12 Muslim women among top 200 women nominees of #100women achievers contest of ministry of women & child development

December 8, 2015 by  
Filed under newsletter-india

Nepali Muslims womenNew Delhi, December 06, 2015: The Ministry of Women and Child Development (MWCD), in collaboration with Facebook, have announced the #100Women initiative that seeks to recognize and acknowledge women who are making a difference in their communities, across the country.

12 Muslim women’s across the country have made it to the list of top 200 women nominees who were shortlisted by a jury constituted by MWCD in categories ranging from education, sports to women empowerment.

The Voting for the #100Women Achievers’ Contest has begun on MWCD Facebook page from December 3 to 20, 2015.

Through this initiative, the Ministry claims to acknowledge and recognize the women who have contributed to the community and nation building, and their achievements may have gone unsung.

The winners are expected to be invited to join a reception by the Ministry of Women and Child Development around the coming Republic Day.

In Agriculture and Animal Husbandry category Sainaba Yousuf from Palakkad, Kerala is one of the nominees. She has contributed to enhancing the livelihood opportunities in agriculture, animal husbandry and promoted sustainable farming.

Disability and advantage: Women’s who have contributed to the upliftment of the persons living with physical and mental disabilities, HIV/AIDS, and vulnerable disadvantaged groups.

Dr Shaik Abdul Thasleem Sultana from Renigunta, Andhra Pradesh: She has rehabilitated scores of physically and mentally challenged children at the district level.

Education: Women’s who have contributed to the lives of the community by promoting education and improving access to quality education.

Suraiya Bano from Bhilai, Chattisgarh : She has been honoured with national and international awards for her extra ordinary work in the stream of educational practices in the country.

Zainab Khan from Meerut, Uttar Pradesh : She transformed her life from child labor into an advocate of education for girls in her block at school. MPs from all over country applauded her efforts which led her to HT Woman Awards.

Rehana Rehaman from Shapur, Uttar Pradesh: A crusader on foot who went from home to home to educate the muslim girl child.

Environment, forests and wildlife: Women’s who have contributed to protection and conservation of environment, forests and wildlife.

Sumaira Abdul Lali from Mumbai, Maharashtra: She pioneered and led campaign against the serious health and environmental hazard of noise pollution and brought it into the public consciousness of Mumbai and India.

Rashida Bee from Bohpal, Madhyapradesh : Award Winning and tireless voice of Bohpal Gas victims.

Sports : Women’s who have contributed to society or promoted social issues through achievement in sports Parssa naqvi from Lucknow, Uttar Pradesh: She succeeded against the odds when she became a professional badminton player. She came across social stigma and traveled alone across countries, and competed with men’s to get hone her craft.

Women in Public Life: Women Achiever in Politics, bureaucracy, governance, administration and local self governance.

Nazneen Ansari from Varanasi, Uttar Pradesh: She is a 22 year old Muslim women from an unlettered family of weavers is the first social campaigner who translated Ramayana into Urdu.

Mumtaz Kazi from Mumbai, Maharashtra : She holds Limca book of records for being the first women diesel engine driver, including driving a train.

Azeena Khan from Jaipur, Rajasthan: She is bearer of her family legacy in Rajasthan. She distributes newspapers, continuing her family legacy from the age of 9 riding through the city early morning.

Women’s empowerment: Women who have contributed towards encouraging other women to hold leadership roles and promoting them in decision making.

Begum Shehnaz, Lucknow, Uttar Pradesh: She has been involved in this field since last 21 years. President of NGO Bazm-e-Khwateen, she has supported women in all frontiers social, economic or legal.

– tcn

Despite ISIS, American church still ignorant about christian persecution, expert says

December 8, 2015 by  
Filed under newsletter-asia

ISISWashington, December 4, 2015: Americans remain largely ignorant and indifferent toward the plight of Christians overseas despite headlines featuring ISIS’ violence, argued an expert on religious liberty.

Timothy Samuel Shah, associate director of the Religious Freedom Project at the Berkley Center for Religion, Peace, and World Affairs, argued as part of a panel held Friday afternoon in Washington, D.C. that American Christians are not as involved as they should be in fighting persecution abroad.

