Yet beneath the official festivities Eritrea's 6 million people live under a regime that has earned a reputation as the most repressive in Africa. Now an exiled human-rights group Release Eritrea reports that more than 1000 Christians are currently in detention. The group bases its tally on phone calls to friends and colleagues in the country.
The jailed Christians are members of unofficial or 'unregistered' churches which are under persistent attack from the regime. "Our church leaders who were taken to prison in 2003/2004 have been detained for over 10 years now" said Release Eritrea Director Berhane Asmelash. "Many continue to suffer health problems although we praise God when we hear reports of their resolute faith and good spirit." An underground church leader who has seen many in his congregation disappear into prison or exile said Eritrea's antagonism to Christianity is beginning to have generational effects.
"We trust God to safeguard them but times are tough for their families their elderly parents are dying and the young children they left behind are now coming of age fatherless" the church leader said. Officially Eritrea is a secular state in which all citizens can practise their faith freely. Three main Christian denominations, the Orthodox Catholic and Lutheran churches, and Islam are officially recognized. However as Amnesty International has reported in 2002 the government required all minority religious groups to register and to hand over information about their finances and members. Most refused and in 2003 the government began a crackdown against the growing evangelical churches with church members arbitrarily detained during "home-worshipping" or at weddings. Amnesty said many were tortured or ill-treated in an attempt to force them to stop worshipping. Perhaps the worst afflicted have been members of the sect of Jehovah's Witnesses who have been detained for refusing military service. They were stripped of their citizenship. Ousted Orthodox Patriarch Abune Antonios in a 2006 photo. Courtesy Open Doors International. In 2007 the head of the Orthodox Church Patriarch Abune Antonious was removed from his position after criticising the Eritrean government for interference in church activities. Two priests accompanied by government security agents entered the Patriarch's residence and confiscated his personal pontifical insignia. He was replaced by Abune Dioskoros, a development orchestrated by the Eritrean government. Patriarch Antonios who has never been charged with any offence remains under house arrest and strict state surveillance. Tens of thousands of young Eritreans have fled the country escaping across the border to Ethiopia or Sudan to face a difficult and uncertain future. Others have attempted to reach Europe some of them drowning in the Mediterranean Sea on smuggler ships. Eritrea is ruled by President Isaias Afewerki who led the Eritrean People's Liberation Front a movement that won independence from Ethiopia in 1991 after 30 years of armed conflict. Then hailed as a hero he soon turned dictator first repressing soldiers demanding pay then turning on religious dissenters and critics within the party. Today the Eritrean regime tolerates no dissent of any kind there is no free media no university and even the ruling party, renamed the People's Front for Freedom and Democracy, has not held a party conference for years.
The number of Nigerian girls abducted by Boko Haram continues to increase as does global outrage. Between eight and 11 more teen-aged girls were kidnapped May 4 by the Islamist group which on April 14 abducted more than 230 schoolgirls most of them reported to be Christian from the northeastern town of Chibok.According to local sources a group of heavily armed men stormed the village of Warabe near Gwoza town in Borno state on the night of Sunday May 4. They opened fire in the village before taking away eight girls between ages 12 and 15. News reports said the attackers then invaded a village five kilometres away and abducted three more girls.
On Monday Boko Haram which has waged a five-year violent campaign to impose Islamic law across Nigeria claimed responsibility for the abduction of the students attending school in Chibok. "I have kidnapped the girls. I will sell them on the market in the name of Allah" said a man reputed to be Boko Haram leader Abubakar Shekau in a 57-minute video obtained by the Agence France Presse news agency.
"I'll sell them as slaves in the name of Allah. There is a market where they sell human beings'' said the man on the video. "I said that Western education must stop. Girls must leave school and get married" the man said. "I would give a 12-year-old girl in marriage; I would give in marriage even a 9-year-old girl." last week some parents and community leaders of Chibok have expressed their fear that the abducted girls were taken abroad to neighbouring Cameroon and Chad and that some of them have been forced to convert to Islam and marry Muslim men. Other reports given to the BBC say a "bridegroom" of a girl has been spotted a price of 2000 Naira or about US $12.50 has been quoted. Of the 230 girls kidnapped from the Chibok boarding school at least 165 of them are Christian according to a list of names and a statement released Sunday May 4 by a former chairman of an affiliate of the Christian Association of Nigeria. Neither government nor school authorities verified the accuracy of the list.
