Pakistan: Islamic university opens Christian chapel – a first

Religious minorities in Pakistan have to declare their religion when applying for identification papers or for government jobs making them "even more vulnerable" activists say. (Photo: World Watch Monitor)
For the first time ever, an Islamic university in Pakistan has opened a Christian chapel. The church of St. Mary is located in the atrium of the Agriculture University of Faisalabad, Pakistan’s third-most populous city, and was built following an initiative of the city’s former vicar general, reports AsiaNews. The church contributed . . . Read More

Sri Lanka: Facebook told to block religious hate speech

A young girl in Colombo looks at her mobile phone while Sri Lanka's civil society has called on Facebook to block hate speech. (Photo: World Watch Monitor)
Civil society groups in Sri Lanka have asked Facebook to do more to prevent hate speech, including comments that discriminate on religious lines, following recent anti-Muslim riots. “There was a post in the Sinhala [Sri Lanka’s largest ethnic group] language on Facebook for six days, which mentioned ‘killing all Muslims, . . . Read More

China: clampdown reaches Christians in Henan

China: clampdown reaches Christians in Henan
Local authorities in China’s east-central Henan Province have removed a number of crosses from churches closed a church-run kindergarten and asked Christian residents in one city to register. The “two or three” crosses that have been forcibly removed from churches were located in Yichuan county, and were taken down because . . . Read More

Palestinian father who lost daughter: ‘Don’t be pro-Palestinian or pro-Israel, be pro-justice’

George Saadeh is headmaster of a school where children are taught to "have respect for those who think differently than you". (Photo: Open Doors International)
A Palestinian Christian father whose 12-year-old daughter was killed by Israeli soldiers has spoken about the ongoing conflict and his decision to forgive the soldiers who shot her, just over 15 years ago. Violence erupted once again at the weekend along the Israeli border with Gaza, leaving at least 16 . . . Read More

Saudi school textbooks still ‘promote hatred toward religious minorities’ – USCIRF

A school complex in Medina, Saudi Arabia. (Photo by Ikhlasul Amal via Flickr; CC 2.0)
School textbooks in Saudi Arabia still include content “promoting violence and hatred toward religious minorities and others”, according to the United States Commission on International Religious Freedom (USCIRF). Even though the Saudi government has been “engaged in textbook reform for the last 15 years”, a new study by USCIRF found . . . Read More

104 Dapchi girls back home, but fate of Christian unknown

(From left) Zahra Bukar, 13, Fatima Abdu, 14, Fatima Abdulkarim, 15 and Yagana Mustapha, 15, were released by Boko Haram after they were abducted from their school in Dapchi, in February 2018. (Photo: AMINU ABUBAKAR/AFP/Getty Images)
The more than 100 schoolgirls released four days ago by Boko Haram in northeast Nigeria were returned to their families yesterday (25 March), the BBC reports. Immediately after their release they were flown to the capital, Abuja, for medical and security screening, and to meet with President Muhammadu Buhari. Meanwhile . . . Read More

Saudi Arabia to ban ‘extremist ideologies’ from schools and universities

Sign portraying Saudi King Salman and Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman, who wants to be known as a reformist, in the capital Riyad. (Photo: World Watch Monitor)
Saudi Arabia has pledged to ban the “extremist ideologies” espoused by the Muslim Brotherhood from school curricula and books, and to dismiss staff who support the group’s views. In a statement released on Tuesday (20 March), the Minister of Education, Ahmed bin Mohammed al-Isa, said the ministry is working to . . . Read More

Coptic teacher charged with contempt of religion for questions about Muhammad

Coptic teacher charged with contempt of religion for questions about Muhammad
A Coptic teacher at an Egyptian state school has been charged with contempt of religion after including wordplays in a set of questions about Islam’s prophet, Muhammad. Magdy Farag Samir, 49, a teacher of social studies at Barot Preparatory School for Girls in Beni Suef Governorate, asked his students: “Where . . . Read More

North Korean explains growing up under Kim dynasty, and how his perception of Christianity changed

North Korean explains growing up under Kim dynasty, and how his perception of Christianity changed
Every year, for the birthdays of North Korea’s Kim dynasty founder, Kim Il-sung, and his son and successor, Kim Jong-il, John Choi* would receive a large pack of sweets from his parents. So would all his primary-school peers. However, before unpacking his present, John was told to follow the ritual . . . Read More