Human Rights Watch, an international non-governmental organization, has called on the Indonesian president to adopt a "zero tolerance" method to attacks on religious minorities.
In its report "In Religion's Name: Abuses against Religious Minorities in Indonesia," HRW criticizes President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono for failing to protect religious minorities from growing religious intolerance and violence.
HRW says that such violence is "on the rise" in the world's biggest Muslim-majority nation. more >>
An Egyptian primary school student was prevented by the headmistress from taking a school photo with her classmates because her hair was not covered with a veil, sparking outrage among numerous groups in the region.
Heba Mohamed was set to take some photos with her classmates after receiving a certificate of appreciation for her excellence in Karate.
Even though the girl was greatly looking forward to the event, the headmaster of Alexandria's Asmaa Bint Abu Bakr Primary School reportedly prevented her from taking part with her friends as she does not wear a veil. more >>
Naghmeh Abedini, the wife of Pastor Saeed Abedini, who is currently serving an 8-year sentence in Tehran, Iran, has written a long letter describing the ordeal of their experience, saying that it is a real human story that crosses political and religious barriers.
"This nightmare and the plea for my husband's life should cross religious and political barriers," Nagmeh writes in her letter, posted by the American Center for Law and Justice, which is representing her and the couple's two children, living in Idaho.
The Iranian-born pastor has been inside Evin Prison in Tehran ever since his arrest in September 2012 and his subsequent sentencing. The Iranian court convicted him of endangering national security, but the ACLJ says that the real reason behind the trial was that Abedini has helped many Christians in underground churches in Iran since his conversion to Christianity in 2000. more >>
Dozens of Egyptian Christians were arrested Wednesday in Libya under charges of proselytization.
The arrests were reported by the Facebook page "Yes to Secularism in Libya," where a video was uploaded showing a group of Coptic Christians crowded into a room, after having their heads shaved by authorities.
In the video a Salafi man accuses them of proselytization and shows religious images allegedly created by the Copts. more >>
In a rare instance in Pakistan, a judge granted bail to a pastor accused of blaspheming Islam because the complainant admitted that he had mistakenly accused him, attorneys said.
Karma Patras, a 55-year-old pastor of Bado Malhi, Sangla Hill, had been languishing in Sheikhupura District Jail since October after preaching on Christ's sacrifice at a funeral attended manly by Christians. Some Muslims present thought he was speaking against the Islamic animal slaughter ritual observed at the time, and Patras was confused when police showed up at his home later that day (Oct. 13) and arrested him on charges of defaming Islam.
Victims of false accusations of blasphemy in Pakistan usually spend months in jail without trial, and then many more months after conviction; if charges are dismissed, it does not usually happen until cases reach appeal, as most trial judges cannot withstand the pressure of furious Islamic extremists. Retraction of an accusation is also rare in Pakistan. more >>
The murderers of a 65-year-old Christian in Pakistan are not likely to face justice in this world.
A miasma of political and religious dynamics makes it unlikely. A Pakistani court has ordered a judicial inquiry into the death Niyamat Masih, who died in police custody from torture. Officers tortured him to extract information about whereabouts of a Muslim woman who had eloped with his son.
The physical examination done only a day before Masih's death, and an autopsy report, show possible connivance between police and the medical authorities that issued these reports. Both reports fail to mention marks of violence, though photos taken after Masih's death clearly show signs of torture. more >>