Cuba’s new leader ‘not a reformer’

Cuba’s new leader ‘not a reformer’
Raúl Castro, who replaced his brother Fidel as Cuba’s president in 2006, stepped down from the post this week, ending a decades-long rule by his family. His successor, Miguel Díaz-Canel – who up until now was the country’s first vice-president – takes on an historic leadership role by becoming the . . . Read More

Turkish court puts trial of US pastor on hold for three weeks

Turkish court puts trial of US pastor on hold for three weeks
Andrew Brunson got his first day in a Turkish court today (16 April) to answer espionage charges. It will be three weeks until he gets his second. The American-born Brunson, pastor of a small Protestant church, told the court he denies any wrongdoing. He is accused of supporting the attempted . . . Read More

Evangelical head sets out ambitious vision for rebuilding CAR

Evangelical head sets out ambitious vision for rebuilding CAR
Churches in the Central African Republic have pledged to unite in prayer in response to the worsening violence dividing the country. The leader of the country’s evangelical church network says the effort has the potential to bring peace to the troubled nation. “Recent history of some countries in Africa, among . . . Read More

China pledges to protect religious freedom, days after Bible ban

Women, married to pastors who work in rural areas in China, meet in a church. (Photo: World Watch Monitor)
China presented an official ‘white paper’ on religion on Wednesday, 4 April, guaranteeing “protection” for religious freedom, just four days after banning the online sale of Bibles. The policy paper, titled ‘China’s Policies and Practices on Protecting Freedom of Religious Belief’, was presented by the State Council Information Office at . . . Read More

Turkey’s Churches publish landmark book of common Christian doctrine

Turkey’s Churches publish landmark book of common Christian doctrine
A joint commission of Turkey’s major Christian denominations has published an historic book of concise Christian doctrine, receiving the unprecedented endorsement of all the nation’s Orthodox, Catholic, Armenian, Syriac and Protestant Churches. According to Armenian Bishop Sahak Masalyan, keynote speaker at the formal book launch in Istanbul of the English . . . Read More

Ethiopian Protestant loses appeal against prison sentence for ‘causing outrage to religious peace and feeling’

The Holy Saviour Orthodox Church in Addis Ababa. (Photo: World Watch Monitor)
An Ethiopian court has turned down the appeal of an Evangelical Christian sentenced to seven months in prison for “causing outrage to religious peace and feeling”. In its verdict, published on 19 March, the court upheld an earlier sentence given by a judge in the southern city of Arba Minch . . . Read More

Egypt’s elections and the man dividing the country’s Copts

Egypt’s elections and the man dividing the country’s Copts
Walking around Cairo you would be forgiven for thinking that President Abdel Fattah el-Sisi was the only candidate running in the elections later this month. His is the only grandiose face bearing down on passers-by, while billboards of his rival, Mousa Mostafa Mousa, are nowhere to be seen. Egypt’s 26-28 March presidential elections have . . . Read More

53 churches legalised in Egypt, 1000s more still waiting

Coptic Church in central Egypt. (Photo: World Watch Monitor, 2004)
Fifty-three Coptic Orthodox, Catholic and Protestant churches were recently granted licenses by the Egyptian government, as Catholic news agency Fides reported last week. These churches and annexed buildings already existed before the new law on the construction of Christian buildings of worship was passed by the Egyptian Parliament on 30 August . . . Read More

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