Saudi Arabia is modernising, but will this mean greater freedom for religious minorities?

Saudi Arabia is modernising, but will this mean greater freedom for religious minorities?
The political landscape in the strict Islamic Kingdom of Saudi Arabia is changing, and quickly. A charismatic crown prince seems determined to modernise his country and even speaks of a shift towards a more “moderate” Islam. But will the changes taking place in Saudi also ease the situation for members . . . Read More

Indonesia church attacker acted alone, police say

Altar of the Stasi Kinali Catholic Church, West-Sumatra, Indonesia, which was attacked in May 2014. (Photo: World Watch Monitor)
The man accused of injuring four people in an attack on an Indonesian church on Sunday morning (11 February) acted alone and obtained the weapon – a one-metre-long sword – in exchange for his mobile phone, police say. The suspect, a 23-year-old student identified as Suliyono from Bayuwangi in East . . . Read More

US agency accuses Russia of abusing anti-extremism laws

US agency accuses Russia of abusing anti-extremism laws
Russia’s anti-extremism laws are being used to crack down on peaceful religious minorities such as Protestants, Jehovah’s Witnesses and Hare Krishnas, the top US religious-freedom watchdog says. A report commissioned by the US Commission on International Religious Freedom (USCIRF) found that “vague and problematic definitions of ‘extremism’ in Russian law . . . Read More

Malaysia’s reputation as moderate Muslim nation hangs by a thread

Mosque in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia
Malaysia is seen by most Western countries as one of the moderate Muslim nations, an ally to be cultivated and befriended in the battle against militant Islam. The country’s Prime Minister, Najib Razak, was among one of the leaders to visit US President Donald Trump in his first year of . . . Read More

Sudanese church leaders back in court

Sudanese church leaders back in court
There have been new developments in two ongoing court cases against Sudan’s two main church denominations. On 5 February, a court fined seven leaders from the Sudan Presbyterian Evangelical Church (SPEC) for their “objection to the authorities”. Yohanna Tia, a church elder, was fined 5,000 Sudanese Pounds ($275). Rev. Dawoud . . . Read More

Bomb scare intimidates another church in Turkey

Trabzon church in a 2007 photo (World Watch Monitor)
Turkish police were called to Trabzon’s Santa Maria Catholic Church on Sunday morning (4 February) to examine a smouldering device spotted in the garden by alarmed church staff. After discovering a partially burned homemade pipe bomb, which had failed to explode, local authorities promptly checked the church’s security camera footage. . . . Read More

Egypt Minister: Churches have right to protection ‘Islam guarantees’

Entrance to a Coptic Church in Egypt. (Photo: World Watch Monitor)
Egypt’s Minister of Religious Affairs, Mokhtar Gomaa, has said that churches, as well as mosques, have the legal right to be protected. He said this in response to a controversy involving Sheikh Abdullah Roshdy, who in a TV show said Muslims should not “congratulate non-Muslims on their religious occasions that . . . Read More