AL-SHABAAB INCREASES ATTACKS IN SOMALIA IN LEAD-UP TO 2021 ELECTIONS

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The Islamist fundamentalist group al-Shabaab claimed an attack that killed at least eight people on Friday 27 November in the Somali capital of Mogadishu. The group bombed a popular ice-cream shop that is frequented by tourists and government officials, claiming the attack was “successful and well-executed.” That bombing was followed by another on Saturday 28…

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HARD-LINE PAKISTANI RELIGIOUS LEADER KHADIM RIZVI DIES

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On 22 November, tens of thousands of men gathered in Lahore for the funeral of hard-line Pakistani religious leader Khadim Hussain Rizvi. No cause of death was announced for the 54-year-old Rizvi, who died on Thursday (19 November) after suffering a high fever and difficulties breathing. No Covid-19 test or autopsy was conducted. Rizvi rose…

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LIBYA’S RIVAL FORCES REACH CEASEFIRE DEAL

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On Friday 23 October, Libya’s warring sides – the internationally recognised Government of National Accord (GNA) and  the forces of commander Khalifa Haftar’s eastern-based Libyan National Army (LNA) – signed an agreement for “a permanent ceasefire in all areas of Libya.” The UN’ representative, Stephanie Williams – who led the mediation – hailed the historic…

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KYRGYZSTAN’S PRESIDENT DECLARES STATE OF EMERGENCY IN POST-ELECTION CHAOS

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By Donnelly McCleland Kyrgyzstan’s president on Monday [12 October] ordered a new, week-long state of emergency in the country’s capital after parliament failed to consider and approve his previous order within the legally required three days. The confusion reflected the chaos that has engulfed the country after a disputed parliamentary election triggered mass protests. According…

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PAKISTANI COURT ACQUITS CHRISTIAN MAN ON DEATH ROW

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Sawan Masih, a Pakistani man sentenced to death for blasphemy in 2014, has been acquitted by the Lahore High Court. Masih was accused of insulting the prophet Muhammad during a conversation with a Muslim man in the Christian-majority neighbourhood of Joseph Colony, Lahore on 8 March 2013. Local mosques recounted the accusations against Masih over…

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AFGHAN PEACE TALKS KICK OFF IN QATAR

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On Saturday 12 September, the long-awaited Intra-Afghan Peace talks, between the Afghanistan government and the Taliban, were opened in Doha, Qatar. The talks were originally planned for March, after the United States-Taliban deal, that was signed in February. As part of the deal, the Afghan government had to release 5,000 Taliban prisoners in exchange for…

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FOUNDATIONS LAID FOR HINDU TEMPLE AT SITE OF RAZED MOSQUE

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Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi held a ceremony on Wednesday 5 August marking the start of construction on a new Hindu temple in the city of Ayodhya. The temple will take approximately three-and-a-half years to build and is located at the site believed to be the birthplace of Lord Ram, said to be one of…

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CHURCH BUILDINGS – DO THEY MATTER?

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By Donnelly McCleland Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan’s unprecedented decree (10 July) converting Hagia Sophia once again into a mosque continues to reverberate across the region and beyond. It elicited sharp criticism, despair, and disappointment from both Christians and non-Christians alike. The 1,500-year-old UNESCO-listed site was initially an Orthodox Christian cathedral that was turned into…

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MORE ARRESTS MADE IN IRAN AFTER PROTESTS

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Iranian police arrested several people they claim were “instigators” behind last week’s anti-government protests in the city of Behbahan in the southwest of the country. The government’s handling of Iran’s deepening economic and coronavirus crises has contributed to growing public unrest. Iran’s rulers have tried to prevent a revival of last November’s anti-government protests in…

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RELIGIOUS FREEDOM AND PERSECUTION

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By Donnelly McCleland Today, in Islamic-, Hindu-, and Communist-majority parts of the world, being a follower of Jesus means, at best, losing your job and being rejected by your family. At worst, it can mean imprisonment, beating, and even death. These things are being experienced all over the world right now by our brothers and…

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