Washington – A religious freedom-themed panel organized by a liberal group stated Monday that the American left should focus more on the issue of persecution of Middle Eastern Christians.
Experts brought together by the Center for American Progress spoke of the need to spread awareness on the plight of Christian communities in the Middle East. Marwan Kreidie, professor at Villanova University's Center for Arab & Islamic Studies, told The Christian Post that "progressive organizations" have not effectively grasped the religious component of the Middle East.
"The Middle East is all based on sectarianism, so religion is going to be a way of life," said Kreidie, adding that Americans should play "a more dynamic and more thoughtful role" in the region. more >>
When President Obama visits Saudi Arabia next week, he will have an opportunity to follow through on his inspiring words at the Feb. 6. National Prayer Breakfast. There, he told thousands of Christian leaders that "the right of every person to practice their faith how they choose" is central to "human dignity," and so "promoting religious freedom is a key objective of U.S. foreign policy."
The freedom so central to human dignity is denied by the Kingdom. The State Department has long ranked Saudi Arabia among the world's most religiously repressive governments, designating it a "Country of Particular Concern" under the International Religious Freedom Act. Yet the Obama administration, like its predecessors, has not pressed Riyadh to respect religious freedom.
Saudi Arabia is the only state in the world to ban all churches and any other non-Muslim houses of worship. While Saudi nationals are all "officially" Muslim, some two to three million foreign Christians live in the kingdom, many for decades. They have no rights to practice their faith. The Saudi government has ignored Vatican appeals for a church to serve this community, despite the fact that in 1973 Pope Paul VI approved a proposal for the Roman city council to donate city lands for a grand mosque in Rome. The mosque, opened in 1995, is among the largest in Europe. more >>
President Vladimir Putin said Tuesday Crimea is part of Russia in people's hearts and minds after signing a treaty recognizing the Ukraine's region as an independent state, despite the United States and Europe imposing new sanctions on Russia's senior political and military leaders.
"In the hearts and minds of people, Crimea has always been and remains an inseparable part of Russia. This commitment, based on truth and justice, was firm, was passed from generation to generation," said Putin, in an address to a joint session of parliament Tuesday after approving a draft treaty to make Crimea part of Russia, Reuters reported.
"Crimea is our common property and a very important factor in the stability of the region," Putin said, according to The Wall Street Journal. "This strategic territory should be under a strong, sovereign state and that in fact can only be Russia." more >>
Franklin Graham, president and CEO of the Billy Graham Evangelistic Association, recently applauded Russian President Vladimir Putin for opposing the advancement of the LGBT agenda in his country.
In a Decision Magazine editorial published on Feb. 28, the day that Russian troops first entered in Crimea, Graham claimed he was "not endorsing President Putin," but that the former KGB officer was "right on these issues."
"Obviously, he may be wrong about many things, but he has taken a stand to protect his nation's children from the damaging effects of any gay and lesbian agenda," he said. more >>
Three Christian villages were burned down in an attack Friday night in Nigeria's Kaduna state, with reports stating that more than 100 people were "hacked and burned to death," allegedly by Muslim gunmen.
"We are still picking bodies out of the bush, but so far there are more than 100 killed," said Daniel Anyip, vice chairman of the Kaura local government authority, according to Reuters.
Chenshyi village chief Nuhu Moses revealed that the entire village was burned down, with gunmen having killed more than 50 people. more >>
U.S. President Barack Obama told Russian President Vladimir Putin Sunday that the "referendum," in which voters in Ukraine's Crimea peninsula allegedly supported joining Russia, will "never" be recognized and preparations were on to impose "additional costs" on Russia for its actions.
Of the 1.5 million eligible voters in the Crimean referendum Sunday, more than 80 percent came out to vote. Officials said a total of 95.5 percent of them supported joining Russia and leaving Ukraine, according to BBC.
Speaking to Putin, Obama said the referendum, which violates the Ukrainian constitution and occurred under duress of Russian military intervention, will never be recognized by the United States and the international community, according to a White House release. more >>