A practicing Catholic, Shah talked about how he was “struck by widespread apathy and indifference and ignorance concerning this issue among Christians, let alone others.”

“I don’t hear a lot of conversation in my very vibrant parish about this issue,” said Shah, who noted that aside from the Knights of Columbus chapter “the parish as a whole is pretty indifferent.”

“Maybe your churches are different; my sense is that they’re not. I don’t hear a lot of real outrage from Christian leaders about this issue on a regular consistent basis.”

Shah went on to ask critically about “where are the widespread demonstrations? Where are letters by thousands and thousands of pastors to appropriate leaders to do more about this?”

“Where are the spontaneous grassroots campaigns? I don’t see them,” continued Shah, “If one-tenth of 1 percent of Christians in America were really outraged and mobilized we would see political action across the board.”

Shah added that his opinions echoed those of former Congressman Frank Wolf of Virginia, whose legislative efforts helped create the U.S. Commission on International Religious Freedom.

Shah’s remarks came as part of a panel on Christian persecution abroad sponsored by the Heritage Foundation and the National Review Institute.

Titled “Christian Martyrs Today: Help for the Persecuted,” the panel was held Friday afternoon at the Lehrman Auditorium and livestreamed online.

“A brutal persecution is happening, as Christians are being driven out of what was the very cradle of Christianity in Iraq and Syria,” read Heritage’s description of the event.

“Pope Francis has said that there are more Christian martyrs today than in the early days of Christianity. What are we doing about it? What can we do about it?”

In addition to Shah, other panelists were Patrick Kelly, executive director of St. John Paul II National Shrine of the Knights of Columbus and Nadine Maenza, chair of the religious liberty group Hardwired.

Kathryn Jean Lopez, senior fellow at the National Review Institute, served moderator for the panel which covered various topics related to religious persecution in the Middle East.

In his comments, Kelly mentioned how governments including the United States need to think about how to properly talk about religion and religious liberty.

“Generally speaking, at the U.S. State Department among the foreign service officers, there is, I would say, an illiteracy about religion and the language of religion,” said Kelly, a former State Department employee.

“They think of religion as a problem. If we could just do away with it, we’ll fix all these problems [but] they don’t understand that the majority of the world’s population is motivated by religion and these motivations are good.”

The panel comes as Congress continues to mull a resolution that calls on the federal government to recognize the recent uptick in persecution of religious minorities in the Middle East as genocide.

– christian post

Prayer ad before Star Wars movie gets nixed in the UK

December 8, 2015 by  
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star warLondon, December 4, 2015: An Anglican effort to show an ad of the Lord’s Prayer in movie theaters before the upcoming Star Wars movie was rejected by leading U.K. theaters, drawing criticism from many sectors.

Carrie Fisher, the actress who returns to play Princess Leia Organa in “The Force Awakens,” was among the critics.

“I have no idea why they would do that,” Fisher told the U.K. newspaper the Mail on Sunday, comparing the ad to the placement of Bibles in hotel rooms.

“I have never seen an advertisement like this, but if the theater is like a hotel room, then they have every right to put up a power of prayer advert.”

The next Star Wars movie opens in the U.K. on Dec. 17, one week before Christmas Eve.

Justin Welby, the Archbishop of Canterbury and head prelate of the Church of England, told the Mail on Sunday he thought it “extraordinary” that an ad for prayer was found inappropriate to be shown the week before Christmas.

“Billions of people across the world pray this prayer on a daily basis. I think they would be astonished and deeply saddened by this decision,” he said Nov. 20. “This advert is about as ‘offensive’ as a carol service or church service on Christmas Day.”

The Archbishop of Canterbury appears in the minute-long ad, as do Christians from all backgrounds. They pray the Lord’s Prayer, also called the Our Father.

Digital Cinema Media, the company that supplies advertising to Britain’s major movie theaters, initially offered the Church of England a discounted price for the ad slot.

It later said that the ad had been rejected by its clients, the three major movie theaters of the U.K.: Odeon, Cineworld and Vue. They said they could not carry religious ads. Executives’ emails said that such ads risked upsetting or offending audiences.

