Indonesia church attacker acted alone, police say

Altar of the Stasi Kinali Catholic Church, West-Sumatra, Indonesia, which was attacked in May 2014. (Photo: World Watch Monitor)
The man accused of injuring four people in an attack on an Indonesian church on Sunday morning (11 February) acted alone and obtained the weapon – a one-metre-long sword – in exchange for his mobile phone, police say. The suspect, a 23-year-old student identified as Suliyono from Bayuwangi in East . . . Read More

US agency accuses Russia of abusing anti-extremism laws

US agency accuses Russia of abusing anti-extremism laws
Russia’s anti-extremism laws are being used to crack down on peaceful religious minorities such as Protestants, Jehovah’s Witnesses and Hare Krishnas, the top US religious-freedom watchdog says. A report commissioned by the US Commission on International Religious Freedom (USCIRF) found that “vague and problematic definitions of ‘extremism’ in Russian law . . . Read More

Ethiopian Evangelical sent to prison for ‘insulting’ Orthodox Church

Ethiopia Orthodox Church
A judge in southern Ethiopia has sentenced an Evangelical Christian to seven months in prison for “causing outrage to religious peace and feeling” following accusations believed to come from members of the predominant Ethiopian Orthodox Church (EOC). The judge in the city of Arba Minch handed down the sentence on . . . Read More

Bomb scare intimidates another church in Turkey

Trabzon church in a 2007 photo (World Watch Monitor)
Turkish police were called to Trabzon’s Santa Maria Catholic Church on Sunday morning (4 February) to examine a smouldering device spotted in the garden by alarmed church staff. After discovering a partially burned homemade pipe bomb, which had failed to explode, local authorities promptly checked the church’s security camera footage. . . . Read More

Evangelical churches in Turkmenistan want official registration

Evangelical churches in Turkmenistan want official registration
Six Evangelical churches in Turkmenistan have submitted a letter to President Gurbanguly Berdimukhamedov, asking to be allowed to register as official religious communities. Following the adoption of a new Law on Religious Organisations and Religious Freedom in March 2016, all religious entities are required to re-register in order to operate . . . Read More

Prominent China church demolished – second in month

Explosives are set off in the Golden Lampstand Church in Linfen, Shanxi province, in a still taken from a video.
Chinese authorities demolished a church in northern China this week, the second in less than a month, ahead of new regulations on religion due to come into force on 1 February. Explosives were set off inside the Golden Lampstand Church in Linfen, Shanxi province on Tuesday (9 January). According to . . . Read More

Egypt: 21 churches receive long-delayed government approval to build

Egypt: 21 churches receive long-delayed government approval to build
Twenty-one churches in Egypt’s southern rural Minya governorate can restore, expand and rebuild their churches after receiving approval from the Minya Governor. Governor Essam al-Bedeiwi approved the 21 applications over the last six months. Some of the churches had been waiting for more than 20 years for a permit to come . . . Read More

Is Putin’s ‘education to patriotism’ bill another endorsement of Russian Orthodox Church?

Is Putin’s ‘education to patriotism’ bill another endorsement of Russian Orthodox Church?
A new law on “education to patriotism” set to be introduced in Russia on New Year’s Day is a further sign of Russia distancing itself from the West, but is not necessarily a sign of President Vladimir Putin favouring one Church over another, according to an analyst for the Christian . . . Read More