Monday, January 31, 2011

Seeking Justice:Brenda Chamzungu Phiri

Brenda Chamzungu Phiri

Only justice will serve both, Prophet Shepherd Bushiri and Brenda Chamzungu Phiri.

But justice has a cost, too.

So, Bakili Muluzi is still interested in politics?

After all, domestic cats never go around, poking their noses in water.

'Status of Internet in Egypt'

About a half-hour past midnight on Friday in Egypt, the internet went dead.

Almost simultaneously, the handful of companies that pipe the internet into and
out of Egypt went dark as protesters were gearing up for a fresh round of
demonstrations calling for the end of president Hosni Mubarak's nearly 30-year
rule, experts said.

Egypt has apparently done what many technologists thought was unthinkable for
any country with a major internet economy: It unplugged itself entirely from the
internet to try and silence dissent.-Committee to Protect Bloggers

In Zambia, authorities illegally shutter radio station

Authorities in Zambia’s Western Province must immediately allow community station Radio Lyambayi to return to air, the Committee to Protect Journalists said today. The government raided the private broadcaster based in Mongu, about 360 miles (580 kilometers) west of the capital, Lusaka, carting away computers and other broadcasting equipment on January 16, according to the Media Institute of Southern Africa (MISA).

Police then interrogated News Editor Nyambe Muyumbana on January 18 for more than nine hours about the intent of the debate program, and summoned station manager Mukeya Liwena, according to local journalists. Neither has been formally charged.

Mongu experienced deadly clashes between security forces and demonstrators the day of the raid. The indigenous Lozi-speaking people have stirred a secessionist movement in the area, fueled by claims of poverty and marginalization. Mongu is the capital of Western Province, formerly known as Barotseland, a former British protectorate that united with Zambia under the 1964 Barotse Agreement.

The government’s action violated the 2002 Independent Broadcasting Act, which established procedures and an independent authority to sanction broadcasters, according to MISA Chairman Daniel Sikazwe.
“We call on the government to immediately allow Radio Lyambayi back on the air and to return its equipment,” said CPJ Africa Advocacy Coordinator Mohamed Keita.  “This is a clear violation of the law.”
Various government officials have publicly justified the station’s closure by claiming it had incited unrest, without specifying how exactly. Private station Muvi TV quoted  Western Province official Richard Mwapela as saying that government ordered police to shut down the station for “playing an advertisement that was allegedly inciting people to rise against the government.” (Mwapela did not specify what advertisement he was referring to.) Finance Minister Situmbeko Musokotwane accused the station of inciting residents against the laws of Zambia, reported Lusaka Times. The state-run Daily Mail reported a story describing the incident as “an illegal radio broadcast on Radio Lyambai in which alarming sentiments bordering on treason were aired.”

MISA Zambia, which analyzed a recording of Radio Lyambayi’s broadcasts, determined that the accusations of incitement to violence were baseless, Sikazwe told CPJ. The station had aired a musical selection that included Bob Marley’s Burnin’ and Lootinalong with speeches by Martin Luther King and Nelson Mandelaand a debate program about secession, Sikazwe said.
National police spokeswoman Siaman Ndandula declined to comment to CPJ on the shutdown of the station, referring inquiries to Inspector-General of Police Francis Kabonde. Kabonde did not immediately return a request for comment.- CPJ

Lucius Phaiya verbatim

Lucius wrote: "My Bra,will you eat a man who is actually tasteless? Talk about brothers in love! You might have shared the chalice, but at least you were first to drink from the well. U know perhaps the world is running short of women- now that women are accepted in the army. I suggest we make do with the few that remain by sharing the pie instead of scrambling for it."

David Kato - Condolences from OutRage! London

 
Statement by OutRage! on the murder of David Kato in Uganda: 

We, the members of OutRage! in London, express our sincere condolences to Sexual Minorities Uganda (SMUG) and to the Ugandan LGBTI community concerning the tragic, brutal murder of David Kato. 

We salute David and his immense, brave contribution to LGBTI human rights in Uganda. 

He was an inspiring campaigner of long and great commitment. He will live on in our memories. He will also live on through the rights and equalities that LGBTI Ugandans will win eventually thanks to his many years of tireless groundwork and campaigning.  

We express our admiration and appreciation to all the members of SMUG who are battling for LGBTI freedom in  conditions of great adversity and danger. Their courage and tenacity is awesome. 

