Minorities at risk of sexual violence in India, says CSW
THE "endemic" sexual violence perpetrated as part of communal
violence against minorities in India has been highlighted by
Christian Solidarity Worldwide in the wake of the gang rape and
subsequent death of a 23-year-old student in Delhi last month. The
charity's South Asia team leader, David Griffiths, said: "Rape has
often been used as a weapon to spread fear and humiliate the
community being targeted for violence. . . We wish to express our
profound concern and solidarity with them, and urge the government
to act swiftly on their behalf at a time when the horror of rape
and sexual violence is very much on the national agenda."
Nadarkhani freed, but lawyer remains in prison
THE Iranian pastor Yousef Nadarkhani, recently returned to
prison after being acquitted of apostasy (News, 4
January), has been released, Christian Solidarity Worldwide
reports. His lawyer, Mohammed Ali Dadkhah, is serving a ten-year
prison sentence after being found guilty in September of "actions
and propaganda against the Islamic regime" and keeping banned books
in his home. Concerns have been expressed for his well-being after
reports that he is suffering from memory loss, and is under
pressure to make a televised confession of guilt.
Gay marriages to be held in US National Cathedral
SAME-SEX marriages will soon be held at the Washington National
Cathedral, cathedral officials have told Associated Press. Same-sex
marriage is legal in the District of Columbia, and, since 1
January, is now legal in the state of Maryland. In November 2012,
the Episcopalian Bishop of Washington, the Rt Revd Mariann Edgar
Budde, gave permission for same-sex couples to marry in both areas,
and for Episcopalian clergy to preside.
South Carolina contests 'land grab'
THE Episcopal Church in the United States is facing a lawsuit
from the diocese of South Carolina, which is seeking to "protect"
its property and identity. The Bishop of South Carolina, the Rt
Revd Mark Lawrence, announced that the diocese had disaffiliated
itself from the Episcopal Church in November after a long-running
dispute with its leadership over issues such as gay clergy (News, 23 November). The
Church has argued that dioceses cannot leave, and that
"congregations and property remain in the diocese to be used for
the mission of the Episcopal Church." The Canon to the Ordinary,
the Revd Jim Lewis, said last Friday that the diocese predated the
establishment of the Episcopal Church: "We want to protect these
properties from a blatant land grab."
Congo university attacked
AN ANGLICAN university in Congo was attacked in December for the
first time since it opened two years ago. The Vice-chancellor of
the Université Anglicane du Congo, Canon Daniel Sabiti Tibafa, said
that, on 22 December, armed people broke into his family's house
and threatened to kill him unless he gave them money. Gunshots were
fired, but there were no serious injuries.