President Barack Obama has been urged by the U.S. Commission on International Religious Freedom (USCIRF) to speak out on the extreme sectarian violence that has led to Christians being slaughtered in churches in Nigeria, following a meeting with Nigerian President Goodluck Jonathan.
"We respectfully urge you, Mr. President, to strongly address with President Jonathan the importance of the Nigerian government arresting and prosecuting the perpetrators of sectarian violence," USCIRF Chairman Robert P. George wrote to Obama on Monday before the meeting.
"The Nigerian government's overreliance on the use of force to tackle communal and Boko Haram violence and its failure to promote rule of law and human rights will only further destabilize this important ally." more >>
Naghmeh Abedini, the wife of U.S pastor Saeed Abedini, has personally delivered a letter pleading for her husband's release from prison to Iranian President Hassan Rouhani after a chance encounter in New York.
"The encounter occurred as Naghmeh was participating in an interview in the lobby of a New York hotel where she is staying. As it turns out, the Iranian delegation is also staying at the same hotel," Jordan Sekulow, executive director of the American Center for Law and Justice (ACLJ), shared in a press release on Monday.
"As Naghmeh was talking with a reporter, the Iranian delegation – with President Hassan Rouhani – walked through the lobby toward the elevators. Naghmeh approached the delegation and respectfully introduced herself to President Rouhani and speaking in Farsi asked him to release her husband who is imprisoned in Evin Prison because of his faith. She told the Iranian president's delegation she wanted to deliver a letter that Pastor Saeed had written to the president pleading for his release." more >>
Anglican leaders from across the globe have expressed sorrow for the victims of the bombing of an Anglican church in Pakistan in which more than 80 worshippers were killed and some 200 more were injured on Sunday.
Archbishop of Canterbury Justin Welby, head of the 77-million strong Anglican Communion, commented on Twitter about the tragedy at All Saint's Church in Peshawar.
"Peshawar bomb reveals depths of human evil, yet those suffering speak of forgiveness as well as justice. That is the love of Jesus shown," wrote Welby. more >>
Two Christians are among the 11 prisoners of conscience released earlier this week by Iran, which has also been called to release other detainees, including American Pastor Saeed Abedini.
"CSW welcomes the release of Maryam Jaiili and Mitra Rahmati, Nasrin Sotoudeh and the other prisoners. While this positive step by the Iranian government is to be commended, it is by no means sufficient given the vast number of political prisoners and prisoners of conscience," Christian Solidarity Worldwide Chief Executive Mervyn Thomas said in a statement.
"CSW continues to call for the unconditional release of all of these prisoners, including Farshid Fathi, Benham Irani, Saeed Abedini, Shahin Lahooti, the seven Baha'i leaders, and others who belong to religious minorities and have been unjustly detained." more >>
Since Egyptian President Mohammed Morsi was overthrown on July 3, his radical supporters have ruled the southern Egyptian city of Dalga, carrying out various attacks of vengeance against the city's 20,000 Christians, whom they blame for Morsi's overthrow. The military government took control of the city earlier this week, prosecuting the Islamists, but Christians fear the peace will be short-lived.
"The government and its forces are not going to be here for long and when they are gone we go back to living with Muslims, just us and them," Coptic Priest Father Ioannis told The Associated Press on Thursday.
"One day, all this police and army will go and we will have no one on our side," local Christian Sameer Hanna Tanyous said. more >>
The wife of an imprisoned Iranian-American pastor has stated that her husband has been bringing fellow inmates to Christ and that his time in an Iranian prison is "not in vain."
Naghmeh Abedini, wife of Pastor Saeed Abedini, told those gathered at Liberty University on Monday that though imprisoned in the infamous Evin Prison, her husband continues to evangelize. "He's been asked and tortured to deny his Christian faith and return to Islam and he has not," said Abedini, who said around 30 inmates have converted to Christianity due to Abedini's witness. "For me to know that so many of them now know Christ, it makes it worth it. I know his imprisonment is not in vain."
Abedini also told the students gathered that Saeed's torturers have often told him that he could go free should he return to Islam, but that he refuses to do so. "The kids and I desperately want him back but we're proud that over us he's chosen Christ, even over coming back to us, he's chosen to stand up for his faith," said Abedini. more >>