Egyptian Military accused of lying over denial of anti-Christian violence

October 25, 2011 by  
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The Egyptian military has denied rolling over Christian protestors

The Egyptian military has denied rolling over Christian protestors CC BY 2.0 / Gigi Ibrahim

Egypt, October 18, 2011: The Egyptian military has been accused of lying about its role in the violence that left at least 25 people dead last week after generals denied firing on Christian protestors and running over them in armoured vehicles.

Generals from the ruling Supreme Council of the Armed Forces blamed Christian protestors for the violence, accusing them of “savage” attacks on the military. At a press conference last Wednesday (12 October) Maj Gen Adel Emara denied troops opened fire at protestors, claiming that their weapons did not contain live ammunition. He also claimed that the military were “trying to avoid running into protestors, not rolling over them”.

His account has been challenged with compelling evidence to the contrary. Khaled Abdel-Hamid, a member of the Revolution Youth Coalition, said:

These are blatant lies. The witnesses and the video clips prove that there was monstrous suppression by the army of a peaceful protest.

Journalist Samwel el-Ashay added: At a certain point, things got out of hand and the armoured vehicles running around were actually rolling over protestors. I saw it with my eyes.

Autopsies and forensic reports also refute the military’s version of events; a third of the victims – most of whom were Christians – were killed by being run over by armoured vehicles, while two-thirds were shot with live ammunition.

Liberal political groups accused the military of lying about the violence and demanded criminal prosecution of the commander of the military police involved in the clashes.

As the military rulers seek to fend off growing criticism over the violence, the military prosecutor said that he will take over the investigation, effectively barring the civilian prosecutor from continuing his own enquiry. The move has been criticised by activists and rights groups, who said that the investigation would not be impartial.

State Media Criticised

Meanwhile, Egyptian state television has also come under fire for its part in fuelling the violent assault on Christian protestors. It has been accused of spreading false information and inciting violence against Christians. During the clashes, news readers appealed for “honest Egyptians” to protect their soldiers against Christian “mobs”, while the Christians were denounced as “sons of dogs”.

There have been calls for Information Minister Osama Heikal to resign. And last Thursday (13 October) hundreds of journalists, broadcasters and public media figures marched to the state TV building in Maspero to denounce the “sectarianism of the media”; they called for a clean-up of state TV.

Calls for Justice

Last Sunday’s protest was sparked by the torching of a church in Aswan Province on 30 September; it was the latest in a long line of violent anti-Christian incidents. Following the assault on Christian protestors, senior Egyptian Church leaders have made calls for all unresolved attacks on Christians and churches to be investigated and the perpetrators brought to justice.

The government has pledged to make changes to the laws regarding church buildings that many Christians feel are discriminatory and legitimise Muslim hostility towards them. But previous promises to lift the restrictions on church buildings have not been fulfilled. 

The leader of an Egyptian Church in the UK said that Egypt was at a “turning point” when the country can either embrace “positive reform and the building of a new Egypt … that instils a sense of citizenship, ownership and responsibility into every Egyptian”, or continue “leaving unlawful acts unresolved and unprosecuted, presenting one part of the community as a justifiable target, and continuing to drive a wedge between members of a single society, and this will lead to the demise of all… [I]t is Egypt that will weaken if Egyptians do not stand together, and if this unhealthy separation and discrimination continues.”

– barnabas team

Malaysian Muslims denounce Christian conversion efforts

October 25, 2011 by  
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Malaysian Muslims protest against what they say were attempts to evangelise Muslims, in Shah Alam, outside Kuala Lumpur October 22, 2011/Stringer

Malaysian Muslims protest against what they say were attempts to evangelise Muslims, in Shah Alam, outside Kuala Lumpur October 22, 2011/Stringer

Malaysia, October 22, 2011: About 2,000 slogan-shouting Malaysian Muslims gathered near the capital on Saturday to denounce alleged Christian attempts to convert Muslims, widening a religious rift that could cost Prime Minister Najib Razak minority votes in upcoming polls.

The rally led by non-governmental bodies comes amid an escalating row over accusations of covert conversions among Muslims and a raid on a Methodist church, which has divided Muslims and angered ethnic minorities.

Men, women and families gathered in a stadium in a suburb outside Kuala Lumpur to unite against what they said were attempts to evangelize Muslims, an offence in a country where over half the population follows Islam.

“We have gathered today to save the faith of Muslims due to the threat of apostasy,” Yusri Mohamad, chairman of the organising committee, told the crowd.

“Some people say they (non-Muslims) work hard to spread their religion and that there is nothing wrong with apostasy. These are the voices which we want to drown out with our gathering today.”

