PARIS, FRANCE (ANS - January 17, 2017) -- Britain's change of heart over their Israel policy is a welcome answer to prayer, and goes some way to make amends for their shameful betrayal when voting for the recent UN resolution aimed at delegitimizing the Jewish state.
But their refusal to sign the Paris "peace conference" communiqué is nevertheless a contradiction, reflecting the moral confusion of a government no longer recognizing right from wrong.
LONDON, UK (ANS, January 17, 2017) -- Religious persecution is a major factor for the increase in numbers of refugees from countries where identifying as a Christian has become extremely dangerous.
mi Turkey syrian refugees 01 17 2017In the latest annual survey of the 50 countries where it is most difficult to live as a Christian, the charity Open Doors UK & Ireland noted that more than half of the world’s 65.3m refugee population come from Somalia, Afghanistan and Syria.
ALBUQUERQUE, NEW MEXICO (ANS - January 16, 2017) -- I remember when I came to the realization that words matter. I was sitting in a college English class in Fremont, California, when we were reading and discussing T.S Eliot's poem, Journey of the Magi. And for some reason I had an epiphany while contemplating the 43-line poem. True, the poem is an amazing piece of verse. But it wasn't necessarily the exclusiveness of the poem that prompted the feeling. Rather, Journey of the Magi acted as a final destination for my own journey with language, a metaphor for the wonder of words.
A Hungarian camerawoman who was filmed kicking refugees in 2015 was handed 3 years probation for disorderly conduct by prosecutors on Thursday.
The camerawoman, 40-year-old Petra Laszlo, caused international outrage after she was filmed kicking and tripping refugees, including young children, near the Hungary-Siberia border in September 2015. In a court ruling last year, she was charged with "breach of peace".
Following President Obama's farewell address Jan. 11 in Chicago, Southern Baptists who have met with him personally reflected on his "liberal" social policies, apparent commitment to family, and status as America's first black president, Christian Telegraph reports according to Baptist Press.
Southern Baptist Convention Executive Committee President Frank S. Page said he "watched the presidential speech with great interest" and has appreciated Obama's example as a husband and father despite deep disagreements with the president on some issues.
Some of the greatest challenges to ending hunger worldwide are "fragile states" threatened by instability, conflict, and climate change, a new humanitarian report says, Christian Telegraph reports according to Catholic News Agency.
Yet despite this, one initiative believes poverty-induced hunger can be eliminated in 13 years - and that there's already been movement toward this goal.
The acquittal of two suspects in the gang rape of a Catholic nun, and a series of rapes by security forces in remote areas of the central Indian state of Chhattisgarh have highlighted the vulnerability of women from marginalised communities.
January 10, 2017 (LifeSiteNews) -- A new poll has found overwhelming support for the swift nomination of a U.S. Supreme Court justice who will apply the Constitution as originally written. Majorities also support interpreting the Constitution as originally intended and quick action to protect religious freedom.
Eight in 10 Americans (80 percent) say it is an "immediate priority" or an "important" one to appoint Supreme Court justices that will interpret the Constitution as it was originally written. This includes 56 percent who say such an appointment is an "immediate priority." Fifty-three percent of Independents, 80 percent of Republicans and more than four in 10 Democrats (42 percent) also say it is an "immediate priority."
YANGON, BURMA (ANS, January 10, 2017) -- Villagers in Shan state, Burma (Myanmar) are increasingly concerned over indications that two assistant priests in Burma have been killed, according to Morning Star News (www.morningstarnews.org).
mi Catholic church destroyed in Burma 01 10 2017Sources told Morning Star News that the Burma army arrested Dom Dawng Nawng and La Jaw Gam Hseng on Dec. 24 after the two assistant priests helped journalists report on a bombed Catholic church building in Mong Ko.
