Ahok ‘victim of cyber jihad against Indonesian government’

Jakarta's governor arrives in court for his verdict and sentence in his blasphemy trial. Photo: Getty Images
The Christian former governor of Jakarta who was jailed for blasphemy may have been a victim of a sophisticated anti-government campaign of “fake news” and malicious bots. Indonesian police believe they have uncovered a clandestine “fake news” operation designed to destabilise the government and corrupt the political process, the UK’s . . . Read More

Marawi’s rebuilding yet to start, despite warning that defeating extremism depends on it

Marawi’s rebuilding yet to start, despite warning that defeating extremism depends on it
Four months after the battle ended over the southern Philippines city of Marawi, Muslim leaders have called on people to stop posting divisive information on social media. Rumours were spread via social media in recent weeks, saying that the Catholic cathedral, which was severely damaged during the conflict last year, . . . Read More

‘Unprecedented’ persecution of Egypt’s Christians heads 2018 World Watch List

‘Unprecedented’ persecution of Egypt’s Christians heads 2018 World Watch List
More Christians abused in India than in all other countries combined; Nepal enters list Islamic extremists driven out of Iraq and Syria are behind a new intensity of Christian persecution in surrounding countries, says global charity Open Doors in its latest annual survey of countries where it is most difficult . . . Read More

Indonesia church leader charged with blasphemy

Inside a church in Indonesia. Villagers in Central Java requested the top of a burial cross to be cut before a Catholic was to be buried in what is a public cemetery but is regarded by Muslim groups as 'their' graveyard. (Photo: World Watch Monitor)
An Indonesian church leader has been charged with blasphemy – the first case of its kind in the country – and could face five years in prison. Rev. Abraham Ben Moses, 52, was arrested and detained last week in his home town of Tangerang, Java, 25 km west of the capital, . . . Read More

Vietnam: Catholic blogger loses appeal against 10-year sentence for ‘anti-state reports’

Vietnam: Catholic blogger loses appeal against 10-year sentence for ‘anti-state reports’
A Vietnamese Catholic blogger has failed in her attempt to overturn a 10-year prison sentence for writing “anti-state reports”. Nguyen Ngoc Nhu Quynh, 38, better known as ‘Me Nam’ (Mother Mushroom), is a member of the US-based activist group Viet Tan, which funded one of her environmental campaigns. Her blogging . . . Read More

Myanmar’s Christians hope Pope Francis will speak for them

Pope Francis is greeted by a child upon arrival in Yangon, Myanmar, on 27 November. (Photo: Getty Images)
Pope Francis landed in Myanmar today (27 November) to start his six-day visit to Southeast Asia, raising the hopes of Christians there that he will address the issues they face in the majority-Buddhist nation. Among those welcoming the Pontiff in Yangon were more than 7,000 ethnic Kachin from the conflict-torn state . . . Read More

Philippines: Marawi liberated but root cause of extremism remains

Soldiers on a military vehicle are seen on liberated but battle damaged street in Marawi City on 17 October. (Photo: Getty Images)
Philippines President Rodrigo Duterte declared “Marawi City liberated from the terrorist influence” on Tuesday (17 October) after the military killed two of the ring leaders behind the five-month assault on the city, but a religious freedom expert has warned the “killing of militant leaders does not destroy the fighters behind . . . Read More

ASEAN nations told to ‘end blasphemy laws that inspire violence’

A right for all - USCIRF report on ASEAN nations
On its 50th anniversary, the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) should repeal blasphemy laws, release prisoners of conscience and strengthen interfaith relationships, says the US Commission on International Religious Freedom (USCIRF). In a new report, USCIRF highlights regional “arrests, detentions, and imprisonments based on religious belief, practice, or activities, . . . Read More

Widespread condemnation for prison sentence of Ahok

The sentencing of Jakarta's Christian Governor to prison on blasphemy charges, focuses the spotlight again on Indonesia's controversial Blasphemy Law.
Tuesday’s verdict of an Indonesian court, sentencing Jakarta’s outgoing governor Basuki Tjahaja Purnama, known as ‘Ahok’, to two years in prison for blasphemy, has received widespread condemnation globally as politicians, academics and rights groups express their concern about religious pluralism in Indonesia. Ahok, the capital’s first Christian and ethnic governor since the . . . Read More