At the very moment that the U.N. General Assembly was voting to elect Saudi Arabia to the Human Rights Council earlier this month, Saudi police officers, assisted by vigilante mobs, launched an iron-fisted effort to round up and deport millions of undocumented foreign workers. The campaign reportedly entailed imprisoning, killing, and raping African and Asian migrants within its borders and provoked a violent protest by some migrants in the capital.
The Vatican news agency Fides reports today that two new mass graves containing a total of 30 bodies were found in Sadad, an ancient Christian town of some 15,000 people between Damascus and Homs, bringing to 45 the number of residents killed there by Islamist militias since October 21.
Malala Yousafzai is the Pakistani teenager shot in the head by the Taliban in October 2012 for advocating the education of girls in her homeland. Thursday she won the European Parliament's prestigious Sakharov Prize for her courage. The world waits to see if, on Friday, October 11, she will also become a Nobel Peace Laureate, too.
In various parts of the Muslim world, religious minorities are facing a reign of terror. In the Middle East, persecution has become so terrible and widespread some experts are predicting that non-Muslims may be entirely driven from the region known for millennia as the cultural crossroads.
Our allies among the Syrian rebels have issued a memorandum to the State Department on strategies for the day after Assad falls. David Ignatius reports in his column today that the Free Syrian Army (SFA) has outlined a "Damascus plan" for "handling the power vacuum in case of a sudden Assad collapse." This plan is grossly flawed.
Undermining religious freedom, of course, is not a small matter, not a mere nuisance to a few outliers. In Egypt, Morsi's Islamist constitution helped provoke a popular uprising by a broad range of groups opposed to the state's forcible imposition of Islamism, which in turn led to the military overthrow of the government on July 3.
Violent aggression by Egypt's Muslim Brotherhood and other Islamists, including those sympathetic to al-Qaeda, continues to be directed at one of the world's oldest Christian communities, following the military's break up last week of Brotherhood sit-ins.
Egypt's Copts and their churches are under siege as Islamists react to the military crackdown against pro-Muslim Brotherhood sit-ins.
No faction in Egypt had more to lose from the Muslim Brotherhood's Islamist rule than the 8 million or so Christian Coptic community, the Mideast's largest non-Muslim minority.
On June 23, Catholic Syrian priest Fr. François Murad was murdered in Idlib by rebel militias. How he was killed is not yet known and his superiors "vigorously deny" that he was a victim of beheading, as some news sources are claiming.
Pope Francis celebrated his first canonizations in the course of his Mass in St. Peter's Square last Sunday, giving the Catholic Church over 800 new saints. All but two (a Colombian nun and a Mexican nun) were the "martyrs of Otranto," who were beheaded for their faith after Turkish Muslims invaded their southern-Italian port city in 1480
Last week in Egypt, Coptic Orthodox Pope Tawadros II delivered an unprecedented condemnation of the escalating religious attacks there against Coptic Christians: "The church has been a national symbol for 2,000 years," he told a television interviewer.
In September 2005, a middle-aged woman was taken by state security officials from her home in North Korea's North Pyongan Province. She was put under arrest and taken to a local farm, where government officials had assembled in the threshing area to carry out her punishment.
Pope Francis I should be a strong defender of persecuted religious believers of all faiths. The world is in dire need of such leadership.
Tanzania is the latest in a growing number of African countries to be struggling with escalating Islamist terror. In this country of 45 million people, over 60 percent of whom are Christian, church leaders are the canaries in the coalmine. On Sunday, 55-year-old Catholic priest Father Evarist Mushi was shot dead by assailants on a motorcycle in front of Zanzibar's St. Joseph's Cathedral just before Sunday morning Mass. According to the Pontifical news agency Fides, local bishops and priests received a message claiming responsibility from a group calling itself "Muslim Renewal."
In Syria's rebellion, no religious or ethnic group has been spared horrific levels of loss and suffering, but its 2,000-year-old Christian minority is now facing a distinct persecution.