NEW DELHI, INDIA (ANS, Jan.9, 2017) -- India's Prime Minister Narendra Modi has come under fire from his political opponents for his failure to secure the release of an Indian Catholic priest kidnapped ten months ago in Yemen by Islamic extremists.
Now, World Watch Monitor (www.worldwatchmonitor.org) reports that Modi's Deputy Foreign Minister, M. J. Akbar, has said the priest went to Yemen "ignoring the central government's orders not to go," even though he'd lived and worked in the country for 14 years.
By Dan Wooding, Founder of ASSIST News Service
Sardor Gill human rights campaginer useASIA (ANS – January 9, 2017) – Sardar Mushtaq Gill, a prominent Christian lawyer, who fled Pakistan last August with his wife and four children, following numerous death threats, is now in danger again with further threats on his life.
In a message sent to the ASSIST News Service (www.assistnews.net), Gill said from his secret hideout in an un-named country, that on January 4, 2017, he got a threatening message on Facebook “from a Muslim... whose profile shows that he is from Karachi, Pakistan.”
Gill, who has been given the title of “Human Rights Defender” by a prominent human rights organization, and is a law graduate from Lahore Punjab University, Pakistan, said that the threat was written in Roman Urdu, and the man has also managed to get his mobile phone number and Gill has alleged that he said that he would come to where he was staying and “kill him.”
Mumtaz QuadriGill described the man as “another Qadri,” meaning Mumtaz Qadri, a Pakistani policeman and Islamic fundamentalist, who was in the squad of personal bodyguards of Salmaan Taseer, former Governor of Punjab, who on January 4, 2011, had assassinated Taseer for speaking in favor of blasphemy-convicted Asia Bibi and against the infamous blasphemy laws. He was convicted by the Islamabad High Court, sentenced to death and executed.
Gill said that because he also been speaking out for Asia Bibi and against the blasphemy laws, and stated, “Now is my turn to be killed because I used the LEAD Blog to criticize the blasphemy laws and said they were inhumane.” (Gill founded LEAD [Legal Evangelical Association Development] -- http://leadfamily.blogspot.ca/ -- for which he still writes for.
He added that the lives of others in LEAD has been threatened for their human rights activities on behalf of Pakistan’s Christians community.
“Members of this Qadri group has now filed complaint at a police station against me and other members of LEAD under 295-c of the Penal Code [against blasphemy] and under the charges of support and to harbor blasphemy accused women like Martha Bibi and Asia Bibi.” (In 2007, Martha Bibi from Kasur, was accused of blasphemy. It was discovered later that it had been a made-up story simply because her contractors did not want to pay her for the materials they had bought from her. She was fortunate enough to be released, but her accusers never paid their dues and remain free. Asia Bibi, a Christian mother-of-five is on death-row for alleged blasphemy after standing up for Jesus is an argument with her Muslim co-workers. She is appealing her conviction.)
It was on August 8, 2016, when Sardar Mushtaq Gill and his wife and four children, finally fled Pakistan for an un-named country. At the time, he said: “Death threats and attacks by the extremists, have made it extremely difficult for me to carry out human rights work and continually go into hiding for myself and for my family’s survival in Pakistan.”
Asia Bibi with two of her daughtersLEAD, the group Gill set up, was for “the protection and promotion of the right to freedom of religion and belief” in Pakistan, and says on its website, “The main problem in Pakistan is religious intolerance and discrimination which affects religious minorities and creates in them the feelings of insecurity of life and property.”
Because of his high profile, and his free legal work on behalf of the victims of mob violence, forced conversion to Islam, forced marriages and rape victims, he has faced numerous death threats, with shots being fired at his home and attacks at his family members.
Because of this, Mr. Gill and his family, decided in 2013, to go into hiding in Pakistan, meaning and they were not able to reside at a permanent place, and were constantly on the move. He says that he had asked the authorities to provide safety for him and his family, but he claims those requests have been ignored.