We hope this savage killing will finally prompt Uganda's political, religious and media leaders to cease their homophobic witch-hunts. We call on the government of Uganda to withdraw the 'kill the gays' Anti-Homosexuality Bill, decriminalise same-sex relations and legislate protection for LGBTI people against discrimination and hate crimes

Yours in mournful comradeship,

Peter Tatchell, OutRage! London UK

Malaria took on Zachimalawi, death took on Kato: David Kato - In Memoriam

London – 27 January 2011
Ugandan LGBTI rights activist David Kato was found murdered in his house on 26 January 2011. He had received homophobic death threats and had been pictured and named by Uganda’s Rolling Stone magazine in an article that called for gay people to be killed.
British human rights campaigner Peter Tatchell said:
“My sincere condolences to Sexual Minorities Uganda (SMUG) and to the Ugandan LGBTI community concerning the tragic, brutal murder of David Kato.
“I salute David and his immense, brave contribution to LGBTI human rights in Uganda.
“He was an inspiring campaigner of long and great commitment.
“David will live on in our memories. He will also live on through the rights and equalities that LGBTI Ugandans will win eventually thanks to his many years of tireless groundwork and campaigning.
“I express my admiration and appreciation to all the members of SMUG who are battling for LGBTI freedom in conditions of great adversity and danger. Their courage and tenacity is awesome.
“This savage killing will, I hope, finally prompt Uganda's political, religious and media leaders to cease their homophobic witch-hunts. Their hatred helps create the bigoted atmosphere that leads to queer-bashing violence.
“I urge the government of Uganda to withdraw the 'kill the gays' Anti-Homosexuality Bill, decriminalise same-sex relations and legislate protection for LGBTI people against discrimination and hate crimes,” said Mr Tatchell.

What happened recently: Memorial Vigil for David Kato in London

Murdered Ugandan LGBTI activist honoured

Friday 28 January 10.30am, Ugandan High Commission

Friday 28 January 2011
10:30 - 12:30
Uganda High Commission
58-59 Trafalgar Square
London SW1, United Kingdom

(south side by the start of Pall Mall, nearest tube Charing Cross)


LGBTI activist David Kato was beaten to death in his home in Uganda on 26 January.

David's funeral will be held on Friday 28th January. To coincide, a memorial vigil is being held outside the Ugandan High Commission in London.

Please spread the word via your email lists and Facebooks - and join us at the vigil.

David had been receiving death threats since his photo was put on the front page of Uganda's Rolling Stone magazine, which called for the death of all LGBTI people.

David's murder came soon after the Supreme Court of Uganda ruled that the media must stop inciting violence against LGBTIs and must respect their right to privacy and human dignity.

David's brutal killing should not be allowed to pass unnoticed. Join us to demand equality and human rights for all Ugandans, regardless of sexual orientation or gender identity.

Tuesday, January 25, 2011

Where are the rains

It has been two weeks without 'actual' rains in Blantyre.

All we have are 'showers'.

Some people depend on the rains as a free source of water in a commercial city (Blantyre) where water is as scarce as gold.

Without it, many are lost.

However, other people are happy. They say the rains' 'behaviour' are an indication that we will have bumper yields this year.

We choose to believe them, because we love our country, and always hope for the better.

But let the rains come, anyway. That children may walk in between the drops, and feel on top of the world.

Monday, January 24, 2011

Advice to the Chinese Ambassador to Malawi

Tell your people to stop syphoning our scarce Malawi Kwacha outside the country. It is a shame.

And, what is it I hear about the two Chinese citizens caught at Kamuzu International Aiport?

It this friendship, or something else?

Please, correct this piece of modern Chinese nonsense before our people lose trust in you.

The Chinese people are good people, on the whole; but they have bad apples, too.

Let President Bingu wa Mutharika declare that a Chinese national caught stealing, or endulging in any other criminal activity, be shot on the spot.

There is no difference with robbery, as Mutharika said last week.

Good New Year, Our Chinese Friends

Let us, here at Zachimalawi, take this opportuniy to congratulate our good friends, the Chinese, on the occasion of their New Year today.

Fataviam Invenient!