The statement issued by evangelist Matthew Owojaiye said Chibok in the North-Eastern Nigerian State of Borno is 90 percent Christian the implication being that the mass abduction was a religiously motivated crime. The Chibok mass kidnapping has prompted anger across Africa's most populous nation. Hundreds of people mostly women marched in Abuja the capital and other major cities such as Kano and Lagos calling on the government to do more to rescue the girls. President Goodluck Jonathan is under intense pressure at home and from around the world to track down the kidnappers and rescue the hostages. U.S. President Barack Obama has offered and Nigeria has accepted American military and law-enforcement assistance.
The disappearance of the girls has generated headlines around the world and fueled a social-media storm around the tag #bringbackourgirls – at a moment when Nigeria is preparing to host the World Economic Forum on Africa a gathering of 900 world business leaders. On Tuesday May 6 Egypt's Al-Azhar mosque one of the world's most prominent Sunni institutions of higher learning issued a statement calling on Boko Haram to release the girls. Boko Haram's action "does not relate to the noble teachings of Islam in any way" the statement said. The UN human rights office warned on Tuesday May 6 that the threatened sale into slavery of hundreds of schoolgirls kidnapped by Boko Haram Islamists may constitute a crime against humanity.
"We are deeply concerned about the outrageous claims made in a video believed to be by the leader of Boko Haram in Nigeria yesterday in which he brazenly says he will sell the abducted schoolgirls 'in the market' and 'marry them off' referring to them as 'slaves'" said Rupert Colville spokesman for UN rights chief Navi Pillay.
Yet such kidnappings are not new Dr. Pogu Chibok leader of the Chibok Elders Forum told World Watch Monitor. ''They [Islamists] have been doing it for years" he said. "They have been kidnapping girls and they have been marring them off to their members forcibly. It is just because of what happened in Chibok that brought the phenomenon to international arena and it is now being known by everybody." Deadly attacks carried out on an almost daily basis by Boko Haram have claimed more than 1500 lives since January raising criticism of the Nigerian army's ability to deal with the insurgency. On April 28 four people were killed and several more injured after Boko Haram attacked Gubla village in Adamawa state. A Church of the Brethren known as Ekklesiyar Yan'uwa a Nigeria; as well as the pastor's residence several neighbouring houses were also set on fire by assailants who sprayed bullets while storming the village around midnight local sources said. Despite a year-long state of emergency and the deployment of army to the region the government seems to have lost control of the country particularly in northeastern Nigeria a community leader said in a message sent to World Watch Monitor. ''As I am writing this we heard that the major road from Madagali to Gowza down to Bama is under the control of the insurgency since people cannot travel that road without being kidnapped" the source said. His name is being withheld to preserve his safety. ''Christians in these areas are suffering everyday as most of them are hiding and sleeping in the bush. The insurgency is moving from one village to the other without facing any resistance. I fear that if urgent action is not taken what is happening in Central Africa and Southern Sudan will soon be the vents in north-eastern Nigeria'' the source wrote.