The advertising company also implemented a policy barring ads connected to personal beliefs following objections to ads related to the campaigns for and against the Scottish independence vote in 2014.

Richard Dawkins, an atheist polemicist, objected to the idea that the Lord’s Prayer ads should be barred on the ground they could be offensive.

“If anybody is ‘offended’ by something so trivial as a prayer, they deserve to be offended,” he told The Guardian.

Shaykh Ibrahim Mogra, assistant secretary general of the Muslim Council of Britain, said he was “flabbergasted” that anyone would find the prayer offensive.

The Church of England is considering legal action under the Equality Act.

– cna

79% of evangelicals see violence in middle east as sign end times are near

December 8, 2015 by  
Filed under newsletter-lead

Christian flee the killing fields of the Middle EastWashington, December 5, 2015: Nearly eight out of 10 Evangelicals say they believe the ongoing violence in the Middle East is an indication that the rapture is on the horizon, a new survey released Friday shows.

Research conducted by the Brookings Institute’s Center for Middle East Policy on Americans’ attitudes toward the Middle East and Israel found that 79 percent of Evangelicals say they believe “that the unfolding violence across the Middle East is a sign that the end times are nearer.”

The survey, which compiled a national sample of 875 adults and an oversample of 863 self-identified Evangelicals with a margin of error between plus or minus 3 to 4 percent, found that only 43 percent of non-Evangelical Christians believe that terrorism in the Middle East is indicative of the apocalypse.

“These numbers are very striking on the end of days theology that these respondents claim motivate them,” Politico editor Susan Glasser said during a panel discussion after the release of the survey at the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace.

“Some of these numbers are really stark,” she added. “I mean, the percentage of American Evangelicals, according to your survey, who believe the end of times is nigh, is kind of eye popping, at least for secular America or blue America.”

The poll also found that 72 percent of Christians and 81 percent of Evangelicals believe that Christ will eventually return but are not sure when that will happen, while 5 percent of Christians and 12 percent of Evangelicals believe that Christ will return during their lifetimes.

Additionally, 75 percent of Evangelicals and 55 percent of Christians who say that Christ will return believe that “things need to happen in Israel” before Christ returns.

Meanwhile, 63 percent of Evangelicals and 51 percent of non-Evangelical Christians believe that “for the rapture or Second Coming to occur, it is essential for current-day Israel to include all of the land they believed was promised to biblical Israel in the Old Testament.”

With the Islamic State terrorist organization asserting in February that Muslims will continue to behead all non-Muslims until Jesus returns to slay the Antichrist and ensure that Islam prevails over all the Earth, a question was posed to the panel on whether IS’ brand of Sunni eschatology had any overlap with Christian eschatology.

“There is a big gap between that viewpoint and those expressed by a broader segment of our society,” Glasser responded. “Just because there are some resemblance between that apocalyptic rhetoric and the apocalyptic rhetoric of the Islamic State as it takes territory and justifies that with ideology in Syria and Iraq, I don’t see those things as being meaningfully ressemblent.”

When asked to name a “world leader you admire most,” Israel’s Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu was the world leader most commonly listed by Evangelicals. With 16 percent of Evangelical respondents naming Netanyahu, former United States President Ronald Reagan was the second-most listed by Evangelicals with 11 percent.

Although two out of three Americans believe that Israel has “too much influence” on U.S. politics, 39 percent of Evangelicals say Israel has “too little influence” on politics. Thirty-eight percent of Evangelicals say Israel has the right amount of influence on politics.

Although only 26 percent of Americans say that a political candidate’s position on Israel matters “a lot” to them, a candidate’s position on Israel matters “a lot” to 55 percent of American Evangelicals.

Shibley Telhami, the nonresident Brookings senior fellow who conducted the survey and issued the report, told the audience that Evangelicals weren’t always so supportive of Israel and the Jews.

