Catching Our Eye

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  • India: fines for saying 'Christian' prayers

    Published: Feb. 8, 2016

    Four people have received fines for practicing Christianity from a village council in the central Indian state of Madhya Pradesh.

    One of the men, Shankar Singh, told UCA News that they were fined 5,000 rupees (US$75) each.

    The arrests followed accusations by a Hindu group that the people at the gathering were attempting to convert to Christianity.

    The state, run by the pro-Hindu Bharatiya Janata Party, has an anti-conversion law that criminalizes conversion if done without the permission of government authorities.

    A Christian advocacy group recently said that attacks on Christians were reported on an almost daily basis in 2015.

  • Burkina Faso: Australian Christian woman freed

    Published: Feb. 8, 2016

    Islamic militants have freed an Australian woman who was kidnapped with her husband last month in Burkina Faso, reports the BBC.

    Jocelyn Elliott and her husband Ken, a medical doctor, were snatched on Jan. 15 by al Qaeda in the Islamic Maghreb (AQIM) from Djibo near the border with Mali.

    The couple, who are in their 80s, were taken on the same day that AQIM killed 29 in the capital, Ouagadougou, including six Canadian Christians doing humanitarian work and a US missionary.

    The release of Mrs Elliott into Niger was revealed by the country's president, Issoufou Mahamadou, on Feb. 6.

    Mrs Elliott thanked the people of Burkina Faso for their support and said "I'd lke to be reunited with my husband soon so we can return to Djibo and continue our work there".

    Residents of Djibo have been running a social media campaign calling for the release of the couple who have provided medical services in the town since the 1970s.

  • Roman, Russian patriarchs to meet in Cuba

    Published: Feb. 5, 2016

    The first-ever meeting of the Roman pontiff and the head of the Russian Orthodox Church is scheduled for 12 Feb. in Cuba, both churches have announced. RT reports that the subject of their conversation will be "persecution of Christians in the modern world."

    Patriarch of Moscow and All Russia Kirill is the only patriarch of the Eastern Orthodox churches whom the Roman Pontiff Francis has not yet met. Kirill has planned a visit to Cuba, and Francis will stop there during his travel to a planned visit to Mexico.

    “The situation in the Middle East, in northern and central Africa and in some other regions where extremists are perpetrating genocide of Christians, requires immediate action and even closer cooperation between Christian churches," Metropolitan Hilarion, foreign relations chief for the Orthodox Church, was quoted by RT as saying.

  • Egypt returns confiscated SAT-7 equipment

    Published: Feb. 5, 2016

    Egyptian authorities have returned all the equipment they had earlier confiscated from SAT-7 local offices, the Christian broadcaster said earlier this week (Feb.2).

    This comes more than three months after the country’s censorship police raided the channel’s Cairo offices, seizing computers and production equipment.

    On October 10, 2015, the authorities came to the SAT-7 Cairo offices with a search warrant. Country director Farid Samir was briefly detained on charges of operating a satellite TV channel “without the necessary licenses.”

    The returned equipment on Jan. 28 signals a return to full production in Arabic.
    “The work of the Egypt team has been limited since the raid,” a SAT-7 statement said. “However, the ARABIC and KIDS channels have been able to screen live programs from SAT-7’s Lebanon studio as well as programmes produced by partners.”

    While SAT-7 is still not clear about the legal nature of the prior action by the Egyptian authorities, the returned equipment suggests charges against the leading Christian broadcaster could soon be dropped.

    First launched in 1996, SAT-7 has pioneered work in the field of Arabic Christian media, becoming a household name among many Christians in the region. It has since expanded to include channels in both Farsi and Turkish.

  • Indian priest in critical condition after attack

    Published: Feb. 4, 2016

    An Indian priest is in a critical condition in hospital, after he and three lay officials were attacked by a mob in the southern state of Tamil Nadu, reports UCAN.

    Fr. Jose Kannumkuzhy and the laymen were attacked by a group of around 35 men, as they waited in a car outside a police station.

    Meanwhile, a Hindu man was beaten in the northern state of Uttar Pradesh following rumours that he had converted to Christianity.

    Awadesh Savita, 35, was attacked by around 20 men, who made a barber shave his head, as well as half of his moustache and one eyebrow, reports UCAN. The police have arrested 20 suspects and promised to make more arrests.

    His wife denied that they had converted. The rumours began after they took their seven-year-old son to a Christian hospital. Conversion is not illegal in India, but anti-conversion laws exist in a handful of Indian states to guard against “forced conversions”. These laws are often abused by hardline Hindus, who accuse Christians of attempting to convert Hindus by force.

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