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Pakistani Christian couple acquitted of blasphemy after 7 years on death row

Shagufta Kausar and Shafqat Emmanuel faced execution for allegedly sending ‘blasphemous’ texts to a mosque cleric, from a phone containing a sim registered in Shagufta’s name. The couple have consistently denied all allegations and believe Shagufta’s National Identity Card was purposely misused. Imprisoned since 2013, the couple were convicted and sentenced to death in April 2014. Their appeal was due to be heard in April 2020, six years after they
were sentenced, but it was postponed due to the COVID-19 outbreak. At their last two hearings in 2021, the judges left the court as they were due to hear the appeal against their death sentences,
The Pakistani woman who replaced Christian Asia Bibi in her prison cell on death row, a mother of 4, Shaguftah Kausar, has – after a dozen delays since April 2020 due to COVID-19 – been acquitted from the death penalty by Lahore High court. Kausar, with her disabled husband Shafqat . . . Read More

Boko Haram ‘flies flag 2 hours from Abuja’ warned Governor, as Nigerian captive teen turns 18

Leah Sharibu was 14 when she was abducted, Feb 19, 2018
Today (14 May), Leah Sharibu is 18 years old; it’s her fourth birthday as the captive of Islamic State West Africa Province (ISWAP). Nigerian Leah is the girl who defied one of the most globally well-known terrorist groups, a splinter group of Boko Haram. The then-14 year old was among . . . Read More

Death threats, by Islamic State in Sinai, against Egyptian Copt sons who mourn dad

Nabil Habashi Salama, taken by unseen watchers; he was 'executed' by ISIS, March 2021
Fears that ‘Islamic State’ once again threatens the lives of some of the Middle East’s largest Christian population have emerged again, after the radical militant group killed an Egyptian Coptic businessman who’d funded the construction of the only church in his north Sinai village. The death of 62 year old . . . Read More

Malaysian woman wins 13 year fight for right to call God ‘Allah’

A Malaysian woman’s campaign for Christians’ right to use the word “Allah” for “God” has succeeded after almost 13 years of court hearings and delays. Jill Ireland Lawrence Bill has been campaigning for the right to use the word ever since immigration officials at a Kuala Lumpur airport seized eight . . . Read More

COVID-19 exacerbates discrimination against minority Christians globally

Christian prays during COVID-19, Cairo
• Christians refused coronavirus aid in countries from India to Yemen to West Africa • COVID-19 legitimises increased surveillance and restrictions by authoritarian governments • Organised criminal groups use virus as means to extend their control, including over churches • Nationalism driven by majority religious identity rises in countries such . . . Read More

Church surveillance, COVID-19 controls affect China’s Christians – 1 of 5 global trends

Chinese woman, phone in hand, 2020
                  The emergency that dominated the globe during the past year — the novel coronavirus — also dominated the countries of the World Watch List published by Open Doors International today (Jan 13) and the lives of the estimated 340 million Christians . . . Read More

Burkina Faso: Fulani pastor brings hope to stigmatised communities

A primary schoolboy walks to school in Dori, northeastern Burkina Faso. (Getty Photo)
The disproportionate presence of ethnic Fulani among Islamist militants wreaking havoc in the Sahel and West Africa has led to a stigmatisation of the Fulani generally, says a Protestant pastor from Burkina Faso. In April security forces went into Djibo, a town in the northern part of Burkina Faso and . . . Read More

Swiss woman, hostage almost 5 years, killed by Islamist extremists in Mali

Beatrice Stockli settled in Timbuktu in 2000 and was first kidnapped for 10 days in 2012
A Swiss missionary Beatrice Stockli – kidnapped from Timbuktu in northern Mali in January 2016 – was killed only weeks before other hostages were freed by Islamist extremists, in an apparent prisoner-hostage swap negotiated by the new transitional government in Mali. News of her execution came from Sophie Petronin, a . . . Read More