Saudi Arabia to ban ‘extremist ideologies’ from schools and universities

Sign portraying Saudi King Salman and Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman, who wants to be known as a reformist, in the capital Riyad. (Photo: World Watch Monitor)
Saudi Arabia has pledged to ban the “extremist ideologies” espoused by the Muslim Brotherhood from school curricula and books, and to dismiss staff who support the group’s views. In a statement released on Tuesday (20 March), the Minister of Education, Ahmed bin Mohammed al-Isa, said the ministry is working to . . . Read More

Iraq’s young people must lead its rebuilding, says archbishop

Army truck with Iraqi flag on its way in the direction of Mosul. (Photo: World Watch Monitor)
The rebuilding of Iraq should be guided by its young people, says an archbishop who took in 700 students from Mosul University after the occupation of the city by Islamic State in June 2014. Bishop Yousif Thoma Mirkis of Kirkuk, 170km southeast of Mosul, recently visited the university and reunited . . . 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

Saudi Arabia is modernising, but will this mean greater freedom for religious minorities?

Saudi Arabia is modernising, but will this mean greater freedom for religious minorities?
The political landscape in the strict Islamic Kingdom of Saudi Arabia is changing, and quickly. A charismatic crown prince seems determined to modernise his country and even speaks of a shift towards a more “moderate” Islam. But will the changes taking place in Saudi also ease the situation for members . . . Read More

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

In November there were widespread anti-blasphemy protests in Islamabad and other cities in reaction to proposed changes to an election law. (Photo: World Watch Monitor)
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