Reports from various human rights organizations Tuesday indicate that Mohammad Ali Dadkhah, the human rights lawyer responsible for defending Iranian pastor Youcef Nadarkhani, has started serving a nine-year prison sentence for allegedly acting against national security and spreading propaganda.
The American Center for Law and Justice (ACLJ), which closely followed Pastor Nadarkhani's court case and is likewise following Dadkhah's case, says that because Dadkhah represents his clients free of charge, he is being accused of "aiding and abetting" in the alleged crimes of his clients.
"In a world where persecution on the basis of faith is escalating, we must also stand with those who defend our fundamental freedoms," Tiffany Barrans, International Legal Director for the ACLJ, told The Christian Post in an emailed statement. "As the world awakened to the realities of religious persecution in Iran when the masses fought for Pastor Youcef's freedom, we must now shift our attention to defend those who defend the persecuted." more >>
The Christian Post recently had the opportunity to travel to India to observe the work Christians are doing throughout the country to help empower a societal group that has been neglected for the better part of recorded human history. This is the first part of a four part series detailing their work.
"You were born in the image of God." For many Christians across the globe this is a well-known and common Biblical verse from Genesis 1:27, but for Kumar Swamy and his family this would be the most radical and life-changing message they had ever heard. Though the words are simple, the power contained in them was enough to have them dedicate themselves to Jesus in an instant and compel them to spend their lives fighting for the oppressed, as well as spreading His name to everyone who would listen. Swamy and his family are Dalits.
There are over 250 million Dalit men, woman and children who are abused, neglected and exploited in what is widely considered the world's largest human rights atrocity. Currently, there is an effort to empower Dalits with education and through the grace of Jesus Christ, but the greatest challenge is a suppressive socio-religious order which has been engrained into the psyche of the Indian people. more >>
Some groups are rejecting reports that China has banned forced abortion, asserting that the abhorrent practice is still a reality. Any rhetoric coming out of the Chinese government that it will no longer force women to abort is just that – rhetoric, the groups say.
"WRWF (Women's Rights Without Frontiers) agrees that pressure is mounting to end forced abortion in China. However, to announce that the Chinese government has already banned it is, in our opinion, premature and inaccurate," the California-based coalition stated this week. "We need to keep the pressure on, not celebrate propaganda designed to take the pressure off."
WRWF, which fights forced abortion and sexual trafficking in China, was rejecting a report from the group All Girls Allowed. AGA, which also fights abortion in China, had announced last week that officials from China's Population and Family Planning Commission recently issued an order to end forced abortions, particularly late-term abortions. more >>
The persecution watchdog group Open Doors USA plans to launch a prayer campaign to coincide with Ramadan, the month of fasting in the Islamic calendar, next week.
"During the season of Ramadan let us first lift up in prayer our brothers and sisters in Christ who live in Islamic-dominated nations, strengthening them, empowering them, comforting them and encouraging them," said Open Doors USA President/CEO Dr. Carl Moeller. "Also, pray for Muslims. There are millions of Muslims who have never experienced real peace and joy in knowing a loving God and having Jesus as their Savior."
Open Doors is offering a 30-day prayer calendar that will guide Christians through prayer points for persecuted Christians around the world. Day 19 on a past Ramadan Prayer Calendar read, for example, "For Takoosh, whose husband was killed by the Iranian government, Jesus' command to love her enemies was impossible. Hatred filled her heart … and then she prayed. From the depths of her heart love poured out releasing forgiveness." more >>
The Singapore government announced on Monday that it will soften some of its death penalty laws, particularly those related to drug offenses, but insisted that capital punishment will stand in the country. Some human rights groups say the changes do not go far enough.
"The death penalty has been an important part of our criminal justice system for a very long time, similar to the position in a number of other countries," said Deputy Prime Minister and Home Affairs Minister Teo Chee Hean.
"Singaporeans understand that the death penalty has been an effective deterrent and an appropriate punishment for very serious offenses, and largely support it. As part of our penal framework, it has contributed to keeping crime and the drug situation under control," he added, revealing that a review of the death penalty system had been going on since July 2011. more >>
NEW YORK – A new Arms Trade Treaty (ATT) seeking to end the illegal flow of weapons to terrorist organizations was brought to the table at during a press briefing at the United Nations on Tuesday, as diplomats from more than 100 countries meet this week to negotiate an international agreement.
Global peace and faith leaders were present at the July 3 press briefing, including a former child soldier turned bishop. The participants shared personal accounts of why world leaders and the U.S. government especially need to fully back new regulations on conventional arms and ammunition to address the growing loss of life in impoverished places affected by the illegal weapons trade.
"President Obama needs to promote this arms trade treaty. If he loves the innocent lives, women and children, then he needs to stand for this treaty, and the nation of American and all the nations of this world need to stand for this treaty," urged Bishop Elias Taban, President of the Sudan Evangelical Alliance, who shared at the briefing details of his life as a child soldier back in Sudan. more >>