World Notes & Quotes
Egyptian Bishop and Priests Arrested
“Freedom House, a Washington-based human rights group, said the clerics — a bishop and two priests — were arrested Oct. 10, and released later the same day after being interrogated for several hours and posting bail. No trial date has been announced,” it reported.
“Citing information provided by the independent, Cairo-based Center for Egyptian Human Rights for National Unity, Freedom House said the clerics — members of Egypt's ancient Christian Church — were arrested after defending victims of alleged police brutality and torture in the southern Egyptian town of El-Kosheh.
“Arresting the three clerics, added Freedom House, means that ‘Christians face further persecution for simply protesting acts of abuse by the authorities or Islamic extremists.’”
Church Also Has Interest in Jerusalem, Says Vatican
“The Holy See believes in the importance of extending the representation at the negotiating table in order to be sure that no aspect of the problems is overlooked and to affirm that the whole international community is responsible for the uniqueness and the sacredness of this incomparable city,” Reuters quoted Tauran saying in a speech in Jerusalem.
“The meaning and value of Jerusalem are so great, are so unique, that they go beyond the interests of one state or beyond bilateral agreements between one and another state,” he continued, according to the report. “It is essential that the parties to the negotiations take fair and appropriate account of the sacred and universal character of the city. This requires that any possible solution should have the support of the three monotheistic religions, both at the local level and at the international level,” said Tauran, attending a Church conference in East Jerusalem.
The report noted that last May, Pope John Paul II said he hoped “international guarantees of the unique and sacred character of the Holy City” would be in place by 2000, and that Israel responded that such guarantees were not needed, because the rights of Christians were already protected in Jerusalem.
Persecution of Christians: The Forgotten “Hate Crime”?
It opened with these dramatic examples: “A Presbyterian pastor overlooks threats and builds the first Christian church in his region of Pakistan. A mob destroys the church. Masked men invade the pastor's home and stab him to death. A mob ransacked this church in rural Pakistan, where Christians have little recourse against such violence.
“A man leaves Islam to become a Christian. Egyptian secret police arrest him without a formal charge and torture him with an electric probe to make him inform them about other converts.
“A Roman Catholic boy in southern Sudan plays in the trees with his friends. Soldiers waging a holy war capture him and send him into slavery, where he is given an Islamic name and beaten with sticks by his master's wives.”
Events like this are causing a change in attitudes, it said. “From Bosnian Muslims to Soviet Jews to Buddhists in Tibet, Americans have long been concerned about the rights of religious minorities around the world. Only recently have Christians been added to that list.”
The article went on to explore the many new efforts being made by legislators and activists to address the problem.
- November 08-14, 1998