Category Archives: rights

Ethiopian churches attacked

ISTANBUL — Eight Muslims wielding machetes and knives broke into two village churches in southern Ethiopia earlier this month and began wounding worshipers, instantly killing one Christian. Tulu Mosisa of Kale Hiwot church died after a machete blow nearly beheaded him, according to an eyewitness. Another two members of the Kale Hiwot and Birhane Wongel Baptist churches in the remote village of Nensebo Chebi both lost a hand each in the March 2 attacks, and a 5-year-old boy is still hospitalized after his arm was slashed to the bone. A total of 23 Christians from the two congregations were injured before local militia officers drove off the attackers, who launched what one observer called “a seemingly well-planned,” simultaneous assault midway through Sunday worship services. Located 400 kilometers (240 miles) south of the capital Addis Ababa , Nensebo Chebi is a remote village in the Bale Zone of Ethiopia’s predominantly Muslim Oromiya state. Every time the attackers struck someone, Christian survivors said, they shouted “Allah Akbar!” The two Arabic words, meaning “Allah is greater,” are the beginning of the Muslim call to prayer.

-Compass Direct News 

Malaysian government threatens censorship

KUALA LUMPUR, Malaysia – A Catholic newspaper and an evangelical church have brought lawsuits against the government after authorities ruled against use of the word “Allah” in Christian publications. The government had threatened the Herald, a 13-year-old Catholic weekly, with closure. Following protests by the Christian community, the Herald’s printing permit was renewed just two days prior to expiration. At the same time, the Evangelical Church of Borneo (Sidang Injil Borneo, or SIB) has challenged a government decision to prohibit importation of Christian educational materials for children containing the word “Allah.” A court hearing on the case scheduled for December 27 was postponed until January 16 pending efforts by outside parties to resolve the matter. In its lawsuit, SIB argues that Christian use of “Allah” predates Islam, as the word is used for God in the old as well as modern Arabic Bibles.

-Compass Direct News

Report on International Religious Freedom

The U.S. Commission on International Religious Freedom is an independent, bipartisan U.S. government agency created under the 1998 International Religious Freedom Act.

From a Commission press release earlier this week:

WASHINGTON—The U.S. Commission on International Religious Freedom (USCIRF) today [May 2] announced its 2007 recommendations to Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice on “countries of particular concern,” or CPCs. The 1998 International Religious Freedom Act (IRFA) requires that the
United States designate as CPCs those countries whose governments have engaged in or tolerated systematic and egregious violations of the universal right to freedom of religion or belief.
“The issue of religious freedom is now understood to have a profound impact on our own political and national security interests as well as on political stability throughout the world,” said Commission Chair Felice D. Gaer.The Commission’s recommendations for CPC designation for 2007 are: Burma, Democratic People’s Republic of Korea (North Korea), Eritrea, Iran, Pakistan, China, Saudi Arabia, Sudan, Turkmenistan, Uzbekistan, and
Vietnam.
The Commission has also established a Watch List of countries where conditions do not rise to the statutory level requiring CPC designation but which require close monitoring due to the nature and extent of violations of religious freedom engaged in or tolerated by the governments. Iraq has been added to the Commission’s Watch List this year, joining Afghanistan, Bangladesh, Belarus, Cuba, Egypt, Indonesia, and
Nigeria
.

Today [May 2] the Commission is also releasing its 2007 Annual Report with recommendations on U.S. policy for the President, Secretary of State, and Congress with regard to CPC countries, as well as other countries where the
United States can help to promote freedom of religion or belief.

The press release went on to include the Commission’s letter to Secretary of State Condi Rice with 2007 recommendations regarding “countries of particular concern.” The release is here: http://www.uscirf.gov/mediaroom/press/2007/may/20070502annualreport.html .