Kenneth Bae, a U.S. citizen sentenced to 15 years of hard labor by North Korean officials for alleged plans to overthrow the government, has been moved to a medical facility due to his failing health, his sister told supporters during a vigil at a Seattle church over the weekend.
Terri Chung, speaking through tears during a vigil at Quest Church in Seattle, told about 100 people who came to pray for her brother's freedom and well-being on Saturday that she had been informed by Swedish officials, who represent the United States' interest in relations with North Korea, that Bae had been transferred to a hospital within the last two weeks.
Eugene Cho, the pastor of Quest Church who has been counseling Bae's family through their ordeal, shared on his blog that the Christian missionary was moved from his labor camp due to pre-existing health ailments, listed in previous reports as diabetes, heart problems and a fatty liver. Bae, 45 and born Pae Jun Ho, has reportedly lost 50 pounds since being sentenced in May. more >>
A spokesperson for the Coptic Church in Egypt said recently that the pope has canceled his weekly meetings at the Cairo cathedral due to his concern of increased hostility against Christian congregants.
"We fear that Pope Tawadros II might become a target of Islamist reprisal," Father Rafic Greiche, spokesman for the Coptic Church in Egypt, said in a recent statement. "In recent weeks, after the fall of the Morsi administration, attacks and acts of intimidation against the Christian minority have occurred on a daily basis," Greiche added.
As a precaution, Pope Tawadros II has canceled his weekly events at St. Mark's Cathedral in Cairo, out of concern that his congregation will be attacked by Islamic militants. The pope usually holds a weekly lecture series at the cathedral during which he discusses scripture with congregants, but this will be postponed until further notice. more >>
The family of Kenneth Bae, the Christian missionary and U.S. citizen who has been in prison for nine months in North Korea, is pleading for his release as they have received troubling news about his deteriorating health.
"He doesn't know how much longer his body can stand the physical labor," said Terri Chung, Bae's sister, according to the Associated Press. "Eight hours a day, six days a week in the fields – it's not the kind of thing the average American is used to."
Bae, who worked as a tour guide, was sentenced to 15 years of hard labor in North Korea supposedly for actions he had made against the government. The 45-year-old naturalized U.S. citizen, a father of three, apologized for any wrongdoing earlier this summer in a video message, and shared of the numerous health issues he struggles with, including diabetes, high blood pressure, fatty liver and a back problem. more >>
Dr. M. Zuhdi Jasser, vice chair of the United States Commission on International Religious Freedom (USCIRF), called on the State Department to reconsider Saudi Arabia's religious freedom violations and identified with Raif Badawi, a Saudi website editor who was sentenced to seven years in prison and 600 lashes on Monday
"Our goal is to highlight to the American people that the State Department can no longer give this indefinite waiver to Saudi Arabia," Dr. Jasser, author of A Battle for the Soul of Islam: An American Muslim Patriot's Fight to Save His Faith and president of the American Islamic Forum for Democracy, told The Christian Post in an interview Thursday.
According to the vice chair, Saudi Arabia "fits the textbook" of a Country of Particular Concern (CPC) in which religious liberty is violated. "If we were to write…how you would define a Country of Particular Concern that restricts religious freedom, Saudi Arabia would be the poster country," he said. more >>
The editor of a social media website in Saudi Arabia has been sentenced to seven years in prison and 600 lashes after officials determined his blog website to be "too liberal" and guilty of insulting Islam.
A Jeddah Criminal Court in Saudi Arabia found Raif Badawi, editor of the social media website "Free Saudi Liberals," guilty of violating the country's anti-cybercrime law by insulting Islam through his website and television. Badawi was arrested in June 2012 for his involvement with the site, but it took the court a year to determine him guilty.
The purpose of the "Free Saudi Liberals" website was to discuss and question the role of religion in the conservative Middle Eastern country. Badawi was also reportedly accused of apostasy, which carries the death penalty, although a judge agreed to lift that charge earlier in July when Badawi swore to the court that he was a Muslim. more >>
Multiple bomb explosions have rocked Nigeria's Christian-populated Sabon Gari district on Monday evening, killing at least a dozen people, according to local authorities in the northern city of Kano.
Multiple explosions hit the area around 9:00 p.m. local time in an area popular for entertainment that includes outdoor bars, music, and table tennis facilities, and which is highly populated by the city's Christian population. It is the same area previously attacked by militant Islamic group Boko Haram, which is fighting to make northern Nigeria a completely Islamic state and hopes to wipe out all signs of Christianity from the region.
Military Joint Task Force spokesman Lt. Ikedichi Iweha confirmed that 12 people died at the scene of the blasts, and "a couple" of other people were also wounded. He added that he blames Boko Haram for the attacks. more >>