NEW YORK — A former Pakistani parliamentarian advocating for equal treatment for religious minorities back home claims life is sometimes hell for the Islamic Republic's Christian minorities, who are often victimized by blasphemy laws and bear the brunt of public resentment against Western nations like the United States.
"Due to our faith, we are persecuted. People are killing us, people are burning us, and people are putting us in jail. And (the) state (has) failed to protect the rights (of Christians) and (have failed in) their responsibility," said political and human rights activist Pervez Rafique. "The state doesn't have any solid and concrete policy and agenda and plan to protect marginalized and persecuted Christians and other non-Muslims in Pakistan."
Rafique, a former minority member of parliament representing the Pakistan People's Party in Punjab, worked alongside Shahbaz Bhatti, the Christian minorities minister who was assassinated in 2011, as a chief coordinator for All Pakistan Minorities Alliance. At the time of transition prompted by Bhatti's murder, a clash with the former leader's family members forced Rafique and supporters to leave the organization he had served for more than 10 years. Since then, Rafique has helped found another group, with a similar name, the All Pakistan Minorities Alliance-Founders, which in combination with the PAK Christian Fellowship, represents around 25,000 people, he told The Christian Post. more >>
The FBI has joined in the investigation of the hanging death of Otis James Byrd, 54, who was found dead on Thursday in Mississippi.
Byrd went last seen on March 2, and his family filed a report with Claiborne County just six days later. However, his body was not found until Thursday, when the Claiborne County Sheriff's Department and Mississippi Wildlife Fisheries and Parks Department conducted a ground search. He was found "hanged to death a half mile from his last known residence." Bed sheets had been used to hang the body.
The NAACP has requested that the U.S. Department of Justice classify the "suspicious hanging" as a hate crime and "join the current investigation." more >>
The American Family Association, a Christian activist organization, has started a boycott against Planet Fitness gyms because of its "all-inclusive" policy that allows self-reporting transgenders to use locker and shower rooms designated for the opposite sex.
The AFA launched a movement on Tuesday calling on members of Planet Fitness, which has over 900 locations nationwide, to drop their gym memberships and email or call the CEO, Chris Rondeau, to inform him that the company's "all-inclusive" transgender locker room policy puts women and girls in danger.
Randy Sharp, AFA's director of special projects, appeared on Bryan Fischer's "Focal Point" show on American Family Radio to discuss the boycott. He said it's important that franchise owners feel the financial impact of enforcing such a "bad policy." more >>
Associate Counsel Matthew Clark of the American Center for Law and Justice has said that he hopes the U.N. Human Rights Council will take up the case of pastor Saeed Abedini, who is serving an eight-year sentence for his Christian faith in Iran.
"The Human Rights Council Working Group looked at the facts, they looked at the evidence and they came to the independent conclusion, as we have, that his detention is arbitrary, that it is in violation of international law and that he should be freed," Clark said, according to One News Now, commenting on the oral intervention last week by its international affiliate, the European Centre for Law and Justice, before the Human Rights Council in Geneva.
"So the U.N. is taking steps to put out there exactly what is happening and what action needs to be taken by the Iranian government to free him." more >>
Missouri executed a man lawyers argued was incompetent due to an accident that left him with 20 percent of his brain removed.
Cecil Clayton, 74, was put to death at 9:13 p.m. after his attorney attempted to spare his life by filing last-minute appeals to the U.S. Supreme Court. However, the court and Gov. Jay Nixon denied Clayton clemency and he was given a lethal injection.
Clayton's case became nationally known because of the fact that he had significant brain damage after an accident at a sawmill which led to 20 percent of his frontal lobe being removed. His lawyers argued that Clayton was left without impulse control and the ability to do simple tasks. more >>
Evangelical author and former vice president of Liberty University, Johnnie Moore, asserted in a book to be published in April, that Western Christians don't care enough about the threat posed by the Islamic State, which is attempting to wipe out Christianity in the Middle East.
"I am convinced that one of the reasons why Christians in the West haven't been more supportive of Christians in the East is not that they don't care about the situation, they just chose not to care for it," Moore asserted in a Monday interview with The Christian Post. "It is just not relevant to their lives. Everybody has their own lives, and their own problems, and their own jobs, and kids and all these things."
Moore traveled to the Kurdish region of Northern Iraq last October to hear first-hand accounts from refugees on how barbarically ISIS treated Christians when it took over much of its territory in Syria and Iraq last summer. Afterwards he was inspired to write his new book, Defying ISIS, so that westerners can fully grasp the magnitude of what ISIS' rise to power means for the future of Christianity in the region. more >>