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World news in brief

28 June 2024


Protesters hide behind a banner in Nairobi on Tuesday, as Kenyan police water cannon spray them during a protest against proposed tax increases

Protesters hide behind a banner in Nairobi on Tuesday, as Kenyan police water cannon spray them during a protest against proposed tax increases

Kenyan Primate backs Generation Z tax protest

YOUNG people protesting against the Kenyan government’s finance Bill are not “enemies of the country” and must be heard, the Archbishop of Kenya, the Most Revd Jackson Ole Sapit, has said. He was speaking on Monday after seeking to prevent politicians’ addressing the congregation at the consecration of the Bishop of Nyahururu, the Rt Revd Samson Mburu. “Generation Z are not the enemies of the country, they have a right and a reason to protest,” he said, the Nation newspaper reported. “The police should refrain from using extra force. . . Let us listen to them; they are our children, we need a solution to what they are asking and seeking.” Thirteen people were reported to have died in the escalating violence. The Bill was passed by the National Assembly on Tuesday, despite opposition. A statement by the Inter-Religious Council of Kenya, signed by the Kenya Conference of Catholic Bishops, and National Council of Churches of Kenya, had demanded the withdrawal of the Bill and its “punitive tax measures”. The head of UK advocacy and campaigns at Christian Aid, Jennifer Larbie, said on Wednesday: “When riots have been sparked by tax rises to pay off national debt interest, how can the UK Government sit in silence? We have a moral responsibility to intervene with debt relief measures so that millions of people living in fear of conflict and poverty can thrive.” 

Viganò has ‘no intention’ of obeying summons to Rome

A FORMER Apostolic Nuncio to the United States, Archbishop Carlo Maria Viganò, has posted online a communication from the Dicastery for the Doctrine of the Faith summoning him to Rome to face an “extrajudicial penal process”, having been accused of schism. In 2018, he published a 7000-word letter accusing Pope Francis of knowingly covering up the crimes of the abusive Cardinal Theodore McCarrick, and calling for the Pope’s resignation (News, 31 August 2018). The Archbishop now stands accused, he says, of refusing to recognise the legitimacy of the current Pope and the Second Vatican Council. In a statement to Lifesite News, Archishop Viganò said that he had “no intention” of attending the summons, and that he did not recognise the authority of the Dicastery or the Pope.

Pakistanis seek legislation against mob violence

RESOLUTIONS calling for measures to prevent mob lynching and to protect minorities were passed this week by the National Assembly of Pakistan and the provincial Punjab Assembly, the Centre for Legal Aid, Assistance and Settlement (CLAAS), a charity working for persecuted Christians in Pakistan, reports. The charity welcomed a “pivotal moment in the country’s legislative efforts to combat violence and ensure the safety and rights of all citizens, particularly religious minorities”. The legislative action also aimed to “curb the misuse of blasphemy laws and safeguard innocent lives from unjust persecution”, it said. Earlier this month, a 73-year-old Pakistani Christian, Lazar (Nazir) Masih, died in hospital, a week after being attacked by a mob (News, 7 June). Also this month, a tourist, Mohammad Ismail, was killed during a mob attack on the police station where he was being questioned on suspicion of desecrating the Qur’an.

CSW welcomes pledge by Syrian commander

THE chief executive of Christian Solidarity Worldwide, Sir Mervyn Thomas, has praised a commander in the Syrian National Army for his stated commitment to protecting the remaining Christians in Ras Al-Ein, a town close to the Turkish border and currently largely under the control of Islamist militias. The commander, Abdulaziz Al-Sawadi, visited St Thomas’s Syriac Orthodox Church and the church’s library, CSW reports. A local resident told the charity that, in areas under militia control, farmlands were confiscated and landowners were forced to pay unlawful taxes and bribes. A senior tribal chief said that the militia groups were “warlords who betrayed the aspirations of the 2011 uprising”.

US clergy join in action against Decalogue law

PARENTS of schoolchildren, including some of the clergy, have filed a lawsuit against Louisiana’s new law mandating the display of the Ten Commandments in public (state) schools, the Religious News Service reports. Filed on Monday by Americans United for the Separation of Church and State, the Freedom From Religion Foundation, and offices of the American Civil Liberties Union, the complaint argues that the law violates their First Amendment right to religious freedom as well as the US Constitution’s prohibition of establishing a state religion. The Revd Jeff Sims, a Presbyterian minister, told a press conference: “This is religious favouritism, and it is not only dangerous, but runs counter to my religion and faith.”

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