Ethnic Malays, who make up over half of the population, are Muslim by birth and constitutionally forbidden to leave the faith. Non-Muslims are guaranteed freedom of worship.

The protest follows a recent meeting in a church which was raided by Islamic authorities on suspicion of attempts to convert Muslims. The church said it was a charity meeting.

In keeping with Muslim tradition, men wearing skullcaps and women in traditional dress and headscarves sat separately in the stadium on Saturday as clerics delivered fiery speeches and urged followers to remain faithful.

Banners strung across the stadium read “Say no to apostasy, don’t challenge the position of Islam” and “Together let’s prevent apostasy”.

Religious singing groups entertained the crowd, while they chanted “Let’s gather to save the faith of Muslims” and “Allahu Akbar” (God is greatest).

“This gathering is good so that Muslims can unite because the recent raid on the church has raised fears about apostasy,” said Muhammad Basori Hassan, a trader in his 30s, who attended the protest.

The four-hour gathering was peaceful and the turnout was a fraction of the 10,000-strong crowd which took to the streets in July to demand electoral reforms, but analysts said it would have ramifications for Najib in the next general election.

Malaysia’s next election is not due until 2013 but many expect Najib to call one early next year before economic growth, projected at 5 percent in 2011, slows amid a possible global downturn.

Khoo Kay Peng, a political analyst, said the protest would only further stoke fears among minorities and would not garner new Malay support for the ruling Barisan Nasional coalition.

“For people who are already voting for Barisan Nasional, the gathering is preaching to the converted as there will always be fears by some that outspoken Chinese will erode Malay rights,” he said.

“Barisan needs instead to move to the centre and bridge the gap.”

Analysts say political parties have traditionally used race and religion to sway support in this multi-ethnic Southeast Asian country.

In recent years, ethic strife between Malays, Chinese and Indian minorities has inflamed racial tensions. But the squabble between Muslims and Christians has taken centerstage amid a rash of church bombings, the seizure of Bible shipments and legal action over the Christian use of the word “Allah”.

— reuters

Christians attacked in Maharashtra

October 25, 2011 by  
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Map of MaharashtraMaharashtra, October 24, 2011: Maharashtra police registered a case against three people after they have repeatedly launched an attack against the Christians in Virla , Sirja, Dhule district , Maharashtra.

According to information reaching EFI, alleged Hindu extremist Gupsingh Raya Paurane, Dev Das and Sai Singh have launched a series of attacks against the Christians. The first incident took place on July where the extremists verbally abused the Christians for their faith in Christ, accusing them of having more money than them after they have decided to follow Christ.

Again on Sept 2, the same extremist group barged into the Christian prayer meeting, verbally abused the Christians for their faith in Christ and hit one Christian, Raju Narayan, causing severe injury to his head. A compromise was reached between the two parties after the intervention of the village head with the Christians, subsequently, not filing any complaint against the assailants.

However, on Sept 7, the village head summoned the Christians for a meeting where the Christians were forced to kneel down before the idols and worship them. They were also told in clear terms that they cannot continue to follow Christ.

“The extremists continued to attack us whenever they found opportunities”, reported area Christian, Ram Balli. Again on Oct 8, at about 9:30, while the Christians were getting ready to sleep, the extremists stormed on them and started throwing stones at their houses, where one Christian woman, Meena Raju received severe injury on her head. She was admitted in a local hospital the next day.

Later that night, all the Christians in fear left the area and walked all the way to Shirpur police station which is 35 kms away from the village and filed a police complaint against the attackers.

On Oct 10, the enraged extremists, after learning that the Christians filed a police complaint against them went to houses of Balli and other Christians and started verbally abusing them. Gupsingh Paurane threatened the Christians that he will kill all of them and cut them off from the society if they continue to believe in Christ.

Balli ran to the police station for his life and other Christians family members also ran to hide themselves in the field. In the meantime, the extremists destroyed the houses of the Christians.

The EFI submitted a letter of complaint to the the National Commission for Minorities, (NCM) Government of India requesting them to look into the matter. The Vice President of the NCM, Dr. H.T Sangliana requested the Special Inspector General of Police, Maharastra State Police HQs to conduct an enquiry on the complaint immediately.

Subsequently, On Oct 19, Shirpur police-in-charge P.R. Gulate and his team went to the spot and investigated the matter. A case has been registered against Dev Das, Gupsingh Paurane and Sai Singh under Sections 323, 504,506 and 34 of the Indian Penal Code. The First Information Report (FIR) no. is 389/11.