“I look at the history of American Evangelism and, really, I am not talking about the history from the 19th century, but the 20th century, and I find that groups that were the base for which Evangelism grew had completely different positions on Israel, didn’t rank Israel as high as priority, didn’t have positive views of Jews,” Telhami explained. “All of that changed dramatically, principally in the 1960s and ’70s. In order for you to understand why this is important, you have to look at that period. That is the period in which [Israel] arises as important in that segment of the population.”

– christian post

Thank God in advance

December 6, 2015 by  
Filed under newsletter-miscellaneous

“The king appointed singers to walk ahead of the army, singing to the Lord
and praising him for his holy splendor.
This is what they sang: ‘Give thanks to the Lord; his faithful love endures forever!'”
(2 Chronicles 20:21 NLT)

In 2 Chronicles 20:21, King Jehoshaphat had a very unusual way of organizing an army:
“The king appointed singers to walk ahead of the army, singing to the Lord and praising him
for his holy splendor.

This is what they sang:
‘Give thanks to the Lord; his faithful love endures forever!'” (NLT)

Thank You God
Jehoshaphat’s battle plan was to put a choir before the infantry. Patton would have fainted! Picture this:
On one side are the three enemy armies amassed to do battle against Israel.
Then there’s the valley where they’re going to do battle.
Then there are the lowly Israelites.

Jehoshaphat says, “We’re going to take those who sing and make a choir out of you
and put you in front of the army as you march into battle.”

There’s a very important truth here: The Israelites were thanking God in advance for the victory.
Praise and thanksgiving are verbalized faith. If you thank God after the fact, that’s gratitude.
If you thank God before it happens, that’s faith.

Notice the effect of praise in verses 22 and 23:
“When they began to sing, the Lord threw the invading armies into a panic.
The Ammonites and the Moabites attacked the Edomite army and completely destroyed it,
and then they turned on each other in savage fighting” (GNT).

thanking the lord
God confused the enemy, and they turned on each other and destroyed themselves
while the Israelites looked on.

There is power in expectation.

You know that insurmountable problem in your life — the one with the odds stacked against you?
When are you going to start thanking God for it? After it’s all solved?

If so, that’s called gratitude. How about thanking God now, while you’re in the problem
or see it coming at you?

That is faith.

When you allow God to solve your problems, it becomes a testimony to unbelievers.
The world takes notice when the Christian lives by faith.
And, God loves to demonstrate his power in those who expect him to work in their lives.

Are you facing a difficult circumstance this week? Do you feel like the odds are against you?
Do you think your problem is overwhelming? What do you do?
” You turn to God — Jehovah Nissi,
the God who defends you “

– fwd: vc mathews

Tide has yet to turn in South Asian church’s struggle against AIDS

December 6, 2015 by  
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aidsIndia, December 1, 2015: Despite significant advances over the last decade in science, medicines and the dissemination of information on HIV/AIDS, people in South Asia, one of the world’s poorest regions and home to a quarter of the population, remain particularly vulnerable to the epidemic.

Christians, a small minority in South Asia, are battling HIV with limited resources while poverty, discrimination and lack of funding remain major challenges for church caregivers.

Muslim-majority Pakistan is home to 97,400 HIV patients, according to the government’s National Aids Control Program.

Meanwhile, the nation has seen an 11 percent increase in HIV-related deaths over the last few years, according to local media reports.

More effort is needed to provide treatment and also to overcome discrimination against those infected with HIV in Pakistan, experts say.

Stigma still holds strong

“The stigma still holds strong. Much work needs to be done with regard to awareness about HIV patients,” says Dr. Nabeel Saqib, former Caritas Pakistan national coordinator on health and a World Health Organization official.

Nazir Masih, 52, a Christian, was the first person to be diagnosed with HIV in Pakistan in 1999.

He founded the New Lights AIDS Control Society (NLCS) in 2001 with support from the Global Fund for Aids.

Currently, the NLCS runs three centers in Punjab province, which offer testing and counseling services to 1,200 HIV patients, including 110 children. It also supports the education of 28 children of HIV-affected families.

“Our teams visit each patient every three months to make sure their families are looking after them and that they are taking their pills regularly,” Masih said.

He decried what he called a serious lack of government HIV services and facilities.

