Pakistan's opposition parties protested and international human rights groups condemned the death penalty given to a Christian sanitation worker about a year after he was accused of blasphemy.
The Pakistan Tehreek-i-Insaf party and the Pakistan People's Party on Friday strongly protested in parliament the sentencing of 27-year-old Sawan Masih, who was convicted of insulting the Prophet Muhammad while conversing with a Muslim friend in the eastern Lahore city's Joseph Colony in March last year.
Ghulam Murtaza Chaudhry, additional session judge of Lahore, sentenced Masih to death Thursday, saying he "must be hanged and fined," Reuters quoted the lawyer of the accused, Nameem Shakir, as saying. The sentencing includes a fine of Rs.200,000 (roughly U.S. $2,050). more >>
Brian C. Houston, leader of one of the world's largest Christian churches, is denying allegations that he promotes "Chrislam," a theological blend of Christianity and Islam, after stating in a December 2013 sermon, "Do you know – take it all the way back into the Old Testament and the Muslim and you, we actually serve the same God. Allah to a Muslim, to us Abba Father God."
With a firestorm raging online among his critics for more than a week, the influential Sydney, Australian pastor of the 30,000-member Hillsong Church finally issued a statement Thursday night (or late Friday morning his time) regarding allegations that he was promoting "Chrislam."
"The spirit of the message was exactly the opposite of what some critics are claiming. If you listened to the message in its entirety, my point was that; who a Muslim extremist believes God is, determines what they believe God does, and what they believe God loves," Pastor Houston insists in the statement, titled "Correction of Misinformation," which can be read in full below. more >>
First Lady Michelle Obama has been criticized by a women's rights group for failing to speak out during her week-long visit to China against forced abortions and human rights abuses.
"I am extremely disappointed that Mrs. Obama has deliberately ignored egregious women's rights abuses while in China," said Reggie Littlejohn, president of Women's Rights Without Frontiers, on Wednesday. "Mrs. Obama has positioned herself as an international women's leader. She could have done so much good if she had been willing to use her position to advance women's rights in a nation that tramples them.
"Mrs. Obama has chosen to ignore the intense suffering of hundreds of millions of women who have been victims of forced abortion, involuntary sterilization, gendercide and sexual slavery." more >>
Male university students in North Korea have reportedly been ordered to get the same haircut as leader Kim Jong Un, according to new state-sanctioned guidelines introduced by Pyongyang two weeks ago.
"Our leader's haircut is very particular, if you will," one source reportedly told Radio Free Asia on Tuesday. "It doesn't always go with everyone since everyone has different face and head shapes."
Relatives of passengers on the missing Malaysia Airlines Flight 370 have clashed with police outside Malaysia's embassy in Beijing, demanding answers and questioning officials on Monday who declared that the missing plane had crashed and that their loved ones were dead.
"I'm so mad," one unidentified family member shared with reporters on Tuesday. He added that there is "no evidence" that Flight 370 crashed in the Indian Ocean.
"If you find something: OK, we accept," he said. "But nothing -- just from the data, just from analysis." more >>
"Veil of Tears," a riveting documentary from Gospel for Asia that is yet to be released, tells the untold stories of millions of women in South Asia who face oppression simply because of their gender. Dr. K. P. Yohannan, founder and international director of GFA, said the film not only shows the intense suffering, but the hope these women can find when they understand that they are valued in the eyes of God.
"One of the most obvious problems in this area is that the most unreached, untouched, neglected, suffering humanity in our world is women in Asian nations," Yohannan told The Christian Post. "For example, India alone has 46 million widows. That means a girl could be 18, 19, 20 or 30, and when her husband dies, in many places that's the end of their life. Many of them end up in despair."
He talked about an island off of the coast of West Bengal known as the "Widow's Island." Seventy-five percent of the people that live on that island are women who don't have husbands and they have no hope – they have been rejected and abused, Yohannan said. more >>