Friday, June 1, 2012

Victims of Explosion in Israel Lament Plea Agreement

Victims of Explosion in Israel Lament Plea Agreement: "Ultra-right Jew who planted bomb ruled guilty but not responsible."

Ortiz family with bomb-damaged table.(Photo: Compass)
JERUSALEM, May 31 (Compass Direct News) – A Messianic Jewish congregation leader whose son was almost killed by a bomb planted by an ultra-right wing Jew said he feels like the Israeli criminal justice system has abandoned him. On Monday (May 28), the Jerusalem District Court approved a plea agreement for the man accused of bombing pastor David Ortiz’s home, Jack Teitel, without consulting Ortiz or his attorneys, Ortiz said. The plea agreement is unique in that the court said Teitel committed the acts, but it did not hold him responsible for committing them. Ortiz, leader of the Congregation of Ariel, said the prosecutor’s office has also consistently misled his attorneys about basic information on important court filings for the case. Teitel has multiple charges against him for several acts of violence, including two killings, but prosecutors in Ortiz’s case have sidelined or deliberately avoided him, Ortiz said. The Ortiz family opposes any plea bargain. The prosecutor that is supposed to be protecting Ortiz’s interests is neglecting his duty, he added. “He doesn’t want to be seen protecting Christians,” Ortiz said. “It doesn’t benefit him in society.”


Thursday, May 31, 2012

Court Rulings Mirror Fears, Hopes in Egyptian Vote

Court Rulings Mirror Fears, Hopes in Egyptian Vote: "Death sentence upheld for Muslim, but in another trial, shocking bias persists."

Counting votes in Egyptian election.

CAIRO, Egypt, May 30 (Compass Direct News) – In the lead-up to the country’s first democratic presidential election, a court ruling confirmed fears that justice will continue to elude the Christian minority in post-revolutionary Egypt, while another verdict offered some hope. On May 21 a judge sentenced 12 Coptic Christians to life in prison for their alleged part in a riot in Abu-Qurgas village, in Minya Province, that left two Muslims and one Christian dead. Eight Muslims charged with the same crimes in the same riot were all acquitted. The ruling shocked even Copts accustomed to biased and brutal legal judgments. A rare verdict in the case of a Muslim who killed a Christian, however, held out some hope for Copts. On May 14 an Egyptian court led by Chancellor Mahmoud Salama upheld a death sentence against Amir Ashour Abd al Zaher, a police officer who in 2011 boarded a train, attacked a group of Christians and shot one dead. The verdicts came against the backdrop of the first round of what is being touted as Egypt’s first truly democratic presidential election. After the first round of elections held May 23-24, unofficial results show the Muslim Brotherhood’s Mohammed Mursi leads with ex-prime minister Ahmed Shafiq following close behind. Mursi and Shafiq will face each other again in a run-off scheduled for June 16-17.


Muslim Brotherhood's Mursi a shoo-in?

Mission Network News: "Egypt (MNN) ― Last week's presidential elections narrowed the options down to two candidates for Egypt's June run-off. But many believe the Muslim Brotherhood already has the election in the bag.

Mohammed Mursi and Ahmed Shafiq will compete for the presidency in a final election on June 16 and 17. Mursi is with the Muslim Brotherhood, and Shafiq is a former Mubarak supporter--a man many are calling a "feloul" or "remnant" of the Mubarak era."


Justice clouded under Pakistan's blasphemy laws

Mission Network News: "Pakistan (MNN) ― A United Nations representative says Christians are not the only people who are under pressure under Pakistan's blasphemy law.

Judges and politicians face reprisals if they speak out against the unfair application of the code or on behalf of people who are being punished under the blasphemy law."


Nigeria: CAN - Silent Killings Thriving in Maiduguri

Police Headquarters Nigeria: CAN - Silent Killings Thriving in Maiduguri: "National President of the Christian Association of Nigeria (CAN), Pastor Ayo Oritsejafor, has raised the alarm over silent and unreported killings of Christians in the North.

This however came on a day pandemonium broke out at the busy Ahmadu Bello Way in Kaduna metropolis following a bomb scare, which made residents and traders along the area scamper for safety.

Oritsejafor who called on leaders of all the blocks of CAN across the nation to organise prayers and fasting of all denominations in the country to overcome its security challenges due to the activity of the Boko Haran sect, said it was imperative for Christians to be security conscious at all times."


House Church Asked to Halt Activities

House Church Asked to Halt Activities: "Chinese authorities move to increase restrictions on unofficial churches."

Authorities in China’s southwestern province of Sichuan have requested a large family-based Christian church to halt its activities, the church’s pastor told RFA on Tuesday.

The move came as Chinese authorities intensified their harassment of Christians and cracked down on unofficial churches, called “house churches,” across several Chinese provinces.


Wednesday, May 30, 2012

Cuban Delegation Urges International Response to Religious Freedom Violations

Cuban Delegation Urges International Response to Religious Freedom Violations: "WASHINGTON, DC (ANS) -- A delegation of Cuban church leaders has called on the US government to add Cuba to its Countries of Particular Concern (CPC) list as one of the world’s worst violators of religious freedom. The delegation, hosted by Christian Solidarity Worldwide (CSW), last week briefed members of Congress and US government officials in Washington DC on the sharp rise in religious freedom violations in Cuba."


