Pakistani Christian couple acquitted of blasphemy after 7 years on death row

Shagufta Kausar and Shafqat Emmanuel faced execution for allegedly sending ‘blasphemous’ texts to a mosque cleric, from a phone containing a sim registered in Shagufta’s name. The couple have consistently denied all allegations and believe Shagufta’s National Identity Card was purposely misused. Imprisoned since 2013, the couple were convicted and sentenced to death in April 2014. Their appeal was due to be heard in April 2020, six years after they
were sentenced, but it was postponed due to the COVID-19 outbreak. At their last two hearings in 2021, the judges left the court as they were due to hear the appeal against their death sentences,
The Pakistani woman who replaced Christian Asia Bibi in her prison cell on death row, a mother of 4, Shaguftah Kausar, has – after a dozen delays since April 2020 due to COVID-19 – been acquitted from the death penalty by Lahore High court. Kausar, with her disabled husband Shafqat . . . Read More

COVID-19 exacerbates discrimination against minority Christians globally

Christian prays during COVID-19, Cairo
• Christians refused coronavirus aid in countries from India to Yemen to West Africa • COVID-19 legitimises increased surveillance and restrictions by authoritarian governments • Organised criminal groups use virus as means to extend their control, including over churches • Nationalism driven by majority religious identity rises in countries such . . . Read More

Church surveillance, COVID-19 controls affect China’s Christians – 1 of 5 global trends

Chinese woman, phone in hand, 2020
                  The emergency that dominated the globe during the past year — the novel coronavirus — also dominated the countries of the World Watch List published by Open Doors International today (Jan 13) and the lives of the estimated 340 million Christians . . . Read More

Nigerian girl, 17, escapes month in locked room after abduction and forcible conversion to Islam

According to the UN, over 4,000 women and girls have been abducted by Boko Haram alone in northeast Nigeria. (Photo: World Watch Monitor)
Sadiya Amos, aged 17, went missing from north central Kaduna in northern Nigeria on the night of 5th January. On 7th January, some men came to force her father Amos Chindo to attend a Sharia court in Anchau (in Kubau) without telling him what offence he had committed or even . . . Read More

UN Sec. General’s “biggest data gap in the world” affects persecuted Christian women

Women to women conference in Ethiopia, February 2018.
The UN Secretary-General last week called it ‘the biggest data gap in the world…what UK writer Caroline Criado Perez calls “default man” thinking: the unquestioned assumption that men are standard, and women the exception. Very often, women are not counted, and their experiences don’t count”. And this lack of ‘counting’ . . . Read More

From sub-Saharan Africa to China, Christians experience ‘high’ levels of persecution

Poster memorials and crosses for Christians who died in Colombo, Sri Lanka, Easter Sunday, 2019
• In Sri Lanka on Easter Sunday more than 250 people, 45 of them children, were killed in attacks on three churches and hotels; more than 500 people were injured. • Bombs killed 20 at a Catholic church in Jolo in the southern Philippines. • In China, state-sanctioned and ‘underground’ . . . Read More