Now, he and his family have, themselves, become victims of the intolerance against Christians in Pakistan, something he has doggedly fought against over the past few years.
If you would like to help support Mr. Gill and his family at this critical time, please go to http://leadfamily.blogspot.ca/p/donation.html to make a donation. Please also pray for their safety in their new country.
Photo captions: 1) Sardar Mushtaq Gill speaking to the Pakistani media before he fled the country. 2) Mumtaz Qadri following his arrest for murder. 3) Asia Bibi with two of her daughters before her arrest. 4) Dan Wooding.
Dan Wooding at KWVE useAbout the writer: Dan Wooding, 76, is an award-winning winning author, broadcaster and journalist who was born in Nigeria of British missionary parents, Alfred and Anne Wooding, who then worked with the Sudan Interior Mission, now known as SIM. He now lives in Southern California with his wife Norma, to whom he has been married for more than 53 years. They have two sons, Andrew and Peter, and six grandchildren who all live in the UK. Dan is the founder and international director of the ASSIST (Aid to Special Saints in Strategic Times) and the ASSIST News Service (ANS), and is also the author of some 45 books. He also has one weekly radio show and two TV shows all based in Southern California.
** You may republish this or any of our ANS stories with attribution to the ASSIST News Service (www.assistnews.net). Please tell your friends and colleagues that they can receive a complimentary subscription to ANS by going to the above website and signing up there.
SALT LAKE CITY, Utah, January 6, 2017 (LifeSiteNews) - A state lawmaker believes that those who promote pornography to children and teens should be punished by society.
Utah state Senator Todd Weiler says pornographers know that their products harm users, spouses, family, and even careers, and yet they put greed above the well-being of people, society, and even American culture. In March 2016, he successfully proposed a resolution describing pornography as a "public health hazard."
A Christian group in Nepal lobbying the government to establish rights for believers says Christians face major hardships in the Hindu-majority nation, such as not being allowed to share the Gospel and even being barred from burying their dead.
A Turkish court denied an initial appeal last week for the release of Rev. Andrew Brunson, an American Protestant pastor kept under arrest for the past three months over alleged links to a terrorist organisation.
In the wake of the 29 Dec. refusal to release Brunson, his lawyer confirmed to World Watch Monitor that while appeals and the government's official investigation into the allegations against the pastor are continuing, no formal case has yet been opened against him.
LAHORE, PAKISTAN (ANS – January 3, 2017) -- A Christmas Day message calling for prayers for those charged under Pakistan’s controversial blasphemy laws has led to death threats against the son of a provincial governor, killed five years ago for criticizing the same laws.
One of four men detained in Sudan since December 2015 has been released, but three others continue to face charges which could lead to the death penalty or life imprisonment if found guilty.
Kuwa Shamal, a Sudanese church leader, was released after a hearing in Khartoum yesterday (2 Jan.), during which the judge concluded that there was insufficient evidence to charge him. However, the judge ruled there was sufficient evidence to proceed with the trials of fellow Sudan Church of Christ leader Hassan Taour, Darfuri graduate Abdulmonem Abdumawla and Czech aid worker Petr Jašek.
His father was murdered after he had spoken up for Asia Bibi and against Pakistan’s controversial blasphemy laws
By Dan Wooding, Founder of ASSIST News Service
Shan Taseer portraitLAHORE, PAKISTAN (ANS - December 31, 2016) – First Shaan Taseer lost his father, Punjab governor, Salman Taseer, who was killed in a shocking 2011 assassination by his personal bodyguard, and now Shaan has been booked for alleged “hate speech” following his Christmas message
Christians continue to be the most persecuted believers in the world with over 90,000 followers of Christ being killed in the last year, according to prominent Italian sociologist and author Massimo Introvigne.
LONDON, UK (ANS - December 29, 2016) -- Iraqi church leaders in Britain have welcomed a radio message by Prince Charles, the future King of England highlighting the persecution of religious minorities, but said that it must be followed by steps by Western governments to protect them.