How Chistians Have Suffered This Month

January 4, 2011


Lebanon (Hat tip to GatesofVienna)

Have Christians "ceased to count" as Pierre Valognes' "Vie et mort des chr├ętiens d'Orient" (Life and death of Eastern Christians) suggests? Are they a "race on their way to extinction" as a diplomat said privately?



January 5, 2011

The World

Despite Communist North Korea topping the annual Open Doors World Watch List for the ninth consecutive year, the most dangerous countries in which to practice Christianity are overwhelmingly Islamic ones.



January 11, 2011

Nigeria (Hat tip to NewEnglishReview)

A policeman was shot to death and another was seriously wounded while they were guarding a Christian church. Watch a video HERE (from Kitman TV via CreepingSharia) on the Islamisation of Nigeria.



Jan 11, 2011

Egypt (Hat tip to JihadWatch )

Egypt is recalling its Vatican envoy for consultations over remarks by Pope Benedict XVI on Coptic Christians seen as an "interference" in its affairs, the foreign ministry said on Tuesday.



Egypt

An off-duty policeman boarded a train and opened fire on Tuesday, killing a 71-year-old Christian man and wounding his wife and four others, the Interior Ministry said. More HERE.



Iran (Hat tip to FamilySecurityMatters)

Iran has arrested about 70 Christians since Christmas in a crackdown that demonstrates the limits of religious tolerance by Islamic leaders who often boast they provide room for other faiths.



Denmark (Translated by and hat tip to IslaminEurope)

The Iranian-born head of the Church of Love, Massoud Fouroozandeh, fled with his family from the Odense district of Vollsmose to a little a secret location in a small town, after the two of the family's cars were smashed since they had a cross hanging inside.



January 13, 2011

Iran (Hat tip to JihadWatch)

Ethnic Armenian and Assyrian Orthodox Churches in Iran may exist in peace as long as they do not proselytise (i.e. seek converts). It is illegal to preach Christianity in Farsi (the Persian language) just as it is illegal for Muslims to reject Islam (apostasy). The penalty for apostasy is death.



January 15, 2011

Pakistan (Hat tip to JihadWatch)

Two Christian women were beaten and publically humiliated by an angry mob over apparently frivolous blasphemy allegations and they and their family are now in hiding for fear of being killed. More on Christians in Pakistan HERE.



Iraq

Eight men carrying handguns and steel pipes raided a Christian nongovernmental organization, grabbing computers, cellphones and documents, and threatening the people inside, saying that this was not the Christian's country but an Islamic state. More than half of Iraq's Christians have left since the American-led invasion in 2003, when there were believed to be 800,000 to 1.4 million Christians in the country.



January 16, 2011

Iraq (Hat tip to JihadWatch)

Rising violence in parts of Iraq that Christians previously regarded as safe havens lead an increasing number to flee to neighboring Turkey.



January 17, 2011

Somalia

A mother of four was killed for her Christian faith on Jan. 7 on the outskirts of Mogadishu, Somalia by Islamic extremists from al Shabaab militia.



The Vatican (Hat tip to GatesofVienna)

Jews, known for centuries as the most persecuted minority, have been replaced in this role by Christians, according to Pope Benedict XVI, who hinted that he was referring to the Islamic tidal wave that is sweeping the world.



January 18, 2011

Pakistan

Pakistani police are threatening the father of an 18-year-old Christian man whom officers raped, killed and threw into a sewer last week, according to area Christians.



Pakistan

Pakistan's prime minister on reiterated that the government does not intend to amend the country's controversial blasphemy law, under which a Christian woman has been sentenced to death. More HERE.



January 19, 2011

Czech Republic (Hat tip to GatesofVienna)

Czech citizens protested the recent Christian persecutions in the Mid-East.



Pakistan

An update on the Christian mother of five who was sentenced to death on blasphemy charges.



January 20, 2011

The Vatican (Hat tip to JihadwWatch)

Al-Azhar, one of Sunni Islam's oldest universities and mosques has indefinitely suspended inter-faith talks with the Vatican in response to recent remarks by Pope Benedict XVI on attacks against Christians in the Middle East.



January 22, 2011

Egypt (Hat tip to JihadWatch and thanks to Mary Abdelmassih)

Unusually bad winter weather in Upper Egypt all last week focused attention once again on the controversial restrictions on church building. The rainy weather caused roofs of dilapidated churches -- which have been waiting for years to receive construction permits -- to collapse.

