A Christian pastor at the Central Assemblies of God Church in Tehran was arrested during a prayer meeting at the church, which may be forced to close down in June due to pressure from Iranian authorities.
"There are lots of underground churches in Iran but the Assemblies of God, which the Church in Tehran is, is permitted to operate but with many restrictions. It has never been easy, but now they are considering closure," Kiri Kankhwende, press officer for Christian Solidarity Worldwide, told The Christian Post in an email on Wednesday.
While details are scarce about the arrest of the Rev. Robert Asserian, CSW, which works for religious freedom through advocacy and human rights, noted that he was arrested on Tuesday morning while conducting a prayer meeting at the church. Iranian forces apparently raided his house and confiscated many of his belongings, including his computer and books. Asserian was taken to an unknown location. more >>
Syriac Catholic Bishop Gregoire Melki said the current situation in Syria is very sad and has left people very anxious, and fears the same thing that happened to Christians in Iraq will happen to Christians in Syria.
"Growing extremism in Syria could jeopardize the safety of all Christians," Melki told the Assyrian International News Agency. "Those who can, escape … For more than two years there has not been a solution (to the violence) we have to pray."
Though the situation in Syria is grim for all, it is even worse for minorities, such as Christians. more >>
Morsi Sheikh, former head of the Appellate Court and director of the Center for Justice and Democracy of Human Rights, stated that Copts in Egypt face continual threats and violence from Islamists.
He was commenting on one of the fathers of the children accusing Coptic teacher Demiana Abdel Nour of insulting Islam after the child's father threatened to kill thousands of people. Her case had been postponed, prompting the father's outburst.
"The Muslim Brotherhood and Salafis do not want justice to run its course, by threatening them, and judges often succumb to the pressure," Sheikh told Mideast Christian News. more >>
Deputy Head of the Egyptian Democratic Social Party Emad Gad said that pressure from religious groups in the country is corrupting the judicial system in Egypt.
"The court's response to the request submitted by Abu Islam's defense staff is a reflection of the authorities' submission to the pressure exerted by religious groups who work to Islamize the public sphere in Egypt," Gad told Mideast Christian News.
"The exclusion of the court's secretary was to further extend the Islamization of cases and further sedition amongst employees … it is normal, reasonable and expected request from abu-Islam's defense," he added more >>
Priest Ekram Lamei, Chairperson of the Evangelical Synod, criticized the decision issued by a Cairo court to exclude the secretary of the court from a hearing session because he is a Christian.
The decision came in response to a request submitted by Abu-Islam's defense lawyer to have the court secretary removed from court proceedings.
Father Lamei said he considered the decision an insult against Christianity and Christian people and stressed the need to submit an appeal against the decision. more >>
Dr. Ihab Ramzi, professor of law and member of the recently dissolved Egyptian parliament, said the court's response to the request of Abu Islam's lawyers to change the Christian secretary of the court is a black day in the history of the judiciary.
"The court's response to the request of the lawyers is a disaster and a double standard policy," Ramzi noted.
"This is clear religious discrimination because the secretary of the court has no authority on the issue. The major disaster is that the court has accepted the request, which means the court refuses to have a Christian member in its formation," Ramzi told Mideast Christian News. more >>