New cardinal warns of rise of ‘extremist Islam’ in Madagascar

Mosque in Diego Suarez, in the far north of Madagascar. (Photo: Leonora Ellie Enking, via Flickr)
One of Pope Francis’s new cardinals has warned of the rise of “extremist Islam” in the southern African island nation of Madagascar. “The fundamentalists are beginning to establish themselves and, little by little, as their numbers grow, we start to wonder when they will really show who they are, and . . . Read More

Pakistan: Christians told they can’t have a church in Muslim-majority village

Pakistan: Christians told they can’t have a church in Muslim-majority village
Christians in a village in Pakistan’s Punjab province have been told to remove every visible sign of Christianity from their church, six months after being forced to sign a form pledging they would no longer hold services. The 40 Christian families in Nayya Sarabah (Chak 336) village, part of Toba . . . Read More

Landmark judgment on Pakistani religious minorities yet to be honoured by the state

Landmark judgment on Pakistani religious minorities yet to be honoured by the state
When a bomber killed 127 people at a Pakistan church, the country’s Supreme Court issued a list of instructions to the government to protect religious minorities. Four years later, the government has yet to follow most of them. As with the religious freedom guaranteed in Pakistan’s constitution, the government’s lacklustre . . . Read More

Report: UN weakness on religious freedom undercuts its authority on human rights

Dressed in the saffron colour, groups such these are promoting the nationalist cause for India to be a Hindu-nation. (Photo: World Watch Monitor)
The UN cannot strengthen, promote and protect human rights if it does not prioritise religious freedom, a report published by the Washington-based human rights alliance, ADF International has argued. The 73-page report, titled “Anti-Conversion Laws and the International Response”, claims that “some UN entities, especially special rapporteurs, have highlighted the . . . Read More

Gunman shoots Pakistan minister over blasphemy law

Gunman shoots Pakistan minister over blasphemy law
Pakistan’s interior minister, who has championed the country’s minority communities, has survived an assassination attempt by a gunman protesting against the country’s blasphemy laws. Ahsan Iqbal was shot in the arm before police overpowered his suspected attacker, 21-year-old Abid Hussain, the BBC reported. Iqbal was shot on Sunday (6 May) . . . Read More

Pakistan’s top judge says he’ll hear Asia Bibi’s appeal personally – and ‘soon’

Aasiya Noreen, a Pakistani Christian woman, has been on death row for over eight years for alleged blasphemy. (Photo: World Watch Monitor)
Pakistan’s chief justice says he will decide, “soon,” the fate of Aasiya Noreen, a Christian woman whose 2009 conviction on blasphemy charges has fixated world attention on the country’s treatment of religious minorities. Chief Justice Saqib Nisar told Noreen’s lawyer, Saif-ul-Malook, on 21 April that he would hear the woman’s . . . Read More

Pakistan: family of Christian boy killed by police compensated in ‘rare victory’

Pakistan: family of Christian boy killed by police compensated in ‘rare victory’
The family of a Christian boy who was killed while in police custody has been compensated for more than the standard amount paid out in similar cases. A lawyer working for the family called the outcome a “rare victory”. Arsalan Masih, a 16-year-old student from Sheikhupura in the north-eastern Punjab . . . Read More