Mosul Christmas Mass hailed a ‘victory over IS’ as Sunni youth install giant Christmas tree

Christmas 2017 in Iraq
The celebration of a first mass in Mossul (Mosul) since 2014. His Beatitude Raphael Sako and Bishop Shlemon Warduni (from the Chaldean Church) are presiding the Mass.  Archbishops Mouche (Syriac Catholic) and Abp Nicodemus Dauod Matti Sharaf  (Syriac-Orthodox)  were participating. Muslim representatives were present at the celebration.
The celebration of a Christmas Eve Mass in Mosul after the city’s devastating three-year occupation by Islamic State (IS) marked “a kind of victory” over the extremists, a church leader there said. And the installation of a number of large Christmas trees around the city was unprecedented, said the leader, . . . 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

Pakistan’s anti-blasphemy protests showcase minorities’ plight

Pakistan’s anti-blasphemy protests showcase minorities’ plight
Anti-blasphemy protests in Pakistan have once again highlighted the fragile position of the country’s religious minorities. Life in various parts of Pakistan virtually came to a halt on Saturday (25 November) after the police, paramilitary and other law enforcement agencies clashed with rioters in the capital, Islamabad, resulting in protests . . . Read More

Religious minorities’ struggles the focus of Morocco conference

Square next to the Hassan II Mosque in the city of Casablanca in 2010. (Photo: World Watch Monitor)
A conference taking place in Rabat, Morocco, tomorrow (18 November) will focus on the problems religious minorities are facing in the Muslim-majority country. Muslims account for 99 per cent of the population, according to US Department of State figures, and the remaining 1 per cent experience “marginalisation and exclusion”, according . . . Read More

‘Careful response needed’ after Mozambique’s first Islamist attack

Mozambiques President Filipe Nyusi addresses the 71st session of the UN General Assembly in New York on 21 September 2016. (Photo: Getty Images)
Mozambique experienced its first confirmed Islamist attack earlier this month when a local group raided three police stations in the coastal town of Mocimboa da Praia. Now a “careful response” is required from the government, says African historian Eric Morier-Genoud. A group of about 30 armed men launched the attack . . . 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

Saudi Arabia clerics ‘guilty of hate speech’ against religious minorities

Men standing in front of a building in Saudi Arabia. (Photo: World Watch Monitor)
Some Saudi religious scholars and clerics use language that discriminates against and demonises religious minorities, according to a new report by Human Rights Watch. “Saudi Arabia has permitted government-appointed religious scholars and clerics to refer to religious minorities in derogatory terms or demonise them in official documents and religious rulings that . . . Read More

Saudi schoolbooks ‘teach students to hate those of other faiths’

The Imam Turki Bin Abdullah Grand mosque in the capital Riyadh. (Photo: World Watch Monitor)
Students in Saudi Arabia’s schools receive religious education that “contains hateful and incendiary language” towards other Islamic traditions than Sunni Islam, and severe criticism of Jews, Christians and people of other faiths, a Human Rights Watch (HRW) report says. The comprehensive review of schoolbooks for religious studies for the 2016-17 . . . Read More