FaithWorld

Sudanese woman sentenced to death for converting to Christianity

(Al-Nour mosque, Khartoum)

(Al-Nour mosque, Khartoum, 19 December 2011/simsimt)

A Sudanese court has sentenced a 27-year-old woman to death for converting to Christianity, judicial sources said.

Mariam Yahya Ibrahim had been ordered to abandon her newly adopted Christian faith and return to Islam. She had also been charged with adultery for marrying a Christian man.

Judge Abbas al Khalifa asked Ibrahim whether she would return to Islam. After she said “I am a Christian,” the death sentence was handed down, the judicial sources said.

A government spokesman said the ruling could be appealed in a higher court.

“Sudan is committed to all human rights and freedom of faith granted in Sudan by the constitution and law,” Foreign Ministry spokesman Abu-Bakr Al-Siddiq said. He added that his ministry trusted the integrity and independence of the judiciary.

Outside the court, around 50 people held up signs that read “Freedom of Religion”, while some Islamists celebrated the ruling, chanting “God is Greatest.”

Religious tensions deepen Ukraine splits – Russian Orthodox official

(Metropolitan Hilarion, head of the Russian Orthodox Church's foreign relations department, attends an interview with Reuters in Moscow May 16, 2014. Religious tensions are deepening dividing lines in Ukraine's crisis, with rival churches taking political sides and Kiev slighting the Russian Orthodox Church, Metropolitan Hilarion said on Friday. REUTERS/Maxim Shemetov )

(Metropolitan Hilarion, head of the Russian Orthodox Church’s foreign relations department, at an interview with Reuters in Moscow May 16, 2014. REUTERS/Maxim Shemetov )

Religious tensions are deepening dividing lines in Ukraine’s crisis, with rival churches taking political sides and Kiev slighting the Russian Orthodox Church, a senior official of the Moscow-based church said on Friday.

Metropolitan Hilarion, head of the Russian Church’s foreign relations department, said other churches had clearly lined up behind the Kiev government and he cited religious differences for its decision to refuse him entry to Ukraine last week.

In Indonesia, moderate Islamic party returns to political center stage

(Jakarta governor and presidential candidate Joko Widodo looks on during PDIP party campaign in Jakarta March 16, 2014. In a sign Indonesians are coming to assume that the hugely popular Jakarta governor Widodo will be their next president, even the outgoing leader is pressing him to be more explicit about his policies before he is in office. Picture take March 16, 2014. REUTERS/Beawiharta)

(Jakarta governor and presidential candidate Joko Widodo looks on during PDIP party campaign in Jakarta March 16, 2014. REUTERS/Beawiharta)

Indonesian presidential frontrunner Joko “Jokowi” Widodo has joined hands with the country’s most popular Islamic party, cementing the surprise resurgence of Muslim parties in this year’s election and possibly renewing their voice in the new government.

The National Awakening Party (PKB) on Saturday became the latest party to back Jokowi’s Indonesian Democratic-Party of Struggle (PDI-P) and his bid for president on July 9.

Attacks on churches in Israel are “poison” before pope’s visit, patriarch says

(Latin Patriarch of Jerusalem Fouad Twal, the top Roman Catholic cleric in the Holy Land, pauses during a news conference in the northern city of Haifa, called due to recent attacks dubbed "price tagging", May 11, 2014. Twal said on Sunday a spate of attacks he described as acts of terror against the church were poisoning the atmosphere ahead of this month's visit by Pope Francis, and urged Israel to arrest more perpetrators. REUTERS/Ammar Awad)

(Latin Patriarch of Jerusalem Fouad Twal, the top Roman Catholic cleric in the Holy Land, pauses during a news conference in the northern city of Haifa, May 11, 2014. REUTERS/Ammar Awad)

The top Roman Catholic cleric in the Holy Land said on Sunday a spate of attacks against the Church had poisoned the atmosphere ahead of this month’s visit by Pope Francis, and urged Israel to crack down on the perpetrators.

Fourteen attacks by suspected far-right Israelis have been reported in the past year. Several have been carried out over the last month, including a death threat daubed in Hebrew at the Assembly of Bishops at the Notre Dame Center in East Jerusalem.

Top Russian Orthodox cleric Hilarion says refused entry to Ukraine

(Pope Francis (L) poses with Metropolitan Hilarion, the foreign minister of the Russian Orthodox Church, during a private meeting at the Vatican March 20, 2013. Pope Francis urged members of all religions and those belonging to no church on Wednesday to unite to defend justice, peace and the environment and not allow the value of a person to be reduced to "what he produces and what he consumes". REUTERS/Osservatore Romano)

(Metropolitan Hilarion (R), the foreign minister of the Russian Orthodox Church, with Pope Francis (L) at the Vatican March 20, 2013. REUTERS/Osservatore Romano)

A top cleric from the Russian Orthodox Church said he was refused entry to Ukraine this week amid an escalating stand-off between Moscow and Kiev over separatist unrest in Ukraine’s east.

The church’s Department of External Relations said its head, Metropolitan Hilarion, was turned back on Friday at the airport in the eastern city of Dnipropetrovsk where he came to award a prize to a local cleric.

