Saudi Arabia is modernising, but will this mean greater freedom for religious minorities?

Saudi Arabia is modernising, but will this mean greater freedom for religious minorities?
The political landscape in the strict Islamic Kingdom of Saudi Arabia is changing, and quickly. A charismatic crown prince seems determined to modernise his country and even speaks of a shift towards a more “moderate” Islam. But will the changes taking place in Saudi also ease the situation for members . . . Read More

Malaysia’s reputation as moderate Muslim nation hangs by a thread

Mosque in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia
Malaysia is seen by most Western countries as one of the moderate Muslim nations, an ally to be cultivated and befriended in the battle against militant Islam. The country’s Prime Minister, Najib Razak, was among one of the leaders to visit US President Donald Trump in his first year of . . . Read More

A Middle Eastern Christian’s view of Pence’s agenda

A Middle Eastern Christian’s view of Pence’s agenda
A Jordanian Christian trauma counsellor has urged US Vice President Mike Pence to recognise Palestinian statehood to make good his pledge to help Christians in the Middle East. Issam Smeir, who has worked with refugees in the Middle East and in the US, wrote a first-person piece for the Washington . . . Read More

US State Department adds Pakistan to religious-freedom watch list

Burial of victims of a suicide attack on the Methodist Bethel Church in Quetta, Pakistan, on Sunday 17 December 2017 in which at least 9 people were killed. (Photo: World Watch Monitor)
The US State Department has placed Pakistan on a “Special Watch List” for severe violators of religious freedom, it announced yesterday (4 January) with the publication of its annual list of ‘Countries of Particular Concern’. The announcement comes as the US government cuts security aid to Pakistan, saying the country . . . Read More

Freedom of thought ‘regressing on a global scale’

There are many Pakistani Christian women like Aasiya Noreen who live in fear of the Blasphemy law in their country and the (potential of) abuse. (Photo: World Watch Monitor)
The 2017 Freedom of Thought Report, presented yesterday (5 December), should be alarming “to all who care about freedom of thought and expression”, as it shows “a pattern of regression on a global scale”, says its editor, Bob Churchill. The report, published by the International Humanist and Ethical Union (IHEU) . . . Read More

How serious is Saudi Arabia about religious freedom?

How serious is Saudi Arabia about religious freedom?
Saudi Arabia’s Crown Prince, Mohammad bin Salman, says he wants to move his conservative Muslim country towards a more moderate version of Islam, but how serious is he about religious freedom? Speaking at a conference for investors in Riyadh last month the 32-year-old Crown Prince said the conservative version of . . . Read More

Saudi Arabia to reopen ancient church as ‘gift’ to visiting Lebanese Patriarch

Saudi Arabia to reopen ancient church as ‘gift’ to visiting Lebanese Patriarch
Saudi Arabia’s Crown Prince, Mohammad bin Salman, has reportedly announced plans to restore and re-open a 900-year-old church as a “gift” to the Lebanese Patriarch. The church is to be used as a centre for inter-religious dialogue, according to Catholic news agency Fides. The Maronite Patriarch, Bechara Boutros al-Rai, has . . . Read More