Media Watch

Christians Begin Leaving Iraq

INSIGHT ON THE NEWS, May 28 — Citing a temporary constitution that lists Islam as the official state religion and the absence of any position on the executive council, Christians have started to leave Iraq.

Most of the Christians in Iraq are Assyrian Christians, who claim to be the original inhabitants of Iraq. They were the people of Ninevah, present-day Mosul, where God sent Jonah of the Old Testament, Insight on the News noted.

“We thought the Americans were going to bring us freedom and democracy,” said a 31-year-old Christian named Robert. “Instead, they are promoting Islam. We do not understand it. … We love the Americans! We are so grateful for them removing Saddam and giving us back our freedom. We do not want their effort to be a failure if the dictatorship of Saddam is replaced by the dictatorship of Islam.”

Italian Teens Murdered in Satanic Ritual

REUTERS, June 7 — Police in Italy have arrested four members of a band called Beasts of Satan for the murder of two former band members. The killings are believed to have been a part of a satanic sacrifice.

Police announced in early June they had uncovered in northern Italy the bodies of a 16-year-old and a 19-year-old who were last seen in January 1998 leaving a pizzeria with other members of the heavy-metal rock band, Reuters reported.

As many as 5,000 people are thought to be members of satanic cults in Italy, according to officials, with 17- to 25-year-olds making up three-quarters of them.

Ireland Archbishop Attends Presbyterian Assembly

BELFAST TELEGRAPH (Ireland), June 8 — Despite protests from Presbyterians, Archbishop Sean Brady of Armagh, Northern Ireland, made history June 7 when he became the first Roman Catholic leader to attend the opening of the Presbyterian General Assembly in Belfast, Northern Ireland.

Members of three of the 21 Presbyteries in preceding weeks had questioned the invitation, expressing their theological misgivings about a Catholic archbishop being asked to attend the assembly.

“I find that through dialogue people can retain their strong convictions but can still grow in appreciation and understanding of one another,” Archbishop Brady said. “This evening is another step in a journey to a greater appreciation and understanding of one another's position, so that we all may do and follow what the Lord wants us to do.”

Human Rights Watch Calls for Vietnam Investigation

CATHNEWS.COM (Australia), June 8 — Reports that government soldiers in Vietnam killed dozens of Christians during peaceful protests at Easter have prompted calls for further investigation into the matter.

According to The Tablet, a London Catholic newspaper, thousands of Christians gathered to protest religious discrimination and confiscation of ancestral lands April 10-11, reported. Soldiers beat dozens to death.

Vietnam's communist government, however, insists only two people died and that they were “violent extremists.”

Sam Zarifi, the deputy director of Human Rights Asia, said indigenous Christians were still unable to live freely in their villages and are threatened with violence if they leak information on their situation to the outside world.