Prince Charles, the Prince of Wales, whose pre-recorded message on UK BBC Radio 4's "Thought for The Day" slot was broadcast on Thursday, December 22, 2016, said that attacks on many minority faiths around the world were increasing, "and in some countries even more insidious forms of extremism have recently surfaced, which aim to eliminate all types of religious diversity."
MIDDLE EAST (ANS -December 26, 2016) - For around 1,500 years, bells have rung out at Christmastime from Assyrian churches throughout the Middle East -- and now they have again.
This joyous celebration of the birth of Christ was made possible in Iraq and Syria, because Christians were busy restoring their churches vandalized by Islamic State, and the triumphant ringing of the bells on Christmas Day was, for them, a symbolic gesture of hope for the future.
However, Christmas this year was both bitter than sweet for many of the Assyrians with constant reminders of sorrow and loss, and the still-present threat from followers of extremist Islam.
BOGOLYUBOVO, RUSSIA, December 22, 2016 (LifeSiteNews) - Orthodox Christians in the village of Bogolyubovo, which translates to "Lovers of God," successfully fought a proposed condom factory near the village monastery and school.
Even though locals need jobs, crowds reported to be as large as 120 gathered with icons and signs defending the holy site and demanding factory owner Bergus stop plans to make condoms in their village.
Signs read, "No condom manufacturing on a holy site," and, "Mother of God, save us from desecration!"
Iraqi church leaders in Britain have welcomed a radio message by Prince Charles, the future King of England highlighting the persecution of religious minorities, but said that it must be followed by steps by Western governments to protect them. Prince Charles, whose pre-recorded message on UK BBC Radio 4's 'Thought for The Day' slot was broadcast this morning (22 Dec), said that attacks on many minority faiths around the world were increasing, "and in some countries even more insidious forms of extremism have recently surfaced, which aim to eliminate all types of religious diversity." He said a Jesuit in Syria recently told him Christianity could disappear from Iraq, where Christians and other minorities have been ruthlessly targeted by Sunni and Shia militias for more than a decade, within five years.
Christians in the south of Nigeria are failing to help their persecuted compatriots in the north, according to a veteran humanitarian campaigner.
British peer, Baroness Caroline Cox, who has made numerous aid missions to the country, including a recent trip, told World Watch Monitor: "My personal view is that many of those churches are immensely wealthy and I would hope they could do more to help those who are suffering in the north, particularly the internally displaced people who are left."
ANKARA, TURKEY (ANS, Dec. 21, 2016) -- According to the Assyrian International News Agency (AINA) www.aina.org, the Armenian genocide of 1915 has been well documented.
Much less is known, however, about the Turkish genocide of the Assyrian (also known as Chaldean and Syriac) people, which occurred simultaneously in their ancient homelands in and around ancient Mesopotamia -- now Turkey, Iran and Iraq.
Christians in Manipur, north-east India, have been warned off celebrating Christmas, sources told World Watch Monitor. The threats were made after vandals attacked Manipur Baptist Church on 17 Dec. The men and women pelted the church with stones, broke windows and damaged a gate and the church sign. They then posted a sign that said: "No one is allowed to worship and celebrate Christmas without prior permission". No casualties were reported after the attack.
PUNJAB PROVINCE, PAKISTAN (ANS December 20, 2016) - Asia Bibi, the Pakistani Christian mother-of-five who was found guilty in 2010 of blasphemy for standing up for Jesus, and sentenced to death, faces another lonely Christmas in her "death row" cell in Punjab Province.
While many of us will be enjoying fellowship, food and presents on Christmas Day, she will spend it in solitary confinement in an 8-by-10-foot cell without windows, and will even have to cook her own Christmas meal because of fears that others may try to poison her food.
Asia Bibi will again be away from her husband, Ashiq Masih, and her children, and will wonder what the New Year has in store for her.