A court in Egypt has quietly found two Coptic Christian boys guilty of "showing contempt for Islam" but only remanded them to the custody of their parents, an attorney for one of the children said.
In a case of alleged blasphemy that inflamed passions in provincial Egypt, a judge in Beni Suef, 62 miles south of Cairo, ruled the two boys guilty of desecrating pages of the Koran in spite of conflicting statements by the accuser and doubts about the functionally illiterate boys' capacity to identify Koranic verses, attorney Karam Ghoubrial said.
The judge cited the boys' age in the light sentence; they were 9 and 10 at the time of the Sept. 30 incident. By issuing a guilty verdict in near secrecy on Feb. 4 – the ruling came to light only the past week – and declining to hand down prison time or a fine, the judge seems to have averted foreign criticism while quelling the anger of Muslim villagers. more >>
In Mubi in northeastern Nigeria, Christians do not dare step out of their homes after 8 p.m., church leaders say. And many Christians are too afraid of Islamic extremist attacks to attend church services.
This month suspected members of the Islamic extremist group Boko Haram killed eight members of a Church of the Brethren (Ekklesiyar Yan'uwa a Nigeria, or EYN) congregation outside Mubi, among others – the latest in a series of attacks in or near the town in Adamawa state bordering Cameroon.
"The crisis has created a lot of hardship for Christians, as even movement to eke out a living is restricted," said the Rev. Daniel Yumuna, a district secretary of the EYN. "Businesses of our church members have all collapsed because they face attacks regularly, and living generally has been made very difficult here not only for our church members but for all other Christians in this part of the country." more >>
Suspected Islamic extremists in Somalia shot a Christian to death this month on the outskirts of the coastal city of Kismayo, sources said.
Two masked men killed Ahmed Ali Jimale, a 42-year-old father of four, on Feb. 18 at 1 p.m. as he stood outside his house in Alanley village, near a police station, they said. The killers were suspected to be members of the Islamic extremist Al Shabaab, a rebel militia ousted from the area four months ago but still engaging in hit-and-run tactics. A few of the four rival clans in Kismayo, 328 miles southwest of Mogadishu, are said to be housing members of Al Shabaab.
A businessman, teacher and medical consultant well-known in the area, Jimale ran a pharmacy in Kismayo. He would give private lessons on medicine and first aid, and as an underground Christian – as are all Christians in Somalia – he highlighted the teaching with discussions comparing the Bible and the Koran, sources said. more >>
An important anti-slavery bill is heading to President Barack Obama's desk after the U.S. House of Representatives voted on Thursday to pass the Trafficking Victims Protection Reauthorization Act (TVPRA), aimed at tackling the $32 billion trafficking enterprise.
"This is an important step toward freedom for the millions of women, men and children around the globe who are trafficked into forced labor and sex slavery each year," said David Abramowitz, Director of ATEST and Vice President for Policy & Government Relations, Humanity United, one of the groups backing the Senate-approved bill.
"We applaud Senators Leahy and Rubio for their steadfast leadership in the fight against modern slavery and we look forward to seeing President Obama sign this cornerstone anti-trafficking measure into law." more >>
In what many are already deeming a landmark decision, Canada's highest court has ruled that laws placing legal limits on inflammatory speech will remain on the books.
The Supreme Court of Canada ruled unanimously Wednesday that "hate speech" laws are a constitutionally valid limitation on free speech in the country albeit with the proper process in place.
Don Hutchinson, vice president and General Legal Counsel with The Evangelical Fellowship of Canada, intervened on the case, known as Saskatchewan Human Rights Commission v. William Whatcott. more >>
Lawyer Dalia Zakhari, a human rights activist, has criticized the silence of the Egyptian presidency regarding the unlawful detention of Egyptian Copts in Libya on charges of proselytizing.
When Brotherhood members were arrested and detained in the UAE, the presidency sent a high level delegation, headed by Essam el-Haddad, assistant to the president, to negotiate their release.
In remarks to MCN, Zakhari expressed surprise that the arrested Christians were accused of proselytizing, as Libyan law does not criminalize proselytizing. She stressed those arrested are ordinary people who own the Bible for blessing, not for preaching. more >>