An organisation partnering with Christians in Iraq has told World Watch Monitor that some families who fled Mosul decided to return due to being unable to find refuge and fearing street fights between the Iraqi Army and the ISIS forces "some families mentioned it is better to die at home than staying on streets." Chaldean Priest Qais Kage told Fides Agency "The advance of the ISIS militiamen is favoured by large tribes and Sunnis clans. What happened in Mosul is significant such a big city cannot fall in a few hours without support from within. The chaos and political division of the country due to sectarian conflicts promotes the advance of the militants who have come from outside the Iraqi army has left everything in their hands.". Guard protecting a church in a suburb of Baghdad. The Iraqi government ordered concrete walls to be put around churches for protection. December 2011. World Watch Monitor. Kurdistan and the rest of Iraq. Iraq is divided in two parts the semi-autonomous Kurdish region in the North officially governed by the Kurdish Regional Government (KRG) based in Erbil and the large remaining Arab part controlled by the Iraqi Government in Baghdad. Kurds and Arabs have their own languages and culture. Most of Iraq's oil resources are found near Kirkuk and Mosul the border areas between the Kurdish region and Arab Iraq and these are amongst the most violent places of Iraq. Christians are caught here in the crossfire of two different battles one for a Kurdish autonomous country and one for a religious cleansing of Iraq by Islamic terrorist groups who wish to make the country purely Islamic. The Kurdish aspiration for sovereignty - a desire three Sunni provinces in Arab Iraq have expressed as well - could well be one of the most destabilising factors for Iraq. Fleeing to Kurdistan. A group of internally displaced Iraqis waiting to receive relief. Kurdistan March 2009. World Watch Monitor. While the north of Iraq has been developing into a more and more dangerous place for Christians those who flee to the Kurdish region are now considered refugees inside Iraq. As refugees they face high unemployment and inadequate housing plus difficulty in finding schooling (especially university) for their children inadequate medical care and monthly food rations due to registration problems and discrimination. ISIS increased extremist Islamic pressures. Iraq remains at number four of the 50 countries listed on the World Watch List ranking the most difficult nations for Christians to live. The list is published annually by Open Doors International a charity supporting Christians worldwide who live under pressure because of their faith. The situation for Christians in central and south Iraq is as bad as last year however the north is developing into a more and more dangerous place for Christians. The main persecution 'engine' in Iraq says Open Doors is Islamic extremism. Islamic extremist groups desire a religious cleansing of Iraq and wish to make the country purely Islamic. Since the US led invasion of Iraq in 2003 the situation has continuously deteriorated due to considerable levels of violence by Islamist militants and insurgent groups. Prohibited under Saddam Hussein Islamist political parties - Shiite and Sunni - have made their entry to politics and even constitute the majority in parliament. Since 2003 anti-Western and anti-Christian sentiments tend to go hand-in-hand. These Islamist groups have increased in number in the North under the influence of the civil war in Syria. One of their aims is fulfilling jihad and thus resulting in annihilation of the country's Christian population. This situation is aggravated by government impunity. According to Open Doors International in general Iraqi society has increasingly become more Islamic. There is an increase in social control of women the wearing of the headscarf and observance of Ramadan. Even Christian women in Baghdad and Mosul have been forced to veil themselves in order to move safely outside of their homes. Explanation of background of ISIS. The group ISIS is an Iraq and Syria-based Sunni extremist group. ISIS follows an extreme interpretation of Islam promotes sectarian violence and targets those with other opinions as infidels and apostates. In October 2004 ISIS-leader Abu Musab al-Zarqawi pledged allegiance to Osama bin Laden. This made the group an affiliate of al-Qaeda. In the first year of the war in Syria late 2011 ISIS engaged in that war through one of the groups that originally assimilated into ISIS Jabhat al Nusra. Between the leaders of ISIS and al-Nusra grew a division. This led to a split between the two jihadist groups and later caused infighting between both groups. The current leader of ISIS is Ibrahim Awwad Ibrahim Ali al-Badri the man is also known as Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi or Abu Du'a. ISIS is said to have only some 2500 Iraqi and foreign members in Iraq and some 5000 in Syria both Syrians as well as many foreigners. ISIS also operates in Lebanon and Turkey. ISIS has undergone several name changes ranging from the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL) also known as Islamic State of Iraq and al-Sham (ISIS this abbreviation is mostly used) or in Iraq as Da'ash. Old man living in a monastery in Northern Iraq. World Watch Monitor. The role the Syrian conflict plays in Iraq. ISIS has said it wants to establish an Islamist-led state (or Caliphate) which straddles across both Iraq and Syria. The role of the civil war in Syria is significant it led to a rise in recruitment and funding of Al Qaeda inspired groups in Iraq in 2013. In the current instability in Syria the position of Islamist radicals and ant-Christian attitudes should not be underestimated according to Open Doors. ISIS is now better established in Syria so Syrians seem to be pressured to choose between Assad and Islamist radicals. From ISIS-controlled regions in Syria's northern city of Raqqa reports of Christians have emerged of them being given an ultimatum of converting to Islam being killed or signing a 'dhimmi contract'. The contract is an integral part of traditional Islamic sharia law dating back to medieval times and requiring non-Muslims in this instance Christians to pay protection money which only allows them to gather for worship in churches. Under the dhimmi contract public expressions of Christian faith are not allowed. These prohibitions include Christian wedding and funeral processions; ringing of church bells; praying in public and scripture being read out loud for Muslims to hear; Christian symbols like crosses cannot be displayed openly; churches and monasteries cannot be repaired or restored irrespective if damage was collateral or intentional; and Christians are also not allowed to make offensive remarks about Muslims or Islam. The dhimmi contract also enforces an Islamic dress code like the veiling for women and commercial and dietary regulations including a ban on alcohol. According to Open Doors about 20 Christian leaders have signed to contract in Syria. If they keep these rules and live as dhimmis they will be protected. If not they will be 'put to the sword'.
