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May 29 09 9:58 PM
Jun 1 09 9:17 PM
Sri Lanka Bishop: My Diocese Is Destroyed
Jul 13 09 5:20 AM
BAGHDAD -- A car bomb exploded near a church as worshippers left Sunday Mass, killing at least four civilians and injuring 18 in one of several attacks on
Iraq's beleaguered Christian
The coordinated assault came as the Iraqi military predicted that insurgent attacks, though declining, could continue for a few years, raising the
prospect of militant violence after the scheduled withdrawal of all U.S. troops by the end of 2011.
Three Christians and one Muslim died in the bombing at around 7 p.m. near a church on Palestine Street in eastern Baghdad, said a police officer who was
at the scene. He spoke on condition of anonymity because he was not authorized to speak to the media.
An official at al-Kindi hospital confirmed the death toll and said at least 18 people were injured.
Also Sunday, a bomb exploded near a convoy of American personnel that included U.S. Ambassador Christopher Hill, though no one was injured.
State Department spokeswoman Joanne Moore said the bomb exploded as the convoy was traveling through Dhi Qar province in southern Iraq.
Violence is sharply down in the war that began with the U.S.-led invasion in 2003, but militants still carry out lethal attacks on a regular basis, some
seemingly aimed at fomenting sectarian tension. The U.S. military completed a withdrawal of combat forces from Iraqi cities to outlying bases last month as
part of a plan to let Iraq take the lead on ensuring its own security.
Gen. Babaker B. Shawkat Zebari, the Iraqi army chief of staff, said insurgents once held sway in cities and provinces, but had been whittled down to a
few highly dangerous cells that he expected would continue attacks for "a year or two or three." He said the Iraqi military would get help from
American forces if needed, but would also rely on assistance from its own citizens.
"To face terrorism, the Iraqi army does not need tanks or armored vehicles, but needs intelligence, fast communication and people's
support," he said "The government has to coordinate with the population to get information about the terrorist cells."
The army chief spoke after meeting Iraq's top Shiite cleric, Grand Ayatollah Ali al-Sistani, in the holy Shiite city of Najaf, south of Baghdad.
Al-Sistani enjoys massive support among Iraq's majority Shiites, and the Iraqi military sees the backing of religious leaders as vital to its
legitimacy and success.
While violence has diminished since 2007, insurgents exact a steady toll with bombs and targeted killings that would amount to a crisis in most other
In the northern city of Kirkuk, gunmen with silencers in a car waited outside the house of Aziz Rizqo Nisan, head of the provincial audit department,
and shot him as he drove to work on Sunday morning. His death was confirmed by local police and the national government's media office in Baghdad.
The motive for the killing of Nisan, a Christian, was unclear. Insurgents commonly target Iraqi government officials and security forces. Ethnic and
sectarian tension is high in Kirkuk, a disputed city that Kurds want to annex into their northern region despite Arab opposition.
South of Baghdad, a member of a Sunni militia that is overseen by the Shiite-led government, was found dead with gunshot wounds in his chest in Jurf
al-Sakhar town, a police officer said on condition of anonymity because he was not authorized to speak to the media.
The militia, known as the Awakening Councils, includes many former insurgents who joined forces with the Americans and promised to fight al-Qaida in
Iraq. The movement was considered a key factor in a drop in violence over the past two years, and has complained about missed payments and crackdowns on
its leaders since the Iraqi government took control late last year.
Iraq's Christians have often been attacked by Islamic extremists, and many have fled the country.
Two bombs that were planted in a church in western Baghdad exploded at midnight Saturday, causing some damage but no injuries. Then three bombs exploded
near other Baghdad churches at around 4:30 p.m., injuring eight civilians, police said. The fatal bombing followed two and a half hours later.
"The terrorists are determined to hamper the political process in Iraq and not let Iraqis live in peace even after the withdrawal of foreign forces
from the cities," said Younadem Kana, a Christian lawmaker. "We demand that the Iraqi government take all necessary measures to protect
Christians in Baghdad, and in all of Iraq."
Also Sunday evening, a roadside bomb blew up near a police patrol in Baghdad, killing one civilian and injuring four others, police and hospital
Half a dozen lawmakers demanded that a general census planned later this year be postponed until after parliamentary elections in January. They argued
that the upheaval of war had caused radical change in the ethnic and sectarian makeup of many areas and the results could ignite fresh tension.
Lawmaker Osama al-Nujaifi, a Sunni Arab from the northern city of Mosul, noted that large numbers of Kurds had moved into the oil-rich Kirkuk area amid
Arab concerns that they seek to take control. In Baghdad, sectarian violence between Sunni and Shiite Arabs altered the face of neighborhoods as people
fled their homes or quit the city altogether.
"The form for the census has an item about the ethnicity of the person, and that would lead to shocking results," al-Nujaifi said at a news
Associated Press writer Bushra Juhi contributed to this report.
