Barnabas news in brief: 07 august 2013

August 12, 2013 by  
Filed under newsletter-asia

SYRIA: MISSING ITALIAN CHURCH LEADER FEARED TAKEN CAPTIVE BY AL-QAEDA MILITANTS

al-Qaeda MilitantsConcerns have been raised over the disappearance of a prominent Italian church leader, who is feared to have been taken captive by al-Qaeda-linked militants in Syria.

Paolo Dall’Oglio went missing last Monday (29 July) in Raqa, a city that fell to Islamist brigades in March. He had apparently gone to meet with commanders of the Islamic State ofIraq and the Levant (ISIS) to try to negotiate peace between the jihadists and the Kurds, and also to appeal for the release of activists kidnapped by the group.

The long-term resident of Syria had gained a reputation for his efforts to reconcile the country’s different religious and ethnic groups; activists in Raqa, who are campaigning for Paolo Dall’Oglio’s release, referred to him as “the patron of peace”.

TURKEY: ANCIENT CHURCH CONVERTED INTO MOSQUE AFTER ISLAMISTS WIN LEGAL BATTLE

Hagia Sophia church converted to mosque

Hagia Sophia church converted to mosque

Islamic prayers have been said in an ancient Byzantine church after Islamist campaigners won a legal battle for the building to be converted into a mosque.

Hagia Sophia in Trabzon was originally turned into a mosque in the 16th century, but since 1964 it had been a museum. Last year, however, the government body responsible forTurkey’s historic mosques took the matter to court, arguing that the building was being “illegally occupied” by the culture ministry.

The church, which dates back to the 13th century, has since been converted into a mosque, with carpets, shutters and tents covering the Christian-themed mosaics and paintings. The government carried out the work in time for the start of Ramadan, the Islamic month of fasting.

One local historian said, “It’s about erasing the Christian past, reviving Ottomanism.”

UZBEKISTAN: CHRISTIAN MAN APPEALS TO PRESIDENT AFTER BRUTAL POLICE ASSAULT

Uzbekistan policeA Christian man has appealed to the President of Uzbekistan after being violently assaulted by a police chief and then charged with an offence when he lodged a complaint about the officer.

Sardorbek Nurmetov, who belongs to an unregistered church in Urgench, was stopped by the police chief on 14 June and taken to a police station, where a memory stick containing Christian materials was confiscated.

The officer hit him repeatedly on the head with a thick book, punched him in the head and chest, and kicked his legs. Sardorbek was then taken to his home, where officers seized his laptop, three Christian books and a DVD.

He later submitted a formal complaint, but instead of taking action against the chief and other implicated officers, Urgench police opened a case against Sardorbek for illegally storing religious materials in his home.

– barnabas team

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