Victims aren’t statistics, says Coptic bishop
THE General Bishop of the Coptic Orthodox Church in the UK, Bishop Angaelos, has warned the international community not to dehumanise as “statistics” the victims of the “deadly, daily” persecution of Christians by terrorists in Egypt. His statement on Tuesday follows a suicide bombing that killed 29 people at St Peter’s Coptic Church, Cairo, last year, and sparked a wave of attacks around the country (News, 12 December). More than 40 Coptic Christians have been killed since. In northern Sinai, seven people were shot or beheaded in separate attacks by Islamic State last week. Several hundred Christian families and students have fled to neighbouring provinces.
Sudanese pardon for Czech aid worker
A CZECH aid worker in Sudan, Petr Jašek, has received a Presidential pardon and been released after being being sentenced in Khartoum last month to 23½ years in prison for multiple crimes — including espionage, entering and photographing military areas, inciting hatred between sects, and the propagation of false new (News, 3 February). A Sudanese pastor, the Revd Hassan Abduraheem (News, 29 January, 2016) and another Sudanese man, Abdumonem Abdumawla, were each sentenced to 12 years on multiple charges, also including espionage. Lawyers representing the three men submitted an appeal against the judgment and sentences on 9 February. The two Sudanese are to remain in prison until a ruling on their appeal, Christian Solidarity Worldwide reported on Monday.
US appeal court rules on South Carolina lawsuit
A COURT OF APPEAL in the United States has, for a second time, ruled in favour of the Episcopal Church in South Carolina in a false-advertising lawsuit, filed in 2013, against the Bishop of the Diocese of South Carolina, the Rt Revd Mark Lawrence, who broke away from the Church in 2012 (News, 19 October, 2012). The appeal court remanded the case back to the District Court in Charleston for another hearing. The Episcopal Church was appealing against a 2015 ruling that allowed the breakaway Diocese of South Carolina to keep church property worth $500 million and retain its name (News, 13 February, 2015).
Christians go missing in Malaysia
THREE Christians have gone missing in Malaysia, Release International reported last week. The charity has received reports that Pastor Raymond Koh was taken from his car in Petaling Jaya city. Another pastor and his wife, who have not been named, went missing more than a month ago, Release partners say. Officials deny all knowledge of their disappearance. Pastor Raymond, who is of Chinese descent, has previously received threats from jihadists.
Only deport ‘nefarious’ says Hispanic leader
HALF of Hispanic Christians worry about deportation for themselves, a family member, or friend, suggests Pew Research Center data provided to Christianity Today. The survey of 1001 Hispanic adults, conducted in December and January, before President Trump’s inauguration, found that Hispanic Roman Catholics (54 per cent) and Protestants (47 per cent) were more likely than the unaffiliated (38 per cent) to say they worried “a lot” or “some” about the threat of deportation. Since the inauguration, the US Department of Homeland Security has issued new immigration-enforcement policies that widen the pool of unauthorised immigrants prioritised for deportation, including those charged with a crime but not convicted. Samuel Rodriguez, one of President Trump’s Evangelical advisers, and President of the National Hispanic Christian Leadership Conference, called on the Government to “enact and fulfil the promise President Trump made not to harm families and exclusively deport those involved in nefarious activities”.