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World news in brief

09 September 2016


Sign of peace: a poster for the campaign: Kampania Przeciw Homofobii

Sign of peace: a poster for the campaign: Kampania Przeciw Homofobii

Polish Christians join pro-LGBT campaign
A CAMPAIGN in Poland to promote dialogue and respect for LGBT people has been created by anti-homophobia and Roman Catholic organisations. The campaign “Let us offer each other a sign of peace” states that it hopes to show “people of faith” that they should engage with LGBT people with respect, and also persuade the LGBT community that dialogue with the Church is necessary. A survey in Poland in 2014 suggested that 70 per cent of Poles thought that same-sex sexual activity was morally unacceptable.



Russian charged over Pokémon Go in church
A BLOGGER in Russia, Ruslan Sokolovsky, has been arrested and charged with inciting hatred and offending religious sensibilities after he played the Pokémon Go mobile game (News, 22 July) in an Orthodox church. Mr Sokolovsky filmed himself hunting for virtual Pokémon creatures in All Saints’, Yekaterinburg, in August, and was raided by police last week. He has now been charged and denied bail. In his video, watched by hundreds of thousands of people on YouTube, Mr Sokolovsky ridicules news reports that it might be an offence to play Pokémon Go in a church. The charges relating to hate speech are punishable by up to five years in prison.


Laos summit urged to support religious freedom
CAMPAIGNERS hope to use this year’s Association of Southeast Asian Nations summit in Laos to highlight the persecution of Christians in that country. A charity that supports persecuted Christians, Release International, has urged the summit to guarantee freedom of religion and stop the persecution of Christians. “Caught between a Communist government, and a widespread belief in Buddhism and animism, Christians have been killed, driven from their homes, arrested, and harassed by the police,” a Release statement said. The charity is also now helping to train church leaders in Thailand, as it is impossible to do so in Laos.


Release Chinese Christian, says CSW
THE 15-year prison sentenced imposed on a Christian, Alimujan Yimit, from Xinjiang, in northern China, should be judicially reviewed, Christian Solidarity Worldwide (CSW) has said. Mr Yimit, a member of an ethnic-minority group, the Uyghurs, was convicted in 2009 of providing state secrets to foreigners. He has always denied the charges, which, CSW believes, are motivated by his status as a leader of an “illegal” unregistered church. A UN working group has also declared that he is being arbitrarily detained. CSW has called on the authorities to reassess his case impartially, and release him, as he is being “penalised for his peaceful religious activities”.


Correction. Last week’s report on the Italian earthquake stated that Mgr Krajewski was due to visit the affected areas. It was Pope Francis who planned to travel to the area.

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