. A new Arabic report , however, discusses the existence of Christians in Yemen, and their plight—one that should be familiar by now, given the situation wherever Christian minorities live under Muslim majorities.
ABC: An unpredictable new element has entered Egypt’s wave of political unrest: a mysterious group of masked young men called the Black Bloc who present themselves as the defenders of protesters opposed to the Islamist president’s rule.
AP: “The promise of his release was a lie,” said the pastor’s wife, Naghmeh. “With today’s development, I am devastated for my husband and my family. We must now pursue every effort, turn every rock, and not stop until Saeed is safely on American soil.”
Fox News (includes video): Supporters of the American pastor held in Iran and facing a possible death sentence for his faith say the State Department is not doing enough to win his release. Pastor Saeed Abedini, a Christian minister and American citizen . . .
UCanews.com: Leaflets inviting people to a “Bible-burning festival” have stirred outrage in Malaysia. This coincided with a nationalist group leader urging to “seize and burn” Malay-language Bibles, prompting calls for his prosecution.
Fox News: The U.S. military ordered soldiers to remove a cross and a steeple from atop a chapel and to board up cross-shaped windows at a remote American forward operating base in Afghanistan.
Norman Transcripts: The American Civil Liberties Union of Oklahoma and CAIR-Oklahoma, the Oklahoma chapter of the Council on American-Islamic Relations, recently expressed their appreciation to the Oklahoma Bankers’ Association for clarifying a security measure commonly referred to as “No Hats, No Hoods, No Sunglasses” employed by many of Oklahoma’s banks to better take into account the religious requirements of some customers to cover all or a portion of their heads.
AP: Two years after Egypt’s revolution began, the country’s schism was on display Friday as the mainly liberal and secular opposition held rallies saying the goals of the pro-democracy uprising have not been met and denouncing Islamist President Mohammed Morsi.
Daily Mail: Fewer than one in four British voters believes Islam is compatible with the British way of life, the UK’s first Muslim woman Cabinet Minister reveals today. Baroness Warsi will quote private police figures which show that more than half of race hate attacks in Britain are against Muslims as she condemns critics of Islam for peddling ‘hate’.
Baptist Press: The U.S. government and the U.S. Commission on International Religious Freedom have issued calls for the release of an American pastor who may face the gallows for spreading the Gospel in Iran . . . The U.S. State Department has yet to call for Abedini’s release, although U.S. National Security Council spokesman Tommy Vietor urged Jan. 18 that the pastor be freed.
Telegraph: In Jordan, hundreds of Syrian females have been affected by an informal trade that has sprung up since the start of the war in Syria, where men use “agents” to source Syrian refugees to use for sex. Often this is done under the guise of “marriage”: The ‘dowry’, which in Muslim society is traditionally paid by the groom as a guarantee of the bride’s security has become a payment for sex. And the “marriage”, is an affair that lasts only a few days or even hours.
Free Beacon: The State Department has refused to cancel or delay the delivery of several American-made F-16 fighter jets to Egypt, claiming that the arms deal serves America’s “regional security interests,” according to an official State Department document obtained by the Free
Church in Chains: Police in Turkey say they thwarted an assassination plot against Emre Karaali (pictured) on Tuesday 15 January when they arrested 14 suspects, two of whom had been part of his congregation for more than a year.
Christian Persecution: Thousands of Egyptian Muslims shouting “Allahu Akbar” left their mosques Wednesday to destroy a social services building owned by the Coptic Church.
Frontpage Interview’s guest today is William Kilpatrick, the author of several books, including Psychological Seduction and Why Johnny Can’t Tell Right from Wrong. His articles about Islam have appeared in FrontPage Magazine, Investor’s Business Daily, Catholic World Report, and other publications. His most recent book, Christianity, Islam, and Atheism: The Struggle for the Soul of the West explores the threat that Islam poses to Christianity and Western civilization. The book also examines the role played by militant secularists in facilitating the expansion of Islam.
AP: Iran’s semi-official ISNA news agency is reporting that a jailed American pastor of Iranian origin is to be released imminently after posting $ 116,000 bail.
Religion Clause Blog: The Jakarta Post reported yesterday that six Catholic schools in the Indonesian municipality of Bitar, East Java, have agreed to provide offsite Islamic lessons to their Catholic students in compliance with Mayoral Decree No. 8/2012 issued last year requiring all Muslim students to be able to read and write Koranic verses
Religion Clause Blog: The U.S. Commission on International Religious Freedom issued a press release on Wednesday calling for the government of Iran to release Iranian-American pastor Saeed Abedeni who was arrested in September for his involvement with the underground house church movement
Religion Clause Blog: Presumably the interview related to Rehman’s attempt at that time to get the National Assembly to eliminate the death penalty for blasphemy. Lower courts had refused to register a case against Rehman.
Emirates247.com: A well-known Saudi Islamic scholar has issued a new fatwa (edict) saying holding elections for a president or another form of leadership is prohibited in Islam.
Fox News: The 15-year prison sentence given to a woman and her seven children by an Egyptian court for converting to Christianity is a sign of things to come, according to alarmed human rights advocates who say the nation’s Islamist government is bad news for Christians in the North African country.
Investors.com: The radical Muslim Brotherhood doesn’t just threaten Israel and Mideast peace. According to the Egyptian press, several of its operatives have infiltrated the U.S. government and are influencing policy here.
Telegraph: France’s campaign in Mali has escalated into a ground war when troops fought to prevent al-Qaeda and its allies from striking deep inside territory previously under government control.
Houston Chronicle: U.S. Sen. John McCain said Wednesday he has expressed strong disapproval to Egypt’s Islamist president about his past comments about Jews. Despite an uproar in Washington over the remarks, he said he and other congressmen will press for more aid to Egypt’s ailing economy.
Chicoer.com: A former Marin County man convicted of fighting alongside the Taliban must be allowed to pray daily in a group with other Muslim inmates at his high-security prison in Indiana, a federal judge ruled Friday.
Free Beacon: An American-Iranian pastor imprisoned in Tehran since September may face hanging because of his Christian faith. Saeed Abedini sent a letter to his family Jan. 10 detailing his torture and treatment by Iranian authorities.
Religion Clause Blog: In 2011, Turkey’s prime minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan issued a decree returning to minority religious groups hundreds of properties that have been seized since 1936
AP: The only female judge to sit on Egypt’s highest court says she has filed the first legal challenge against the country’s highly contentious constitution, which cost her the seat she held.
Reuters: French Muslims have begun joining a mostly Catholic-led movement against same-sex marriage, widening opposition to the reform that the Socialist-led government is set to write into the law by June.
Christian Today: Two Christians from the Church of Iran denomination, Behzad Taalipasand and Mohammadreza (Johann) Omidi, were detained on New Year’s Eve in the northern city of Rasht. The arrests are the latest developments in a December crackdown on house churches by the Iranian government
The Blaze: A leading nun in Syria is reporting that a young Christian man in Syria was beheaded by jihadi rebels who then fed his mutilated body to dogs.
AP: A 15-year-old Pakistani girl shot in the head by the Taliban for promoting girls’ education has been released from a Birmingham hospital to live with her family, doctors said Friday.
CNA: A Christian pastor who spent nearly three years in an Iranian prison for his religious conversion was reportedly arrested again on Christmas Day, contrary to a previous agreement.