Plans for ‘black mass’ at Harvard anger Boston Catholics

(A seal hangs over a building at Harvard University in Cambridge, Massachusetts November 16, 2012. REUTERS/Jessica Rinaldi )

(A seal hangs over a building at Harvard University in Cambridge, Massachusetts November 16, 2012. REUTERS/Jessica Rinaldi )

A Harvard University student group plans to hold a re-enactment of a satanic ritual on the school’s historic campus, drawing criticism from local Roman Catholic officials, who expressed “deep sadness and strong opposition” to the plan.

The Harvard Extension Cultural Studies Club said in a statement posted online that it plans to host “a historical re-enactment of a black mass ceremony that has a narrator providing historical context and background.”

Saudi Arabia’s top cleric says Nigeria’s Boko Haram smears Islam

(Women holding signs take part in a protest demanding the release of abducted secondary school girls from the remote village of Chibok, in Lagos May 5, 2014. The Islamist militant group Boko Haram claimed responsibility on Monday for the abduction of more than 200 schoolgirls during a raid in the village of Chibok in northeast Nigeria last month, the French news agency AFP reported, citing a video it had obtained. Boko Haram on April 14 stormed an all-girl secondary school in Chibok, in Borno state, then packed the teenagers, who had been taking exams, onto trucks and disappeared into a remote area along the border with Cameroon. REUTERS/Akintunde Akinleye)

(Women holding signs take part in a protest demanding the release of abducted secondary school girls from the remote village of Chibok, in Lagos May 5, 2014.REUTERS/Akintunde Akinleye)

Saudi Arabia’s grand mufti, the top religious authority in the birthplace of Islam, has condemned Nigeria’s Boko Haram as a group “set up to smear the image of Islam” and condemned its kidnapping of over 200 schoolgirls.

Sheikh Abdulaziz Al al-Sheikh said the radical movement, which says it wants to establish a “pure” Islamic state in Nigeria, was “misguided” and should be “shown their wrong path and be made to reject it.”

Saudi Liberals website founder sentenced to 10 years in jail and 1,000 lashes

(Saudi students attend a computer class at King Saud University in Riyadh October 30, 2002. The university is one of several major educational institutions turning out thousands of graduates every year in search of jobs. The government is stepping up efforts at "Saudization" in a country where a third of the workforce is foreign and unemployment among Saudis is running anywhere between eight to 12 percent. REUTERS/Ali Jarekji)

(Saudi students attend a computer class at King Saud University in
Riyadh October 30, 2002. REUTERS/Ali Jarekji)

A court in Saudi Arabia has sentenced the editor of an Internet forum he founded to discuss the role of religion in the conservative Islamic kingdom to 10 years in jail and 1,000 lashes, Saudi media reported on Wednesday.

Raif Badawi, who started the “Free Saudi Liberals” website, was originally sentenced to seven years in prison and 600 lashes in July last year, but an appeals court overturned the sentence and ordered a retrial.

Republican California candidate for governor blasted over Sharia comments

(Committee Chairman U.S. Representative Darrell Issa (R-CA) holds a House Oversight and Government Reform Committee hearing on alleged targeting of political groups seeking tax-exempt status from by the Internal Revenue Service (IRS), on Capitol Hill in Washington, May 22, 2013. REUTERS/Jonathan Ernst)

(Committee Chairman U.S. Representative Darrell Issa (R-CA) holds a House Oversight and Government Reform Committee hearing in Washington, May 22, 2013. REUTERS/Jonathan Ernst)

U.S. Representative Darrell Issa sharply criticized a California gubernatorial candidate from the Republican Tea Party faction who erroneously suggested a rival of Indian descent was supportive of Islamic Sharia law.

The squabble on Thursday among fellow Republicans in the most populous U.S. state comes in a race where Democratic Governor Jerry Brown has shown a commanding lead in opinion polls.

‘Election’ massacres of Muslims darken India immigration debate

(Villagers from Muslim communities wail upon seeing the body of a woman at a relief camp in Narayanguri village in Baksa district in the northeastern Indian state of Assam May 4, 2014. India deployed troops in Assam on Saturday after more than 30 Muslims were gunned down in three days of what police said were attacks by Bodo tribal militants, who resent the presence of settlers they claim are illegal immigrants from Bangladesh. Hindu nationalist Narendra Modi, the prime ministerial front-runner in India's mammoth general election, on Sunday reiterated his strong stance against illegal immigrants, just days after a wave of sectarian killings in the north-eastern state of Assam. REUTERS/Utpal Baruah)

(Villagers from Muslim communities wail upon seeing the body of a woman at a relief camp in Narayanguri village in Baksa district in the northeastern Indian state of Assam May 4, 2014.REUTERS/Utpal Baruah)

From his hiding place in a cowshed, Sefaqul Islam watched as masked gunmen moved through his village, shot women and children dead with automatic rifles and tossed wounded survivors into the blazing remains of their homes.

The cattle herder’s sister and seven-year-old nephew were among 41 Muslims killed by suspected tribal militants last week in India’s remote state of Assam, the latest atrocity against people accused of being immigrants from neighbouring Bangladesh.