‘Middle East without Christians would not be the Middle East’ – Pope Francis

Pope Francis lights a candle inside the cripta of the St. Nicholas Basilica in Bari, southern Italy July 7, 2018. REUTERS/Tony Gentile
Pope Francis says religious fundamentalists in the Middle East, “under the guise of religion, have profaned God’s name, which is peace, and persecuted age-old neighbours”, Reuters reports. The pope was speaking during a summit of Christian leaders in Bari, Italy, on Saturday, 7 July. He spoke of the “terrible suffering” . . . Read More

Church council calls for release of Syrian bishops abducted five years ago

(Source: World Council of Churches)
The World Council of Churches (WCC) has called for the release of two Syrian archbishops kidnapped five years ago. “The Central Committee recalls with heavy hearts the abduction five years ago of the archbishops of Aleppo, Yohanna Ibrahim and Paul Yazigi,” the WCC said in a statement following a six-day . . . Read More

Myanmar: 7,000 Kachin displaced as violence escalates

Displaced Kachin residents cross the Malikha river on 26 April to escape the fighting between the Kachin Independence Army and the Myanmar government troops. (Photo: ZAU RING HPARA/AFP/Getty Images)
Almost 7,000 people belonging to the largely Christian minority group in Kachin, northern Myanmar, have fled their houses since fighting between the army and a rebel group flared up in early April, according to recent figures from the Red Cross. “It’s a war where civilians are being systematically targeted by . . . Read More

Persecuted Christians celebrate Easter with mixed emotions

Flag of Syria is waving as sign of victory over the destroyed heavily damaged city of Aleppo. (Photo: World Watch Monitor)
Easter this year was a time of mixed emotions for the Christians who live under pressure for their faith. While political and religious leaders called for peace, reconciliation and brotherhood, Christians in countries like Syria and the Philippines continued to face violence and its consequences. Below, World Watch Monitor gives . . . Read More

Bangladesh set to further ‘thwart’ freedom of expression

Traffic in the Bangladeshi capital Dhaka. (Photo: World Watch Monitor)
Bangladesh is considering the introduction of a new law that would further limit freedom of expression and belief in the country, a senior Bangladeshi journalist warns. The Digital Security Act, a draft of which has been approved by the government, will include a section that “criminalizes online content regarded as defamatory . . . Read More

5 years on, what has Pope Francis done for religious freedom?

Pope Francis greets people during his inauguration on 19 March 2013. (Photo: Getty Images)
Pope Francis, the son of Italian migrants, appeared on the steps of St Peter’s Basilica five years ago to be introduced as the first Latin American pontiff. Below, World Watch Monitor looks at a few of the highlights of his tenure so far, and his impact on freedom of religion . . . Read More