The government only has 18 HIV treatment facilities nationwide where just over 5,000 people are receiving vital antiretroviral (ARV) drug therapy, Masih said.

“Untrained doctors have been put in charge of these centers. In one Punjab city, the doctor attends HIV patients only once a week. Hundreds are still waiting”, he told ucanews.com.

Very little is being done to break down the social stigma and prejudices associated with the disease, he said.

“Personally I feel the stigma won’t end. People still call it the disease of bad people and think victims are involved in immoral activities and do not deserve any kind of help. As a result HIV positive people in our country do not admit to having the disease and continue spreading the virus which is dangerous,” Masih said.

Predominantly Hindu India has 2.1 million HIV cases, the third highest in the world, according to a 2014 UNAIDS report.

Caritas sensitizes people about AIDS

Caritas India, the social arm of the Catholic Church in India, is offering services to sensitize people about AIDS in nine districts of the western state of Gujarat. The project is a partnership with the AIDS Control Society of the Gujarat state government under the country’s National AIDS Control Program.

“We counsel people about the causes of the disease and how to prevent it,” Caritas India spokesman Amrit Sangma, told ucanews.com.

He said Caritas has made a special effort in targeting high-risk groups such as sex workers.

Sangma says their efforts have reaped some levels of success.

In Amreli district, sex workers now insist on having safe sex. Also, some believe the risk is too great and have given up sex work, he said.

In Gujarat’s Bhavnagar and Bhanaskantha districts, Caritas was able to reach out to the gay community who, due to social stigma are not easy to approach.

“We had a breakthrough when we counseled one gay man who in turn started counseling other men about the risks of the disease. Hopefully, the risk of contracting the virus has decreased among these men as they have been educated about the dangers of the disease,” he said.

Buddhist-majority Sri Lanka, however, remains a low prevalence country where monogamy is promoted religiously and culturally. The nation has 0.1 percent HIV prevalence rate among its total population of 20 million with 167 new cases being detected this year.

Since the first case was registered only 357 people have died as a result of the disease, according to official figures.

However organizations trying to monitor the disease believe there could well be a high number of undetected cases.

Laws against prostitution and social discrimination are major challenges in diagnosing HIV, says Dr. Sisira Liyanage, director of the National STD/AIDS Program.

“I am personally for legalizing prostitution and making sure sex workers are tested periodically,” said Liyanage.

The large number of migrant workers is also a major concern. It’s difficult to gauge how many are being exposed to the disease while working abroad, Liyanage told ucanews.com.

Nonetheless, “HIV risk factors are among younger people but they are less aware of their risk,” Father Tony Martyn, assistant secretary general of the Sri Lankan Catholic bishops’ conference told ucanews.com. “We don’t work directly with people living with HIV but educate our Catholics on the infection. We discuss concerns with catechists to educate children on this particular issue,” he added.

Change in infection trends

Muslim-majority Bangladesh recorded its first HIV case in 1989. According to the Bangladesh Ministry of Health, 3,664 people were living with HIV in the country in 2014. However, the United Nations Program on HIV/AIDS (UNAIDS) estimates the figure at around 9,500. Until now, 472 people have died as a result of the disease.

Despite its low prevalence, Bangladesh remains highly vulnerable to an epidemic due to a change in infection trends and concerns over funding for HIV programs in the future, according to a U.N. expert.

“Over the last 15 years, most cases were among traditional high-risk groups — drug users, male and female sex workers. But in last three-to-four years, we have been observing a transition to what we call low-risk women such as the wives of migrant workers. Most of these infections are from the migrant population either directly or through their spouses,” Dr. Ziya Uddin, an HIV/AIDS specialist with UNICEF told ucanews.com.

Experts find this trend alarming since Bangladesh has about 8 million migrant workers living abroad.

The government runs 20 HIV testing centers where people can be tested for HIV and get drugs easily. However, many people are afraid of using the services because they fear social ostracism.

The Catholic Church has provided services for HIV patients since 2007. Social stigma and discrimination against HIV patients are major challenges, says Dr. Edward Pallab Rozario, head of Caritas Bangladesh Health Project.

