China cracks down on digital Christian presence
CHINESE authorities removed online Bible apps and Christian chat forums over the weekend, Open Doors reports. Fr Francis Liu of the Chinese Christian Fellowship of Righteousness, an evangelistic charity based in California, which seeks to raise awareness of the persecution of Chinese Christians, reported on Twitter that users of Christian chat sites on the Chinese platform We Chat were greeted with the message “[We] received report that [this account] violates the ‘Internet User Public Account Information Services Management Provisions’ and its account has been blocked and suspended.” The director of research at Open Doors International, Dr Ron Boyd-Macmillan, said that the Chinese government was aware of who had downloaded Bible apps and that “owning and continuing to use a Bible app could disadvantage or compromise you”.
Anglican Archbishop in Jerusalem retires
THE Most Revd Suheil Dawani retired as Archbishop in Jerusalem, last month. A service of thanksgiving was held in St George’s Cathedral in the city on 23 April. Installed in 2007, he will be succeeded by the Rt Revd Hosam Naoum, Coadjutor Bishop in Jerusalem, who will be installed on 13 May. In a letter, the Primate of Canada, the Most Revd Linda Nicholls, said that Archbishop Dawani had “exemplified the qualities of Christian leadership, always seeking justice and peace and acting with generous compassion and grace”. The Archbishop in Jerusalem oversees 27 parishes spread throughout Israel, Palestine, Jordan, Syria, and Lebanon.
Remaining captives freed in Haiti
THE remaining Roman Catholic hostages in Haiti, taken by a street gang last month, have been freed unharmed, Vatican News reports. On 11 April, five priests, two nuns, and three relatives were abducted at gunpoint in the town of Croix des Bouquets (News, 16 April). Four of the party were released last week (News, 30 April), and all ten are now free. The Archbishop of Port Au Prince, the Most Revd Max Leroy Mesidor, said: “Our contentment will be greater, when we live in a country where kidnappings don’t exist, where everyone can move as they want, and there’s respect for the law.”
One year since Nigerian atheist detained
CALLS have intensified for the release of Mubarak Bala, a Nigerian atheist and President of the Humanist Association of Nigeria, jailed for allegedly insulting the Prophet Muhammad on Facebook, RNS reports. The first anniversary of his arrest fell on Wednesday of last week (News, 8 May 2020). Mr Bala renounced his Muslim faith in 2014 and has since faced numerous death threats and harassment. A petition to the Governor of Kano Province, where Mr Bala is held, organised by Humanist International leaders, demands his immediate unconditional release.