He told World Watch Monitor that while there was little legal recourse left to the Catholic church it would probably take the extraordinary step of asking the federal court to review its own judgment so as to uphold constitutional guarantees of religious freedom.
Amnesty International responded with a statement that the "Allah" ban should be scrapped. "Malaysia's ban on Christians using the word 'Allah' to refer to God is an abuse against free speech…The idea that non-Muslims could face prosecution for using a particular word is deeply disturbing" said its Malaysia researcher Hazel Galang-Folli. "This ban... risks further inflaming religious tensions in Malaysia by denying its people the right to freedom of religion." The overwhelming public opinion of Christians in the country who took to social media to express their disappointment was that the federal court should have allowed the church leave to appeal especially since three of the judges on the seven-member Bench dissented against the decision. Immediately after the verdict the Malaysian Government declared that Christians who form about 10% of the mainly Malay-Muslim population of 30 million could still use the word Allah in church since the ban only applied to the Herald. A government statement said "Malaysia is a multi-faith country and it is important that differences are managed peacefully in accordance with the rule of law and through dialogue mutual respect and compromise." It added that the government remains committed to its negotiated 'ten-point solution'- first announced in 2011 - to resolve difference in views between Christians and Muslims. A key element of this declaration emphasises that Christians are allowed to print import and distribute Bibles in the Malay language. The official pronouncements have done little to appease Christian leaders such as Dr Shastri who fear this latest federal court ruling will only strengthen extremist voices of Malay-Muslim extremists whose militant actions have brought little censure from the Government or the forces of law. These show contempt for legal authority and the leadership of Prime Minister Najib Abdul Razak. Perdana Putra - government building housing the offices of Prime Minister. Kuala Lumpur Malaysia World Watch Monitor. Six months after the forced entry into (and seizure of more than 300 copies of the scripture from) the Bible Society of Malaysia the Islamic Religious Department of the state of Selangor and the Islamic Religious Council of the same state have refused to return the books despite being asked to do so by the Attorney General and the Prime Minister.
The Islamic authorities have instead hinted that the 321 Bibles will be destroyed.
The Bible Society said such an act would be abhorrent. Its President Bishop Ng Moon Hing in a statement said "Bibles are religious books of the Christian community. Under what civil law do (they) purport to have the authority to even suggest such an act?"
