Iraq: Five years after IS occupied Mosul, returnees live in fear

Iraq: Five years after IS occupied Mosul, returnees live in fear
The Islamic State’s three-year occupation of the northern Iraqi city of Mosul and its surrounding villages ended nearly two years ago, yet the city and its diminished number of Christian residents remain vulnerable.   Last month the Iraqi government announced it would arm residents of 50 villages around Mosul, Iraq’s second-largest city, . . . Read More

Iranian church closed, cross torn down

The cross was removed from the church's tower. (Photo: Article 18)
An Assyrian church in northwestern Iran has been closed down and the cross removed from its tower, reports advocacy organisation Article 18. A “large number” of agents from Iran’s Ministry of Intelligence and EIKO, an organisation presided over by the Supreme Leader, reportedly stormed the 100-year-old-church on 9 May, changed . . . Read More

Sri Lankan Christians grapple with aftermath of Easter bombings amid fears of fresh attacks

Sri Lankan Arasaratnam Verl is deep in mourning. His son Jackson (13) and sister Verlini (36) were killed instantly when a bomb exploded in the evangelical Zion Church in the eastern city of Batticaloa on Easter Sunday morning, 21 April. Verlini’s husband Ranjith (39), an engineer and Blackbelt in karate, . . . Read More

Ten years after fake blasphemy charge, Pakistani Asia Bibi reunited with family

Asia Bibi is finally free, almost one decade after she was first imprisoned. (Photo: World Watch Monitor)
Asia Bibi’s daughter Eicham was 9 when she saw her mum badly beaten and in front of a mob charged with “blasphemy” against the Prophet Muhammad. For over 9 years, Eicham has visited her on death row in Pakistan. Finally, today, now a young woman at 18, Eicham and her . . . Read More

‘In context of gender justice, women’s right to freedom of religion pretty much ignored’

Anurima Bhargava (USCIRF) and Helene Fisher (Open Doors) at UN NGO Committee on Freedom of Religion or Belief CSW side event, 14 March, 2019
She is a woman who can be identified only as “Z”, for her security. She is a Christian in India, a country that is overwhelmingly Hindu. And she is a lawyer defending women and youth from exploitation by landlords and employers, so she was pleased when she got the opportunity . . . Read More

‘Situation for India’s religious minorities is at tipping point’ – report

The report shows that since Narendra Modi’s Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) came to power in 2014, the number of violent acts against India's religious minorities have increased (Photo: World Watch Monitor)
A report by a religious freedom watchdog shows a dramatic increase in the number of attacks on Christians and Muslims in India in the last four years and “the situation … is at a tipping point”. The number of reported incidents in the first three months of 2018 was greater . . . Read More

Vietnamese government urged to cease persecution of religious minorities ahead of UN review

Vietnamese human rights lawyer Nguyen Van Dai, 48, was sentenced to 15 years in jail in April. (Photo: -/AFP/Getty Images)
Religious freedom advocates have called on the Vietnamese government to cease persecution of Christians and members of other religious minorities, including torture. Their calls come ahead of the UN Review of the country’s human rights records in Geneva today, 22 January. Non-governmental organisations said in their submission to the UN . . . Read More