– efi

Vandals attack schools

October 25, 2011 by  
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Miscreants attack two schools in Mangalore

Miscreants attack two schools in Mangalore

Karnataka, October 24, 2011: Assailants smash windows raising fears of renewed anti-Christian violence

Two schools were attacked by vandals in Mangalore yesterday, provoking widespread condemnation.

The unidentified attackers threw stones, bricks and soda bottles at St Theresa’s School managed by the Bethany nuns and at Padua College run by Mangalore diocese.

Sister Rose Celine, secretary of the Bethany Education Society, said three people rode up yesterday morning on a motorcycle and vandalized the school patron’s statue and some windows. They fled after being challenged by security guards, she added.

The nun said police have asked them to show calm and promised to arrest the attackers soon.

The school, opened in 1997, has more than 1,300 students from several faiths.

More than 200 parents visited the school to show their support, while management and the Parent Teachers Association (PTA) yesterday called a joint press conference to condemn the attack.

Nand Kishore, a Hindu and a PTA member, called the incident unfortunate and “highly to be condemned” because the school serves all.

Vandals also yesterday broke stained glass windows in Padua College’s chapel. Principal Father Michael Santhumayor believed the same attackers were behind both incidents.

The college that caters to more than 2,000 students was among the Church institutions targeted by Hindu extremists during anti-Christian violence in 2008.

St. Theresa’s School was previously attacked in 2007 and 2009.

– francis rodrigues

Colorful tribute to Mother Teresa

October 25, 2011 by  
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A painting of Mother Teresa by Ritu SinghWest Bengal, October 25, 2011: A Kolkata-based painter held a week-long solo exhibition on Mother Teresa in the City of Joy.

Ritu Singh documented Mother Teresa’s selfless work for the poorest of the poor through her 45 paintings executed over a period of almost 50 years. An artist and a long-time associate of Mother Teresa, Singh organized the exhibition to mark her 101st birth anniversary. Though the entire exhibition, which concluded yesterday, was a ‘shraddhanjali’ to Blessed Teresa, one of her paintings has an offering of flowers at Mother’s feet as she enters Singh’s home.

Viewers at the gallery were surprised to see Mother Teresa in a series of 12 paintings depicting the zodiac signs. Another painting has Mother Teresa amidst clouds to signify that she is leaving the world and going to heaven. A painting titled ‘Prarthana’ (prayer) captures Mother in a meditative mood wearing a crown of thorns.

“It is symbolic to show that she was surrounded by agony,” Singh said.

One of the paintings (Come Be My Light) was presented to Pope John Paul II at the Vatican on October 19, 2003, on the occasion of Mother’s beatification. Another painting shows the transformation of Mother Teresa from a stern sister running a school to an ever-smiling mother. All paintings are done in mixed media – ink, acrylic, pastel, charcoal and thin oil and make portraits of Mother come with a glaze finish.

“I grew up with Mother right from when I was a nine-year-old. It is a special mother-daughter relationship. Every day with the Mother was like a miracle,” Singh said.

“My mother would often accompany Mother Teresa to slums and I would be left behind at the Mother House, under the supervision of the sisters. I was always looked upon as Mother’s daughter. As I waited for my mother to return, I would sketch Mother and the sisters. That’s how I developed a passion for art and later took it up as a profession,” she added.

– cm paul

Story of Appreciation

October 20, 2011 by  
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Hands - Old & YoungOne young academically excellent person went  for an interview for a managerial position in a big company. He passed the first interview; BUT in that Company, the director did the last interview, and made the final decision.

The director discovered from the CV,  that the youth’s academic result was excellent all the way, from the secondary school until the postgraduate research, never was there  a year he did not score. The director asked,

“Did you obtain any scholarship in school?” and the youth answered “no”.

The director asked,

” Did your father pay  your school fees?”.

The youth answered,  “my father passed away when I was one year old and  it was my mother who paid my school fees”.

The director asked, ” Where did your mother work?”

The youth answered, “my mother worked as cloth cleaner.” The director requested the youth to show his hands and the youth showed a pair of hands that was smooth and perfect to the director.

The director asked, ” Did you ever help your mother wash  clothes before?”

The youth answered,” never, my mother always wanted me to study and read more books, furthermore, my mother could wash clothes faster than I could”

The director said, I have a  request, when you go back today, go and help to clean your mother’s hand, and then see me tomorrow morning.

The youth felt that the  chance of landing the job was high and when he went back, he happily wanted to clean his mother’s hands. His mother felt strange. With happiness mixed with fear, she showed her hands to the kid.