Dr Shastri said the Islamic authorities were demonstrating a dangerous disregard for the law and the federal court decision will further blur the demarcation between Islamic jurisdiction in public life and civil laws. He said the ruling did not address the key issues of constitutional rights religious freedom and whether the government had the power to regulate sacred books. Dr Shastri emphasised that the Bible had been translated into many languages just as Hindu scriptures and the Koran into English and other languages for the sake of humanity. "The State has no right to regulate or contain religious practices." The decision was welcomed by extreme nationalist Malay groups who warned the Catholic church to stop issuing statements or challenging the authority of the federal court. One group that propagates Islamic ties said the ruling confirmed its view that Malaysia was an Islamic state and not a secular one. The Muslim extremist groups also maintained this week that the Allah word should be expunged from all Malay-language Bibles. Religious provocation and persecution has become a constant feature of life in Malaysia. In recent weeks the country was gripped by a debate on hudud – the Islamic law that prescribes stoning to death and cutting off limbs for crimes – which the opposition Islamic Party PAS wants to introduce in the state of Kelantan. Extreme Islamist groups favour its enactment and significantly say that the law should also apply to non-Muslims. Earlier this month Islamic religious authorities suddenly interrupted a Chinese funeral and seized the body of a 38-year-old waitress. It was claimed that she had converted to Islam when she was a teenager and therefore she should not be buried in a Taoist ceremony. Her family contested this; four days later she was buried - as originally planned - on being declared to be in fact a non-Muslim. In May a civil court ruled that a Hindu convert to Islam should return his six-year-old son to the Hindu mother. To date he has not done so because it is claimed he obtained custody of the child from a Muslim Sharia court. Such inter-faith battles based on conflicting legal systems are polarising the nation as well as appearing to make a mockery of the country's legal systems. Some are concerned that the federal court's reluctance to test constitutional guarantees of religious freedom will encourage Malay-Muslim extremists to further push out the boundaries of Islam and shrink the space for other faith groups freedom to worship.
Amnesty International ha risposto con una dichiarazione che il divieto di "Allah" dovrebbe essere scartato. "Divieto di Malesia cristiani usando la parola 'Allah' per riferirsi a Dio è un abuso contro la libertà di parola... L'idea che i non-musulmani potrebbero affrontare accusa per l'utilizzo di una particolare parola è profondamente inquietante" ha detto il suo ricercatore Malaysia Hazel Galang-Folli. "Questo divieto... rischi maggiori infiamma le tensioni religiose in Malaysia negando la sua gente il diritto alla libertà di religione." L'opinione pubblica schiacciante dei cristiani nel paese che ha preso per i social media per esprimere la loro delusione era che la corte federale avrebbe dovuto consentire il congedo chiesa di appello soprattutto perché tre dei giudici su sette membri Bench dissentito contro la decisione. Subito dopo il verdetto del governo malese ha dichiarato che i cristiani che costituiscono circa il 10% della popolazione prevalentemente malese-musulmana di 30 milioni potrebbe ancora utilizzare la parola Allah in chiesa dal momento che il divieto applicato solo l'Herald. Una dichiarazione del governo ha detto "La Malesia è un paese multiconfessionale ed è importante che le differenze vengono gestite pacificamente in conformità con lo stato di diritto e attraverso il dialogo il rispetto reciproco e il compromesso." Essa ha aggiunto che il governo continua ad impegnarsi per la sua negoziato 'dieci punti solution'-annunciato nel 2011 - per risolvere differenza di vedute tra cristiani e musulmani. Un elemento chiave di questa dichiarazione sottolinea che i cristiani sono autorizzati a stampare importare e distribuire Bibbie in lingua malay. Le dichiarazioni ufficiali hanno fatto poco per placare i leader cristiani come il dottor Shastri che temono questa ultima sentenza del tribunale federale non farà che rafforzare le voci estremiste di estremisti musulmani malay cui azioni militanti hanno portato poco censura da parte del governo o delle forze. Questi mostrano disprezzo per l'autorità legale e la leadership del primo ministro Najib Abdul Razak. Perdana Putra - edificio governativo che ospita gli uffici del primo ministro. Kuala Lumpur Malaysia World Watch Monitor. Sei mesi dopo l'entrata costretto (e sequestro di più di 300 copie della Scrittura dal) Bible Society of Malaysia il Dipartimento dello stato di Selangor e del Consiglio religioso islamico stesso stato Religiosa Islamica ha rifiutato di restituire i libri pur essendo invitato a farlo da parte del procuratore Generale e il Primo Ministro.
Le autorità islamiche hanno invece lasciato intendere che i 321 Bibbie saranno distrutti.
