Brunson’s trial highlights Turkey’s ‘hostage diplomacy’ tactic

Brunson’s trial highlights Turkey’s ‘hostage diplomacy’ tactic
On the eve of jailed US pastor Andrew Brunson’s second court hearing in Turkey, growing international comment has focused on Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan’s transparent “hostage diplomacy” tactic, one of several issues seriously souring his nation’s relations with the United States. The upcoming 7 May hearing near Turkey’s third-largest . . . Read More

North Korea: US citizens set for release ahead of Trump-Kim talks

The three Americans have been detained on charges ranging from committing "hostile acts" against the regime to spying for a foreign country. (Photo: World Watch Monitor)
Three American citizens detained in North Korea seem set to be released ahead of a meeting between the two countries’ leaders next month. The BBC reported that the three men had been “relocated to a Pyongyang hotel and are receiving good food and medical care”. US President Donald Trump tweeted . . . Read More

Trump tells Buhari: ‘We cannot allow Christians to be murdered’

Trump tells Buhari: ‘We cannot allow Christians to be murdered’
US President Donald Trump decried the killings of Christians in Nigeria as he met with the country’s president, Muhammadu Buhari, in Washington yesterday (30 April). Nigeria has been plagued by violence attributed to Fulani herdsmen in the Middle Belt and northeast. Benue state has been particularly affected, with attacks happening . . . Read More

Erdogan demands Gulen extradition for US pastor’s release

Erdogan demands Gulen extradition for US pastor’s release
Responding over the weekend to public pressure from both US President Donald Trump and 66 members of the US Senate, Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan repeated his demand that US-based Turkish cleric Fethullah Gülen must be extradited back to Turkey if Washington expects Ankara to release jailed US pastor Andrew . . . 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

Iran protests saw people ‘turn their backs on political Islam’

Ayatollah Khomeini spoke about human rights and religious freedom when he returned to Iran 40 years ago. (Photo: World Watch Monitor)
Iranians are challenging the legitimacy of the Islamic Republic because corruption and inequality undermine its ideals, a human rights activist has claimed. In an interview with World Watch Monitor, Mansour Borji, Iranian-born advocacy director of UK-based human rights charity Article 18, said the street protests that spread across the country . . . Read More

A Middle Eastern Christian’s view of Pence’s agenda

A Middle Eastern Christian’s view of Pence’s agenda
A Jordanian Christian trauma counsellor has urged US Vice President Mike Pence to recognise Palestinian statehood to make good his pledge to help Christians in the Middle East. Issam Smeir, who has worked with refugees in the Middle East and in the US, wrote a first-person piece for the Washington . . . Read More

Pence’s plans to help Middle East Christians overshadowed by political storm

NASA HQ PHOTO
US Vice President Mike Pence’s postponed trip to the Middle East goes ahead this weekend amid myriad tensions and a fast-shifting diplomatic landscape. Pence’s trip is a shortened version of the one planned for last month, which was abruptly cancelled when protests erupted at President Donald Trump’s recognition of Jerusalem . . . Read More

Could Pakistan’s place on US ‘Watch List’ create more problems for minorities?

Could Pakistan’s place on US ‘Watch List’ create more problems for minorities?
The US State Department last week placed Pakistan on a ‘Special Watch List’ for “severe violations of religious freedom”. The US did not, however, go as far as adding it to its ten ‘Countries of Particular Concern’* – for countries where “governments have engaged in or tolerated systematic, ongoing, and . . . Read More

Trump’s Jerusalem move rejected by Arab Christian leaders, who fear backlash

Trump’s Jerusalem move rejected by Arab Christian leaders, who fear backlash
Church leaders in the Middle East have voiced grave concerns at US President Donald Trump’s announcement that the US will recognise Jerusalem as Israel’s capital city and move its embassy from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem. There are an estimated 200,000 Christians in the Holy Land, of whom around 50,000 live . . . Read More