Conflicting news reports surrounding the fate of Father Thomas Uzhunnalil, a Catholic priest kidnapped by the Islamic State terror group and believed to have been crucified on Good Friday, have given hope that he might still be alive.
Although Austrian news reports said the Archbishop of Vienna, Cardinal Christoph Schönborn, claimed during Easter vigil mass that the 56-year-old priest has been killed, Bishop Paul Hinder of Southern Arabia announced earlier this week that he has "strong indications that Fr. Tom is still alive in the hands of the kidnappers."
Hinder reportedly told Catholic News Agency that his hopes remain high that Uzhunnalil has not been killed, though could not give any further information in order to protect the life of the priest. more >>
White House Press Secretary Josh Earnest claimed Sunday's suicide bombing targeting Easter-celebrating Christians in Pakistan that killed 72 people and injured hundreds had more Muslim than Christian victims.
After the United States State Department failed to mention in its statement following the Taliban-linked bombing in a children's park in Lahore that the attack was targeted at Christians, Earnest admitted the attack specifically targeted Christians, but was quick to shift attention to the Muslim victims.
President Barack Obama has habitually shied away from acknowledging religious motivations behind terror attacks that happen around the world, and often points out that Muslims are victimized by radical Islamic terror just as much, if not more than religious minorities. more >>
"God's Not Dead 2" actress Melissa Joan Hart said that one of the reasons American Christians are interested in the upcoming film is because they feel their faith is being trampled on.
Hart also reflected that in her early TV days she was criticized by some Christians for playing a teenage witch, but is now receiving criticism from the other end of the spectrum for playing a strong Christian woman who stands up for her faith.
"For the longest time, while I played a witch on television [on 'Sabrina, The Teenage Witch'], the Christian community attacked me for popularizing the magic aspects on that secular TV show," Hart said in an interview, according to Chicago Sun Times. more >>
American Pastor Saeed Abedini, who spent three and a half years in prison for his Christian faith in Iran, has responded to the terror attacks in Pakistan Easter Sunday by arguing that it's a "lie" to believe Islam is peaceful.
Meanwhile, Muslim leaders around the world condemned the suicide blasts in Lahore that killed at least 72 people, insisting that terror does not represent Islam.
Abedini, who is the Exclusive Director of Saeed Ministries, posted on Facebook Monday: "If Muslims say: we are peaceful, 'it's a lie.' The Qur'an teaches that Muslims must fight and kill (Jihad) unbelievers. 'Wherever you overtake them' until 'religion is Allah's,' i.e. Islamic law rules all societies (2.Sura Al _Baqarah(Cow) 2:190-193). Regarding to the Qur'an's verse, Christians and Jews are included to make them Muslim or kill them in entire the world." more >>
Thailand has blocked the entry of humanitarian agencies into brutal detention centers, where Pakistani Christians who have fled religious persecution in their own country are being kept, after a BBC report revealed the mistreatment of asylum seekers in this Southeast Asian country.
Family members and humanitarian agencies are no longer allowed to visit Pakistani Christian detainees — some of whom are expecting mothers, old people, disabled and with severe health condition requiring regular medical attention — who have been lodged in "brutal immigration detention centres," says the British Pakistani Christian Association in an online petition.
Days before Easter Sunday, more than 20 family members and humanitarian workers sought to provide food for malnourished detainees but they were not allowed access to the detention centers, the petition says. more >>
Pakistani Christian families are burying their deceased children and other family members following the deadly suicide bomb attack on Easter Sunday at a park in Lahore, which killed close to 72 people, mostly women and children.
Christian pastors, along with parents of the victims, have accused the central government of not doing enough to protect Christians from radical terror that continues to take the lives of innocent victims.
"The government has proved it cannot keep people safe so the army should take over security," said Pastor Shakil Anjum of the Children's Chapel, according to the Guardian. "They have strengthened security at our churches but now terrorists are coming to public spaces to kill us." more >>