Jul 14 09 12:16 AM
Jul 14 09 11:24 AM
Jan 3 10 3:32 AM
Ho Chi Minh City (AsiaNews) - The People's Committee of Ho Chi Minh City issued a statement in which it
slammed the city's Redemptorist community for going against "the Party's policies and the nation's laws". Catholics now fear more
anti-priest violence. Signed by the Committee's chairman Pham Ngoc Huu, the statement was released on 28 December and published by all state
The statement accused the Church of Our Lady of Perpetual Help, which is located on the south side of the city, of organising mass prayer vigils
"with the participation of many priests, religious and lay people from other regions of the country without the permission of local authorities in order
to distort, falsely accuse and criticise the government."
The press release also said that the Redemptorists used the church bulletin board to "post articles and images leading believers to misunderstand
the Party's policies and the nation's laws".
In the last two years, the Redemptorists' church has indeed held a number of prayer vigils in support of its sister church in Thai Ha (Hanoi),
which has been fighting to regain its land, unfairly seized by the city.
Since then the Church and the faithful of Our Lady of Perpetual Help have been under close surveillance by uniformed and plain clothes police, who
tape and take picture of those who take part in their activities.
Local authorities have also installed loudspeakers on buildings surrounding the church to disrupt the church's services, including the
The statement singled out the vigil of 27 July, which was held for two priests brutally beaten up in Dong Hoi (cf J.B. An Dang, "Priest beaten
into a coma by police. Catholics Protest throughout Vietnam," in AsiaNews.it, 28 July 2009).
Similarly, People's Committee Chairman Huu singled out Fr Joseph Le Quang Uy, a well-known local pro-life activist, for giving
"a hand to hostile forces, and reactionaries to conduct propaganda against the Socialist Republic of Vietnam "
Father Le Quang was equally accused of "taking advantage of his role in leading prayer vigils to distort the social, political and economic
situation of Vietnam," which in turn gave him an opportunity to "denounce the government for human rights violations" and thus "undermine
In the last few months, the clergyman also criticised the government for allowing bauxite mining in areas in central Vietnam inhabited by Montagnards.
For this reason, he was attacked by state media, which called for his conviction on charges punishable by up to 20 years in prison (see J.B. An
Dang, "Redemptorist priest could be accused of plotting to overthrow Vietnam's Communist regime," in AsiaNews.it, 2 July 2009).
More broadly, Huu has accused the Redemptorists of failing to heed the Pope's instructions. During an ad limina visit by
Vietnamese bishops, Benedict XVI had in fact said that "a good Catholic is a good citizen."
A Redemptorist spokesman, Fr Peter Nguyen Van Khai, responded by accusing the authorities of distorting the sense of the Pope's words, because the
Holy Father had also called for "a healthy collaboration between the Church and the State through dialogue." Unfortunately,
the government seems unwilling to accept such collaboration.
For many Catholics, the authorities seem more likely to resort to violence and the campaign against the Redemptorists appears to be but the start of a
new anti-priest campaign.
Jan 3 10 3:36 AM
Jan 7 10 11:42 PM
Jan 9 10 12:13 AM
Jan 9 10 12:14 AM
Jan 12 10 11:50 PM
Jan 14 10 2:16 AM
Over half a century, the pope's ambassadors in the world have doubled. Bilateral diplomatic relations have tripled. Failing to
answer the summons are China, Saudi Arabia, and a few other states. The double game of Vietnam: while it is negotiating with the
Vatican, it is assailing Catholics
by Sandro Magister
Jan 20 10 3:54 AM
Christian-Muslim Mayhem in Nigeria Kills Dozens
By ADAM NOSSITER
DAKAR, Senegal - Armed with guns, machetes, torches, and bows and arrows, Christian and Muslim antagonists in central Nigeria's
religiously volatile city of Jos have been fighting for three days in sporadic clashes that have left dozens dead, witnesses and local news accounts said
It was difficult to ascertain the precise toll in Jos, the scene of frequent religious violence over the past decade. Estimates ranged from 30 to 300
deaths, as the city was still consumed by mayhem Tuesday evening, with security forces descending on Jos in an attempt to contain it.
Gunshots could be heard throughout the city, and smoke from burning buildings was visible everywhere, witnesses said.
"This morning there was smoke, and a lot of shooting by the military personnel," said Shimaki Gad Peter, director of the League for Human Rights,
which is based in Jos, in a telephone interview. The violence began Sunday when Muslim youths attacked a church, according to Mr. Peter, "and they were
resisted by church members."
Subsequently, "innocent persons were macheted," Mr. Peter said. "I saw youths holding bows and arrows, and machetes," he said. While
"the majority" of people killed Sunday appeared to be Christians, he said, there was now a "balance of terror" among the religious
The Rev. Emmanuel Joel of the Pentecostal Fellowship of Nigeria said,
"Personally, I have seen over 100 bodies." He said he had seen the bodies in Red Cross trucks going to the morgue.
Mr. Joel said Jos was "still boiling." He was critical of the security forces' efforts to contain the violence, saying, "While they are
trying to contain it in one area, it is breaking out in another area."
Government spokesmen could not be reached for comment. News reports said a curfew had been imposed on the city.
"Nobody comes in, nobody goes out," Mr. Joel said. "We are all scared of coming out, standing outside."
Several thousand people have been killed in religious rioting in Jos since 2001. The city is situated near the frontier between Nigeria's mainly Muslim north
and the mostly Christian south.
"All we see is smoke coming out of burnt structures," Mr. Joel said. "And gunshots, seriously."
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