Christians in Egypt Blamed for Voting by Islamists

Christians in Egypt Blamed for Voting by Islamists:

 "By Michael Ireland
Senior International Correspondent, ASSIST News Service

CAIRO, EGYPT (ANS) -- The official results of the first round of the Egyptian presidential elections were announced today, and the run-off will be between Mohamed Morsy, the Muslim Brotherhood candidate, and Air Marshal Ahmad Shafik, former President Hosni Mubarak's last PM, who served for less than one month during the revolution and before Mubarak was ousted.

According to Egyptian journalist Mary Abdelmassih, writing for AINA -- Assyrian International News Agency,  , these results, which were expected since Friday, have enraged many Egyptians who feel that they are left with two options, each worse than the other, namely either going back to the Mubarak regime represented by Shafik or the Islamists who will drag Egypt into being another Afghanistan or Iran. Nasserist candidate Hamdeed Sabahy, favored by a great number of youth -- especially those who participated in the 25 January Revolution, came in third."


Violence Continues in Nigeria as Akinola Criticizes President

Violence Continues in Nigeria as Akinola Criticizes President: "Muslim extremists have killed more than officials know, Christian leaders say."

JOS, Nigeria, May 29 (Compass Direct News) – In Nigeria’s Plateau state, Christian leaders said more Christians have died at the hands of Muslim extremists than the 35 that the military reported thus far in May. In three local government areas in Plateau state, armed Fulani herdsmen attacked 15 Christian villages, killing and maiming Christians, destroying homes and leaving more than 1,000 villagers displaced, sources said. Villagers said the attackers were Muslim Fulani herdsmen likely supplied and instigated by Islamic extremist groups. Sources told Compass that Muslim gunmen invaded Rinyam village on May 9 at about 12:30 a.m. and shot seven Christians in their homes, though increasingly assailants are using only machetes and knives to avoid notice by soldiers charged with keeping order. The Nigerian president on Sunday (May 27) took pointed criticism over the violence. At a special worship service in Abuja for Democracy Day with President Goodluck Jonathan in attendance, the former Anglican primate of the Church of Nigeria, Peter Akinoloa, told those gathered at the National Christian Centre Abuja that the government should not dialogue with Boko Haram. “They want to eliminate ‘infidels,’ which includes you, Mr. President,” Akinola said. “You open yourself to ridicule if you open dialogue to a group that has made the country ungovernable. Don’t treat them with kid gloves. You don’t dialogue with criminals.” Speaking later, Jonathan said he has directed security agencies to launch a complete war against Boko Haram. “We have done a lot and committed resources to advance our security architecture in order to tackle terrorism, and, God willing, we shall overcome,” he said. “My request is for you to stand by me.”


Western nations condemn massacre in Syria

Mission Network News: "Syria (MNN) ― Western nations including Australia, Britain, Canada, France, Germany, Italy, Spain, and the United States announced the expulsions of Syrian diplomats after a massacre in that country over the weekend. The coordinated attacks left more than 100 dead; a little over 30 of them were children. French and Australian leaders called President Assad a murderer and vowed to hold accountable those who were responsible for the atrocities.

Todd Nettleton with Voice of the Martyrs says, "The violence seems to just be escalating.""


Election results end in arson

Mission Network News: "Egypt (MNN) ― The announcement of the official presidential candidates, following the first round of voting in Egypt’s first-ever democratic election, climaxed in an arson attack.

A mob attacked and set fire to the campaign headquarters of one of the presidential candidates, Ahmed Shafiq, on Monday night after the announcement."


Tuesday, May 29, 2012

BosNewsLife – Christian News Agency » Blog Archive » Group: ‘Burmese Troops Gang Rape Woman In Church’

BosNewsLife – Christian News Agency » Blog Archive » Group: ‘Burmese Troops Gang Rape Woman In Church’: "RANGOON, BURMA (BosNewsLife)-- Burmese troops gang raped and tortured a grandmother in a church in the latest reported case of abuse by Burma's military against the predominantly Christian Kachin minority, Christian rights activists said Monday, May 21.

Christian Solidarity Worldwide (CSW), an advocacy group investigating the attacks in Burma, told BosNewsLife that the grandmother of 12 was sheltering on May 1 alone in a church after other villagers had fled the country's northernmost Kachin State near the border with China."


'Distinctly Christian' Lord's Prayer Banned in Del. Council Meetings

'Distinctly Christian' Lord's Prayer Banned in Del. Council Meetings: "A U.S. district court judge in Delaware ruled last week that members of a local city council who had been reciting the Lord's Prayer at every meeting for six years must stop the "Christian" practice because it violates the Constitution.

The decision by Judge Leonard P. Stark comes in response to a lawsuit filed last year by four Sussex County residents who claimed that the prayer violates the First Amendment. The city council had argued that the Lord's Prayer, though widely used by Catholics and Protestants, was not exclusive to Christianity as it does not make a specific reference to Jesus."


ISRAEL: CHRISTIAN CHURCH EVICTED "Pastor Steven Khoury from Holy Land Missions in Jerusalem has received a 30-day notice of eviction from the owner of the building where his church currently worships.

“The pressure from the Muslim community is so strong that the landlord is given no other choice but to do this,” Khoury wrote in a letter to The Voice of the Martyrs. “With just 30 days left to move a church community, another Band-Aid solution of renting a place is not a viable solution. Our church community needs permanent roots.”"