A Christian pastor accused of blasphemy was shot dead by police in a Pakistani jail in Rawalpindi. A persecution watchdog group has said this is the latest incident of blasphemy laws being used to commit human rights violations.
"This is a barbaric act," Xavier Williams of Life for All told The Express Tribune. "There had been threats. The court should have instructed police to ensure Bhatti's safety."
Zafar Bhatti had been imprisoned at Adiyala jail since 2012, The Express Tribune reported. His 70-year-old cellmate, Muhammad Asghar, who has a history of mental illness, was wounded in the shooting attack. Asghar has also been accused of blasphemy in the heavily Muslim country. The men had been receiving death threats both from guards and fellow prisoners. more >>
Biblica, a major Bible publishing and translating nonprofit organization, has named former Open Doors USA Chief Executive Officer Dr. Carl A. Moeller as its new CEO this week.
Moeller succeeds outgoing CEO Doug Lockhart as Biblica continues its third century of ministry. He takes the position by unanimous vote from the organization's board of directors effective Oct. 14.
"Biblica has been doing kingdom work for over 200 years — providing Bibles for those who don't have any and helping those who do to experience them more deeply," Moeller said. "I am so thrilled to be joining this incredible global ministry." more >>
U.S. Sen. Ted Cruz, R-Texas, issued an apology for saying in a recent interview that critics of his pro-Israel comments at an ecumenical In Defense of Christians summit earlier this month only "care" about persecuted Christians when it comes with an "anti-Israel narrative."
"It was a mistake to suggest that critics of my remarks at IDC had not spoken out previously concerning the persecution of Christians; many of them have done so, often quite eloquently," Cruz said Thursday. "It was not my intent to impugn anyone's integrity, and I apologize to any columnists who took offense."
In an interview with World Magazine last weekend, the outspoken Tea Party Republican explained his side of the Sept. 10 mishap that forced him to end his keynote speech early at the In Defense of Christian's Inaugural Summit in Washington, D.C. The IDC was created to promote awareness of persecuted Christians in the Middle East. Christian groups from Jordan, Syria, Lebanon and Palestine were in attendance. Cruz's statement that Christians have no greater ally than Israel was met with boos from a small portion of the approximately 1,000 in attendance. more >>
A journalist with close ties to the Turkish President Recep Tayyib Erdogan claims that two "very important" imprisoned Islamic State members were freed by the Turkish government as part of the trade that caused ISIS, also known as ISIL, to release 49 hostages whom returned to Turkey on Saturday.
With Erdogan appearing before the Council on Foreign Relations on Monday in New York, many wondered how he and the Turkish government had gotten ISIS to free the hostages it secured when the group seized the Iraqi city of Mosul in June. Erdogan was asked about the hostages but gave vague responses providing nothing more than hints leaving many unanswered questions about what exactly Turkey gave up in return to the barbaric terrorist group that doesn't normally just willing let go of large groups of hostages.
Initial hopes that the Nigerian army had managed to free some of the over 200 schoolgirls kidnapped from the town of Chibok in April by terror group Boko Haram were dashed after the army retracted an earlier statement.
BBC News reported on Tuesday that the military had initially said that some of the girls were freed, but Army spokesman Major General Chris Olukolade later said that the girls that are in custody are not those from Chibok, as originally thought.
The international community has rallied behind the schoolgirls, who were taken by Islamic extremists who said they were going to sell them off as child brides. more >>
Over 100 Christians, including children, were arrested during a major house church raid on Sunday in Foshan city in China's Guangdong Province. Close to 200 police officers stormed in during the service, eyewitnesses said, believed to be part of a large-scale crackdown on Christians in the country.
"We don't know exactly why they raided our church," a local believer told watchdog group International Christian Concern, which has been keeping track of the rising tide of persecution in China. "The government does not want us to get together and worship as a church."
Worshipers said that the church was raided without any warning, and that police only left behind a notice stating that people were detained for an "illegal gathering." More than 30 parishioners reportedly still remain in custody. more >>