The youth cleaned his mother’s hands slowly and his tears fell as he did that.  It was the  first time he noticed that his mother’s hands  were so wrinkled, and that  there were  so many bruises in her hands. Some bruises were so painful that she shuddered when his  mother’s hands were cleaned with water.

This is the first time that the youth realized and experienced that it is this pair of hands that washed the clothes every day to earn him the school fees and that the bruises in the mother’s hand were the price that the mother paid for his graduation and academic excellence and probably his future.

After finishing the cleaning of his mother’s hands, the youth quietly washed  all the  remaining clothes for his mother.

That night, the mother and son talked for a very long time.

Next morning, the youth went to the director’s office.

The director noticed the tear in the youth’s eye and asked:

” Can you tell  what  you did and learnt yesterday in your house?”

The youth answered, ” I cleaned my mother’s hands and also finished washing all the remaining clothes’

The director asked, “Please tell me what you felt”

The youth said:

“Number 1, I know what  appreciation is now’. Without my mother, I would not be successful today.

Number 2, Now I know how to work together with my mother.  Only now do I realize how difficult and tough it is to get something done.

Number 3, I know the importance and value of family relationship.”

The director said, ” This is what I am asking, I want to recruit a person that can appreciate the help of others, a person who knows the suffering of others to get things done, and a person that would not put money as his only goal in life to be my manager. You are hired.

Later on, this young person worked very hard, and received the respect of his subordinates, every employee worked diligently and as a team and the company improved tremendously.

The Lessons from this anecdote:

A child who has been protected and habitually given whatever he needs, develops an “entitlement mentality” and always puts himself first. He is ignorant of his parents’ efforts. When he starts work, he assumes every person must listen to him, and when he becomes a manager, he would never know the suffering of  his employees and always blame others. These kinds of people, may/will achieve good results and  may be successful for a while, but eventually would not feel a sense of achievement or satisfaction. 

If we happen to be this kind of (protective) parent, this is the time to ask the question –  whether we  did/do love our kids or destroy them.

  • You can let your kid live in a big house, eat a good meal, learn to play the piano, watch a big screen TV but when you are cutting grass, please let them experience it.
  • After a meal, let them wash their plate and bowl together with their brothers and sisters.
  • It is not because you do not have money to hire a maid, but it is because you want to love and show them the correct way.
  • You want them to understand that no matter how rich their parent are, one day they will grow old, become weak and that their hair too will grow grey,.
  • The most important thing is for  your kid to learn how to appreciate, experience and learn the effort and ability needed to work with others to get things done. They should also value, appreciate what the parents have done and love them for who they are!

– fwd: samuel machado

Pope highlights need to harmonize business and family life

October 20, 2011 by  
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Pope Benedict XVIVatican, October 17, 2011: Pope Benedict XVI called for new ways of doing business, in keeping with the dignity of workers and their families, during an October 15 address to promoters of Catholic social doctrine.

“Family and work are privileged places for the construction of the vocation of man, collaborating in the creative work of God today,” he told the “Fondazione Centesimus Annus – Pro Pontifice,” a Vatican-based lay organization that spreads the Church’s social teaching around the world.

Its members met in Rome for a two-day conference on the relationship between family and business.

In his speech to the foundation, the Pope recalled how the Second Vatican Council “spoke of the family in terms of the domestic church, an ‘untouchable sanctuary’ where the person matures in affection, solidarity and spirituality.”

“The economy with its laws must always consider the interests and the protection of this primary cell of society,” the Pope noted.

His comments coincide with important anniversaries in the history of Catholic social teaching. Pope Leo XIII published the first modern encyclical on the topic, “Rerum Novarum,” 120 years ago in 1891.

Meanwhile, 2011 also marks 30 years since Blessed John Paul II’s family-centered apostolic exhortation “Familiaris Consortio,” and two decades since he addressed economic questions in the encyclical “Centessimus Annus”

Pope Benedict said that although “great changes have taken place in the world” since the days of Leo XIII, the Church “always promotes the human person and the family, in their context in life, even in business.”

He stressed the economy’s need for good families, observing that “it is primarily in the family that we learn the right attitude for living in society,” including the “world of work, economics, business.”

In these fields, he said, values from family life help people to be “led by charity, the logic of generosity, solidarity and responsibility for one another.”

Pope Benedict recognized that the present economic crisis has hit families hard. He highlighted his 2009 encyclical “Caritas in Veritate” as a guide to building a more humane society and economy, based on “a new harmonious synthesis between family and work.”

“It is not the task of the Church to define the ways to tackle the crisis,” the Pope acknowledged.