“Although HIV positive patients are fewer in Bangladesh, they face stigma and discrimination … Most patients often can’t find jobs,” said Rozario, secretary of Catholic bishops’ Health Commission.

“They [HIV patients] fear that if their friends and relatives know about their disease, they would stop mixing with them and cast them out … They might not get employment, their children might not be allowed to enroll in schools and colleges and they might not be able to marry off their sons and daughters. So, these factors force them to hide the disease,” he said.

Currently, Caritas offers spiritual, financial and counseling support to some 50 Christian HIV patients and their children. The agency also arranges gatherings for Christian HIV patients and runs HIV/AIDS advocacy programs across seven Caritas regional areas in the country.

“We could do many things to tackle HIV, but we don’t have enough funds. At present, Caritas runs a small HIV project and it gets funding from Caritas Bangladesh’s own sources,” Rozario said.

“Twice a year we sit with them to offer spiritual guidelines, counseling and offer a stipend to children of poor patients. We have trained some in handicrafts and running small businesses, so they can survive by utilizing their skills,” he added.

Additional reporting by Kamran Chaudhry in Lahore, Ritu Sharma in New Delhi, Quintus Colombage in Colombo and Stephan Uttom in Dhaka.

– ucan

Toilets for everyone still far from reality in India

December 6, 2015 by  
Filed under newsletter-india

LakshmiNew Delhi, December 3, 2015: A broom, wastebasket and an iron plate — Rameshwari Devi’s life revolves around these three things for her only source of income.

Rameshwari, a manual scavenger, rises early each morning to clean waste from people’s latrines.

Along with 30 other women from her locality in northern Uttar Pradesh state’s Ghaziabad district, she is forced to do this degrading job that she inherited from her forebears.

Even though the Indian government passed a bill in 2013 banning manual scavenging, over 1.3 million women still do this work, which requires removing human or animal excreta with a broom and carrying it away in a basket.

“Nobody wants this job but we have no other source of income. Our men drink and gamble and we are left to earn. As we are not accepted in mainstream society, this is the only thing we can do,” Rameshwari told ucanews.com.

Although Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi launched the Swach Bharat (clean India) campaign and promised to end open-air defecation by constructing toilets across the country, little has changed.

Lakshmi, who goes by one name, told ucanews.com that manual scavengers find it hard to make ends meet as they only earn 20 or 30 rupees (less than 50 US cents) plus a piece of bread from each house that they clean.

“We want to change jobs but, as long as people have these dry latrines, our work remains the same,” she said.

Lakshmi said that the work also leads to various health problems, including eye infections, kidney disease and fever.

That is why Chetnalaya, the social wing of Delhi Archdiocese, constructs low-cost toilets in Bawana on the outskirts of Delhi.

“We have built 300 houses with low-cost toilet facilities for people who used to live on platforms and under bridges. They were given land by the government,” Father Savari Raj, director of Chetnalaya, told ucanews.com.

He said they organize rallies in slums on the outskirts of Delhi and in neighboring Haryana state to spread awareness of the harmful affects of open defecation and the advantages of using a toilet in the home.

According to a recent report by WaterAid, 60.4 percent of India’s 1.3 billion people lack access to safe drinking water and private toilets.

The report entitled “It’s No Joke: The State of the World’s Toilets,” says that “if you stretched all 774 million people in India now waiting for household toilets, the queue would stretch to the moon — and beyond!”

The result is a health crisis that kills more than 140,000 children under five in India each year. Nearly 40 percent of India’s children are stunted, which will in turn affect both their life chances and the future prosperity of India, the report says.

Sunita of Tilbatta village in Gautam Budh district of Uttar Pradesh rises at 4 a.m. to relieve herself before there is queue for the public toilet.

“There are only two toilets for 10 homes which house 40-50 people. I do not like the public toilet as it is very dirty but we do not have the resources to install one for ourselves,” she said.

Bittu, who lives in the same village, has no access to any toilet so must use the open fields.

“Either we go before sunrise or after sunset as there are men around in the fields during the day,” she said.

Sociologists and experts also feel that the mindset of people also needs to change.

