Pope’s visit to Iraq, ‘a symbol of hope'

Publication Date: 5/3/2021

Source: UN News

The Pope’s arrival in the Christian northern heartland, will come as a “message of peace and unity supported on a pillar of diversity”, UNESCO said. “This message is at the core of our mandate, where inclusion and diversity are critical to understanding, mutual respect, and ultimately a more peaceful and just world”, it added.

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Court hearing for Pastor Michael

Publication Date: 11/2/2021

Source: Middle East Concern

Prayer was requested for Pastor Michael Feulner of Yalova Lighthouse Church for a court hearing today contesting a security designation that would effectively ban him from the country.
On 11 February Michael and his lawyer attended the hearing at the administrative court in Istanbul. They were given 10 minutes to present their case. The three-judge panel asked no questions and the lawyer representing the immigration department had no comment.

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Pope urges Iraq to embrace its Christians on historic visit

Author: Nicole Winfield and Samya Kullab

Publication Date: 5/3/2021

Source: Associated Press

Pope Francis opened the first-ever papal visit to Iraq on Friday with a plea for the country to protect its centuries-old diversity, urging Muslims to embrace their Christian neighbors as a precious resource and asking the embattled Christian community -- “though small like a mustard seed” -- to persevere.

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Christian Heritage Still Under Threat

Publication Date: 11/2/2021

Source: FSSPX News

The Surp Toros (St. Toros) Armenian Church in the Kutahya region of western Turkey has been razed to the ground. Armenians have once again experienced the Turkish state's contempt for the country’s Christian heritage.

The ancient Armenian Church of St. Toros of Kutahya was built in the Middle Ages during the reign of Sultan Murad. Destroyed in 1603, then rebuilt immediately afterwards, the building was considered an important place of Armenian memory.

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How Cairo’s Heliopolis heritage managed to remain uncovered

Publication Date: 15/2/2021

Source: Al-Monitor

Residents of Cairo’s affluent district of Heliopolis have recently succeeded in stopping at the last minute the construction of a bridge in the heart of the neighborhood that in the eyes of its residents would have threatened its main heritage area. The project was part of the Egyptian authorities' ongoing plans to develop the capital's infrastructure with the aim of solving its increasing traffic problems and improving the connection with surrounding cities.

The new bridge in Heliopolis would have stretched 2 kilometers (1.2 miles) across the neighborhood’s largest and oldest heritage sites, according to the Heliopolis Heritage Initiative, a civil initiative aiming to protect and revive the district’s quality of life that led efforts in stopping the construction of the bridge. The bridge would have run across the most important square in Heliopolis, where its famous 108-year Basilica is located, several buildings of historical importance and Ittihadiya Palace.

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Monitoring group: School textbooks in Turkey call Jews and Christians ‘infidels’

Author: Cnaan Liphshiz

Publication Date: The Times of Israel

Source: 4/3/2021

School textbooks in Turkey under President Recep Tayyip Erdogan have been revised to refer to Jews and Christians as “infidels,” according to a new study.

Whereas previous textbooks referred to members of those religions as “People of the Book,” textbooks such as “Fundamental Religious Knowledge,” a publication released after 2017 that is part of the mandatory curriculum in Turkish elementary schools, have switched to calling them by the pejorative, according to the study published Thursday by the IMPACT-se watchdog group.

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Egypt's plan to remove Quran from school textbooks faces backlash

Publication Date: 27/2/2021

Source: Al-Monitor

Egypt’s parliamentary Defense and National Security Committee, chaired by Maj. Gen. Kamal Amer, discussed during a Feb. 14 meeting a plan by the ministries of culture, religious endowments and education to remove Quranic verses and hadiths (the prophet's sayings) from textbooks, and limit their inclusion to books for religion courses.

The meeting was held upon the request of the committee’s member Farid el-Bayadi, who put forward the plan aimed to counter extremism, and in the presence of Deputy Minister of Education Reda Hegazy.

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Grand Mufti of Egypt says OK for Muslims to build churches

Publication Date: 12/2/2021

Source: Al-Monitor

The Grand Mufti of Egypt issued a fatwa permitting Muslims to work in church construction, which sparked controversy on social media with activists recalling previous fatwas on Salafist websites prohibiting such works.

It seems the Egyptian authorities have been promoting the participation of both Muslims and Copts in the building of houses of worship as a standard to achieve peaceful coexistence in the country since the ouster of the Muslim Brotherhood regime on July 3, 2013. In this context, politicians and media outlets hailed the Coptic Orthodox Archdiocese of Qena’s Feb. 7 decision to donate funds for the completion of Al-Numani Mosque’s construction works.

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Missionary forced to leave Turkey appeals to ECHR: 'God called us there'

Author: Leah Marie Ann Klett

Publication Date: 10/2/2021

Source: The Christian Post

David Byle, a Canadian-American Christian who was forced to leave Turkey after 19 years because of his evangelistic work, has filed a deportation complaint with the European Court of Human Rights.

Alliance Defending Freedom International announced it filed an application on Byle’s behalf with Europe’s top human rights court.

“Everyone has the right to choose their religion and to express it publicly and privately. Being forced to suddenly leave the country you have called home for two decades simply because of what you believe is the stuff of nightmares,” said Robert Clarke, deputy director of ADF International.

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If Muslims Can Build Churches in Egypt, Has Persecution Ended?

Author: Jayson Casper

Publication Date: 22/2/2021

Source: Christianity Today

Egyptian Christians have long struggled to build their churches. But now, they can have Muslim help.

Last month, Egypt’s Grand Mufti Shawki Allam issued a fatwa (religious ruling) allowing Muslim paid labor to contribute toward the construction of a church. Conservative scholars had argued this violated the Quranic injunction to not help “in sin and rancor.”

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