A Malaysian woman who converted to Christianity and waged a seven-year fight to legalize the change now stands in danger of being jailed for apostasy after the Muslim-majority country’s highest court ruled that she does not have a constitutional right to convert from Islam.
One of the lesser-known calamities of the Iraq war is the flood of refugees it has produced. According to United Nations officials, about 2 million Iraqis have fled the country since the start of the war—mostly to Jordan and Syria—and almost as many Iraqis have been displaced inside their own country.
A fifth Methodist body has joined an ongoing effort to foster cooperation among black and white Methodists. The little-known Union American Methodist Episcopal Church joined the Commission on Pan-Methodist Cooperation and Union during the commission’s November 19-21 meeting in Dallas, the United Methodist News Service reported.
Syrian Catholic Archbishop Basilios Georges Casmoussa of Mosul, Iraq, had been speaking in Bangkok, Thailand, on a mid-October day to a global gathering of Catholic media specialists about religious coexistence —despite bombings in August that struck five Iraqi churches, killing at least 12 with dozens more wounded.
On a recent Sunday Iraqi Christians flocked to the Latin Catholic church in the Hashmi district of Amman, a drab working-class area in the Jordanian capital, where they joined in a mass in the ancient Chaldean language. Some 200 worshipers packed the sanctuary adorned with a simple wooden cross and a picture of the Virgin and Christ.
The House of Representatives has approved a bill that would prohibit federal courts from ruling on the merits of a 1996 law that allowed states not to recognize gay marriages performed by other states. On July 22 the House adopted, 233-194, the Marriage Protection Act, which would tie the hands of all federal courts—including the U.S.
Walking toward Chicago’s Federal Plaza a few months ago, I saw what appeared to be a rather large aggregate of people engaging in aerobic exercises. On closer inspection, however, the group—many of them of Chinese background—proved to be performing the slow-motion rituals of the spiritual movement known as Falun Gong, which claims a worldwide following of around 100 million.
Released Israeli nuclear whistleblower Mordechai Vanunu said on April 21 he had been persecuted by the authorities in Israel because of his conversion to Christianity. “I want to tell those who say I am a traitor, I suffered here 18 years because I am a Christian,” Vanunu said after his release from 18 years in jail.
The Israeli government’s refusal to renew visas to Christian clergy in the Holy Land has precipitated a crisis with the Vatican and the entire Christian world, say Catholic representatives. All told, it is estimated that hundreds of priests, nuns and Christian volunteers have not been granted permission to remain in Israel.