“The toilet problem is a cultural problem,” said B.K. Nagla, head of the sociology department at Maharishi Dayanand University in Rohtak, in northern Haryana state. Even when rural people have toilets in their homes, they often prefer the open fields, he added.

Bhaskar Chatterjee, CEO of the Indian Institute of Corporate Affairs, said all government efforts would be in vain if the toilets they aim to construct were of bad quality.

There are 170,000 public toilets in India that cannot be used, he lamented.

“What is the point of making toilets which have no doors, windows and water connection,” he asked.

– ucan

Kathmandu reacts to Delhi embargo banning Indian schools in Nepal

December 6, 2015 by  
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children in nepal after earthquakeKathmandu, December 02, 2015: The government of Nepal has decided to ban 14 Indian schools that operate on its territory without valid certification. Some analysts believe that the initiative is a reaction to the Indian embargo on goods exported, which continues to affect the lives of the Nepalese population.

According to the Ministry of Education, in Nepal there are at least 14 schools run by the Indian Central Board of Secondary Education (CBSE), that are  “illegal” under the laws of the country. Sarswati Pokhrel, ministry spokesman, said: “These schools are associated with CBSE but have no legal mandate because the institution does not respect the laws of Nepal. We asked them several times to follow our procedures, but they did not listen. We cannot operate illegal schools that could ruin the future of hundreds of students”.

The spokesman added: “Each school that has ties with foreign countries must have the approval of the Ministry of Education of Nepal. This defines the criteria and documents required to be submitted, but these schools were reluctant to produce them, perhaps because they do not possess them. So we will not allow any school to operate illegally against the law. Not only are they banned, but their association to the concerned country has been cancelled”.

Some analysts argue that the decision to ban Indian schools is a reaction to the undeclared embargo that India has imposed on Nepal since it adopted its first secular constitution. It would therefore be an initiative against the claim of domination by India. Professor Bidhanath Koirala said: “The government should have transferred students to other schools, before adopting the measure. Now it threatens the future of hundreds of students”.

The climate of tension between the two countries has also affected the work of Parliament which yesterday suspended the session after derogatory chants sung by the Nepal Workers Party. Its members demanded the expulsion of the Indian Ranjit Rae.

– asianews

Islamist groups send death threats to Bangladeshi Christian workers

December 6, 2015 by  
Filed under newsletter-asia

bangladeshBangladesh, December 03, 2015: “You, the Christian leaders, will have to bid goodbye to this world very soon,” pastor Barnabas Hemrom was told in a letter sent to him last Wednesday (25 November) that listed the names of a further nine church pastors. Over 20 church leaders and Christian workers have received death threats in the past two months.

“We are going to finish off all, one by one, who are spreading Christianity in Bangladesh,” read the letter sent to pastor Hemron. One of the nine pastors whose names were listed in the letter is afraid for his safety. “I am not going out of the church campus at all,” he said. “I spoke to others who like me were targeted in that letter. They are all frightened.” Police have been posted at his church, he said.

Rev. Martin Adhikari, principal of the College of Christian Theology in capital city Dhaka, received a text message on 11 November telling him to “Eat your most favourite foods now. Only five days of your life are left. Not more than that.” Another text sent to him the next day read, “One day has gone by. Let us know if we have to arrange your burial as well. Or…will your family take care of your body?”

Those sending the threats claim they are part of Islamist groups Jama’atul Mujahideen Bangladesh (JMB) and Islamic State. Their agenda is clear: “This country will be ruled only by the (Islamic) Sharia law,” read the letter sent to Pastor Hemrom.

Although Bangladesh is a secular country and its legal system makes it one of the most tolerant Muslim-majority countries in the world, there are Islamist groups lobbying for the Islamisation of the country. The situation has become increasingly volatile in recent months, and Bangladeshi Christians, who make up just 1% of a population that is 90% Muslim, are vulnerable targets.

Last Saturday (28 November), a Christian worker managed to escape unharmed after six masked men stormed a church in Manikganj district. Ten days earlier, an Italian Christian worker was shot in the town of Dinajpur, in northern Bangladesh.

