Catching Our Eye

This is the place where we post news updates, quick takes, and links to items of interest around the web. Bookmark this page and visit regularly to see what's Catching Our Eye.

  • Myanmar police accused of raping Christian, 15

    Two policemen have allegedly raped a 15-year-old girl from Myanmar's Chin state - home to the majority of the country's Christians.

    The allegations were made by the girl's father. He filed a report at the local police station stating that two officers had taken her away on a motorbike and raped her after they falsely claimed that she had been called to be with her sister who was ill.

    Before the report was submitted the two officers are said to have offered 3,000,000 kyats [about 900 US dollars] to the girl's parents in an attempt to settle the case.

    Earlier this year a report by the Kachin Women's Association of Thailand claimed that the military in Myanmar is using rape as a weapon of war. The report said that government forces in Myanmar had destroyed 66 churches in Chin State. Hkanhpa Sadan, the Joint Secretary of the Kachin National Organisation, told a gathering in London in March that the government 'want us to be Burman, to be Budhist and to follow their orders'. The mainly Christian Kachin are seeking autonomy within Myanmar, and say they are attacked for being both separatist and Christian.

  • No decision on Malay Christian's right to 'Allah'

    Malaysia’s (highest) Court of Appeal, which today (23 April) heard an appeal by a Christian for the right to use the word ‘Allah’ for God, has not been able to agree a decision. Its three judges did not give a reason for their delayed judgment.

    Jill Ireland’s lawyer argued that she has a right under the Constitution to practise her freedom of religion. She is from Sarawak, East Malaysia which is 42 per cent Christian: in her Malay language, ‘Allah’ has been used by Christians for over 100 years.

    Ireland has been fighting the Malay government after it confiscated from her eight CDs in 2008. Last month she won her case against the capital Kuala Lumpur's Islamic Council being allowed to have its say in her case.

    It has been going through the courts at the same time as a much more high-profile case over the right of the ‘Herald’ Catholic weekly paper to use the word ‘Allah’ for ‘God’.

    However, its editor, Rev. Lawrence Andrew lost a seven-year legal battle on Jan. 21, when the Federal Court finally ruled he can no longer call God ‘Allah’ in his publication. In that ruling, the Federal Court agreed with the government that the use of ‘Allah’ in the Herald would confuse Muslim Malays and therefore adversely promote the Christian faith among them.

  • Algerian in France 'planned to attack church(es)'

    A 24-year-old Algerian, arrested in south-east Paris for possessing handguns, other weapons and bulletproof vests, told police he was planning to attack "one or more churches". 

    The French Interior Minister said the information technology student had previously come to the attention of the French authorities as possibly wanting to go to Syria.

    Police had made checks on him in 2014 and 2015 without finding anything that would warrant further investigation.

    In Algeria, the small but growing Christian population have felt threatened by Islamist militants after a French tourist was killed there in October 2014. 

    Source: Reuters

  • Ethiopians executed in Libya identified

    At least two of the 30 or so Ethiopians killed by Islamic State in Libya on Sunday 19 April have been identified by their families in Adis Ababa. The families confirmed to AP that the two, Eyasu Yikunoamlak and Balcha Belete, left Ethiopia two months ago, and had been intending to try to migrate to Europe.

    An analyst who works with persecuted Christians worldwide says it may not be too much speculation to suggest that, considering the current situation in Libya and the prevalence of illegal trafficking via the Mediterranean, most of the migrants who’ve gone to work in Libya are in transit.

  • 'IS is deeply evil' - Archbishop of Canterbury

    The Archbishop of Canterbury was on a ‘visit of condolence’ to Egypt for its 20 Christians (one was from Ghana), beheaded by IS just before Easter, when news of the murdered Ethiopians came through. During his visit he described the treatment of Christians in Egypt as “the worst since the 13th century” and said that “IS is deeply evil, even to its own supporters”.

    He also said of the drowned migrants, some of whom were also Ethiopians, “when people are drowning in the Mediterranean, the need, the misery that has driven them out of their own countries is so extreme, so appalling that Europe as a whole must rise up and seek to do what’s right.

    “It will be demanding and that’s why the burden must be spread across the continent and not taken by just one country or one area.”

The Monitor in Your Inbox

Subscribe to news by email and RSS. Choose the countries of your interest.