La Società Biblica ha detto che un simile atto sarebbe aberrante. Il suo presidente il vescovo Ng Luna Hing in una dichiarazione ha detto "Bibbie sono libri religiosi della comunità cristiana in quali diritto civile non (si) pretendono di avere l'autorità per suggerire anche un tale atto.?" Il Dott. Shastri ha detto che le autorità islamiche stavano dimostrando un disprezzo pericoloso per la legge e la decisione della corte federale confondere ulteriormente la demarcazione tra giurisdizione islamica nella vita pubblica e leggi civili. Ha detto che la sentenza non affrontare le questioni fondamentali dei diritti costituzionali la libertà religiosa e se il governo avesse il potere di regolamentare i libri sacri. Dr Shastri ha sottolineato che la Bibbia era stata tradotta in molte lingue così come scritture indù e il Corano in inglese e altre lingue per il bene dell'umanità. "Lo Stato non ha il diritto di regolamentare o contenere le pratiche religiose." La decisione è stata accolta da gruppi malesi nazionalisti estremi che avvertirono la chiesa cattolica di smettere di rilasciare dichiarazioni o sfidare l'autorità della corte federale. Un gruppo che si propaga legami islamici ha detto che la sentenza ha confermato la sua opinione che la Malaysia è uno Stato islamico e non un laico. I gruppi estremisti islamici anche mantenuto questa settimana che la parola Allah deve essere espunta da tutte le Malay-lingua Bibbie. Provocazione religiosa e la persecuzione è diventata una caratteristica costante della vita in Malesia. Nelle ultime settimane il paese è stato preso da un dibattito sul hudud - la legge islamica e prescrive la lapidazione a morte e tagliare gli arti per reati - quali l'opposizione PAS partito islamico vuole introdurre nello stato di Kelantan. Gruppi islamisti estremo favore la sua entrata in vigore e in modo significativo dicono che la legge deve applicarsi anche ai non musulmani. All'inizio di questo mese le autorità religiose islamiche improvvisamente interrotto un funerale cinese e sequestrato il corpo di una cameriera di 38 anni. Si è sostenuto che si era convertita all'Islam quando era un adolescente e quindi non dovrebbe essere sepolto in una cerimonia taoista. La sua famiglia ha contestato tale; quattro giorni dopo fu sepolta - come inizialmente previsto - per essere dichiarato di essere in realtà un non-musulmano. Nel mese di maggio un tribunale civile ha stabilito che un indù convertito all'Islam dovrebbe restituire il suo di sei anni figlio alla madre indù. Fino ad oggi non ha fatto perché si afferma ottenne la custodia del figlio da un giudice musulmano Sharia. Tali scontri interreligiosi basati su sistemi giuridici in conflitto polarizzare la nazione così come appare a fare una beffa dei sistemi giuridici del paese. Alcuni sono preoccupati che la riluttanza della corte federale di testare le garanzie costituzionali di libertà religiosa incoraggerà gli estremisti musulmani malay a spingere ulteriormente i confini dell'Islam e ridurre lo spazio per altri gruppi di fede la libertà di culto.
Re Abd Allah Arabia Saudita Benjamin Netanyahu [ è chiaro! tutte le diverse religioni per esempio in Arabia SAUDITA ecc.. ecc.. devono nascondere i propri simboli specifici non devono alterare il paesaggio e devono partecipare in onore del proprio Dio al digiuno del ramadan alle feste islamicheecc.. perché le radici religiose e culturali di un popolo non vanno sconvolte! in questo modo la libertà di coscienza e la libertà di religione non saranno offese quindi anche la moralità del popolo non subirà un danno!
Re Abd Allah Arabia Saudita, Benjamin Netanyahu, [ perché, voi scendete dalle nuvole, come, se, voi sentite da me, per la prima volta, questo insegnamento? ] io ho sempre detto ed espresso questo concetto, sono anni che, io dico questo!
Re Abd Allah Arabia Saudita, Benjamin Netanyahu, [ in realtà, il destino del mondo dipende dalle vostre scelte politiche, ma, è Israele, che, ha nelle sue mani l'ago della bilancia! SE, GLI ATTUALI ASSETTI DEL MONDO, NON VERRANNO CAMBIATI, MORIREMO TUTTI!