But Christians, formed by the Church’s teaching, have a duty “to denounce evil, to testify and to keep alive the values that underpin human dignity and to promote those forms of solidarity that promote the common good,” helping humanity become “more and more the family of God.”

– cna / ewtn news

Prelate advises high standards for nurses

October 20, 2011 by  
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Holy Cross coadjutor Archbishop Patrick D’Rozario addresses Catholic nurses at a seminar in Dhaka, Bangladesh

Holy Cross coadjutor Archbishop Patrick D’Rozario addresses Catholic nurses at a seminar in Dhaka, Bangladesh

Bangladesh, October 17, 2011:  An archbishop in Dhaka, Bangladesh, has urged Catholic nurses to uphold Church teachings and maintain good standards in their professional lives during a seminar held over the weekend.

Holy Cross Coadjutor Archbishop Patrick D’Rozario addressed 65 male and female nurses at the event marking World Standards Day on October 15 at the Catholic Bishops’ Conference of Bangladesh in the capital.

“Catholic nurses render pastoral care through their health service to patients. We thank you for your frontline contributions but would like to call upon you to deliver better services in line with Church teachings.”

The prelate further spoke about the general role of Catholics in the country’s health care institutions.

“The Church fully acknowledges your great efforts … and believes you can improve on the delivery of your services. I would like you to maintain and step up your efforts as we have seen in other institutions that standards have fallen.”

Archbishop D’Rozario told nurses to call on priests to administer pastoral care or the sacraments for their terminal patients and advised nurses of other faiths to do the same for their patients by calling on other religious leaders.

Teresa Rebeiro, 73, president of the Bangladesh Catholic Nurses Guild, said that while nurses in the country have improved their academic and technical proficiency, there is still a concern about a decline in the standards of health care.

“In various hospitals and clinics, Christian nurses have taken major roles and have earned a reputation for their service. If they work well, others will follow their lead.”

Fulkumari Rozario, 40, an attendee of the seminar and a practicing nurse, said the archbishop’s advice was useful.

“I have learned today that attending to a patient’s needs is more than a professional duty. It is also a spiritual duty. Even under unfavorable conditions, I will try to evaluate my patients’ states of mind more accurately and encourage others to do the same.”

There are about 12,000 Catholic nurses working in the country, and about 4,000 of them are employed in various health institutions in Dhaka, according to data from the guild.

– ucan

Deportation of U.S. evangelist ordered

October 20, 2011 by  
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US-based evangelist William Lee brought to court on Saturday after case was registered for violation of visa norms

US-based evangelist William Lee brought to court on Saturday after case was registered for violation of visa norms. File photo: Vipin Chandran

Kerala, October 18, 2011: The Ernakulam First Class Judicial Magistrate Court on Tuesday ordered the deportation of United States evangelist and preacher William Lee.

He was detained by the police for violating visa norms. The court also sentenced him to three-day imprisonment and imposed a fine of Rs.10,000 on him.

Mr. Lee, who arrived on a multiple-entry tourist visa valid till March 20, 2012, went into hiding after the police found him violating visa norms by addressing the gospel convention named ‘Musical Splash 2011,’ organised by Faith Leaders Church of God, Tiruvalla, at the Jawaharlal Nehru International Stadium, Kaloor, on October 12. He was arrested from a hotel in the city on October 15 and remanded till Tuesday. Mr. Lee was shifted to the Thrissur Government Medical College on Sunday after he complained of chest pain.

The magistrate said as the accused had served three-days in jail during remand period, he should be deported after getting permission from the District Collector.

– the hindu

Pope to host multi-faith meeting for peace

October 20, 2011 by  
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Pope to host multi-faith meeting for peaceVatican, October 19, 2011: Over 200 spiritual leaders, including Hindus, Muslims, Jains, Sikhs and Buddhists, will attend a multi-faith meeting being hosted by Pope Benedict on October 27 in Vatican to promote world peace, reports the Indian Express.

The pontiff is hosting the multi-faith meeting, begun by his predecessor Pope John Paul II, the Vatican said in a statement.

The spiritual leaders invited are from Hindus, Buddhists, Muslims, Sikhs, Confucianists, Baha’i, Jains, Jews, Taoists and Zoroastrian traditions.

Among the Hindu invitees are Mahatma Gandhi’s grandson Rajmohan Gandhi, who has already participated in an earlier meeting. Three Jains, five Sikhs and 67 Buddhists leaders are in the list of invitees.

Around 70 Muslim leaders, including from Iran and Saudi Arabia, will also be present on the occasion.

– ucan

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