Christian women at double risk of persecution – because of gender as well as religion

Chibok girls. Two of them were abducted by Boko Haram in 2014. (Photo: World Watch Monitor)
For the first time ever, the persecution of women as it differs to that of men has been examined by the analysts of the 2018 World Watch List. The list, compiled by Open Doors International, researches over 50 countries where it is most difficult for Christians to live. The resulting Gender . . . Read More

Pope and Patriarch ‘feared nuclear war could erupt over Syria’

Flag of Syria is waving as sign of victory over the destroyed heavily damaged city of Aleppo. (Photo: World Watch Monitor)
The historic meeting between the heads of the Catholic and Orthodox Churches took place not only out of shared concern for Middle Eastern Christians, but to try to avert confrontation between nuclear powers in Syria, according to the Russian Orthodox Patriarch. When Patriarch Kirill met Pope Francis in 2016 it . . . 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

Freedom of thought ‘regressing on a global scale’

There are many Pakistani Christian women like Aasiya Noreen who live in fear of the Blasphemy law in their country and the (potential of) abuse. (Photo: World Watch Monitor)
The 2017 Freedom of Thought Report, presented yesterday (5 December), should be alarming “to all who care about freedom of thought and expression”, as it shows “a pattern of regression on a global scale”, says its editor, Bob Churchill. The report, published by the International Humanist and Ethical Union (IHEU) . . . Read More

Young refugees ‘urgently need access to education’

The new Catholic University of Erbil offers displaced young people an opportunity to continue their education.
At the start of the 10th session of the UN Forum on Minority Issues, which this year focuses on ‘minority youth’, human rights advocate Ewelina Ochab draws attention to the obstacles displaced young people face in accessing education. Ochab describes meeting Iraqi Christian youth and children in Jordan. Their families . . . Read More

More than 80 countries ‘favour’ one religion over others – Pew Research Center

More than 80 countries ‘favour’ one religion over others – Pew Research Center
Over 80 countries favour a specific religion, either officially as a state religion or tacitly through special treatment, according to a new report by the US-based Pew Research Center. Islam is the most common state religion – 27 countries have it as their official religion, including 16 of the 20 . . . Read More

Half of Syria and Iraq’s Christians have left since 2011, says report

Half of Syria and Iraq’s Christians have left since 2011, says report
Three years to the day since the Islamic State group took control of the Iraqi city of Mosul, a new report estimates that – of their Christian populations – 50% have left Iraq since 2006, while 80% have emigrated from Syria since the start of its civil war in 2011. The arrival of IS was only . . . Read More

Iraqi bishops seek $262m for post-IS ‘Marshall Plan’

Iraqi bishops seek $262m for post-IS ‘Marshall Plan’
Church leaders in northern Iraq are launching an ambitious US$262 million “Marshall Plan” for the reconstruction of Christian-majority villages devastated by the occupation of Islamic State (IS) jihadists – but knowing they could be subjected to attacks while they implement it. The ecumenical Bishops’ Emergency Committee (BEC) hopes to raise the . . . Read More