In the north-western Pabna district, Pastor Luke Sarker survived a knife attack in his home on 5 October when three men pretending they wanted to learn about Christianity attempted to slit his throat.

– barnabas team

‘What we saw in San Bernardino, Paris is beginning of a third world war,’ Vicar of Baghdad Argues

December 6, 2015 by  
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Graphic Photos of Mass Syria KillingsWashington, December 3, 2015: Deadly terrorist attacks like the one in Paris last month and the one in California on Wednesday are indications that a third world war is on the horizon, the Vicar of Baghdad argued Thursday.

Canon Andrew White, who was the only Anglican Vicar in Iraq when the Islamic State terrorist organization rose to power in Iraq and Syria, spoke at a lunch discussion hosted by the Washington-based Institute on Religion & Democracy and explained that Muslims, Christians and Jews need to work together to support the persecuted refugee communities in the Middle East and combat extremist ideologies that are causing society to “fall apart.”

In the wake of Islamic State’s attacks in Paris that killed over 130 civilians and injured over 350 others in November, terror struck in the United States on Wednesday when two gunmen, one of whom was believed to have been in contact with domestic and international Islamic extremists, shot up a social services building in San Bernardino, California, and killed 14 people and injured 21.

While most people in the West have had the luxury of hearing about heinous acts of terrorism by IS and other extremists in the Middle East from afar, White argues now that terror is striking in the heart of Western nations with some regularity, the world is entering a time of war.

“On a day after those events in California yesterday, those awful, terrible events, we realize that the destruction of religion is not just over there, [in the Middle East], it’s here where you are,” White contended. “What we are seeing going on, what we saw in Paris, what we saw yesterday in California, is, as far as I am concerned, the beginning of the third world war. It’s unlike any concept of war we may have had before. Society is falling apart. It’s not just Iraq that is broken — It is society.”

Although IS has been at the forefront of the world’s terror concerns in the last two years, the 51-year-old England native stated that IS is not solely to blame. He said the larger problem facing the world is not the rise of IS, but the rapid rise of radical Islamic extremism throughout the world.

“We talk about ISIS, and it is easy to blame ISIS, ISIL, DAESH, or however you want to call them, for everything. But, they are just part of the problem. The problem is far bigger than one extremist organization,” White, who fled Iraq last year because of death threats from IS, reasoned. “That one extremist organization will have influence throughout the world and so many people are now looking to that group as a means of salvation and a means of identity. Why? Because they, as Muslim, have lost influence and lost power.”

White, who is now residing in Israel and has been visiting the U.S. and Canada for the last couple weeks, said that some Sunni Muslims in Iraq were driven to extremism because they felt as though they have been marginalized.

“Every terrorist group has lost something,” White said. “These people were in Al-Anbar, were in Ramadi and Fallujah, and they lost any significance under the Maliki regime. … And so, when Maliki fell, they fought back and they have fought to show they have power. How do they show they have power? By blowing up people and killing them.”

“Do you know who they are killing most?” White asked. “The people they are killing most are not even the Shiite, it’s now Sunni Muslims. It’s not just that group against the Christians. Yes, they do kill so many Christians, so many Yazidis.”

As millions of Christians, Yazidis, and Muslims have been driven from their homes in Iraq and Syria, White said it is vital for Muslims and Christians to unite in order to help each other and those in need.

“I want to make that clear, as the world goes on about how evil Islam is, whether you like it or not, my biggest partner is Muslim and we have to work together, not against each other,” he said.

White explained that one of his most important partners working in Kurdistan to support the persecuted refugee Christian community is a Muslim dentist named Dr. Sarah Ahmed, who is the executive director of White’s Foundation for Relief and Reconciliation in the Middle East.

“She is there protecting all of the Iraqi Christians. You never hear anything about it in the news but you hear about the work I am doing. The work that I am doing is being done by a Muslim caring for the Christians,” White stated. “We think and hear about Islamic terrorism all the time. What about Islamic people working for the protection of Christians? I mean, she is feeding thousands of Christians. She is working for them in the refugee camps.”

– christian post

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