Saturday, January 22, 2011

No comment!










Today's quote

"What I am enthusiastic about, they take it away; when I love, I lose"- Theodore Ted

Christian hoteliers lose gay discrimination case

  • "Victory for equality, defeat for discrimination", says Tatchell 
  • "This is a victory for equality and a defeat for discrimination. Although people are entitled to their religious beliefs, no one should be above the law. People of faith should not be permitted to use religion as an excuse to discriminate against other people," said human rights campaigner Peter Tatchell.

    He was commenting on today's landmark court ruling by judge Andrew Rutherford that the Christian hoteliers, Peter and Hazelmary Bull, had acted unlawfully when they refused to allow gay civil partners Martyn Hall and Steven Preddy share a room at their hotel in Cornwall in 2008.

    "Peter and Hazelmary were offering a service to the public by providing hotel accommodation. Everyone who provides services to the public should do so without discrimination. That's the law. People of faith cannot legitimately claim exemption from equality laws that apply to everyone else. 

    "If the court had ruled that the Bull's were allowed to ban gay couples from sleeping together in the same room, it would have opened the floodgates to a deluge of similar religious-motivated claims for exemption from the equality laws.

    "We could have ended up with some Jewish supermarket workers demanding the right to not handle pork, Muslim restaurant staff refusing to serve alcohol and Christian solicitors declining to represent gay or cohabiting heterosexual couples.

    "Businesses would grind to a halt, and social cohesion decline, as religious fundamentalists of all hues claimed the right to discriminate on faith grounds. Our equality laws would soon be in shreds. Discrimination would become rampant again. It would be hugely damaging to harmonious community relations," said Mr Tatchell.

UK Supreme Court discriminates against women and LGBTs

  • Titles for top judge's partners has sexist and homophobic bias
Commenting on the sexism and homophobia of Britain's new Supreme Court title system, human rights campaigner Peter Tatchell said:

"It's deeply offensive that Supreme Court judges have a title system that discriminates against women and gay people. The highest court in the land should reflect the principle of universal equality.

"Although the wives of male Supreme Court judges will be granted the title of Lady, the husbands of female Supreme Court judges will not be given the title of Lord. The civil partners off lesbian, gay and bisexual Supreme Court justices are deemed ineligible for any title.

"Patriarchy, misogyny and heterosexism have been embedded at the very top of our justice system.

"This overt discrimination sends out the wrong message. When inequality is enshrined at the heart of the Supreme Court, it does not inspire confidence that this institution is committed to non-discrimination.

"It is absurd that feudal titles are being conferred on Supreme Court justices at a time when the government has modernised the justice system and is preparing to reform the House of Lords," said Mr Tatchell.


Afua Hirsch writes in The Guardian:

http://www.guardian.co.uk/law/2011/jan/17/supreme-court-courtesy-titles

Anger over courtesy titles for supreme court justices

Critics say system discriminates against the husbands and civil partners of justices

A simmering row at the supreme court has resulted in a decision by the Queen to give all justices "courtesy titles" of lord or lady.

Justices at the court are reported to have been upset that the move away from the House of Lords, where the UK's most senior judicial committee used to sit, resulted in a discrepancy among titles.

Sources say there was disquiet at the court that John Dyson - the only new appointee since the court was established last year and the only justice without a title of lord - appeared to be singled out.

There are also claims that the variation in titles caused confusion among lawyers appearing at the court, with some unsure how to address the justices.

Complaints are reported to have culminated in a decision to ask the Queen to confer the title of lord and lady on all justices of the supreme court to "avoid confusion" about the proper address for judges.

Last month Buckingham Palace signed a warrant declaring that every justice of the supreme court of the UK will in future be given the address.

Critics are furious at the move, which they say discriminates against the husbands and possible civil partners of judges. While male justices will become lord and be able to confer titles on their wives, civil partners or the husbands of female justices will not have the same right.

"It is a retrograde step for the court to revert to using titles with aristocratic associations at odds with the more modern and forward-looking image which the supreme court has worked hard to present," said Kate Malleson, professor of law at Queen Mary, University of London.

"There will be a clear discrimination between heterosexual male justices and female, gay or lesbian justices. The former will be able to bestow the title lady on their wives whereas the husbands and civil partners of the latter categories will be titleless."

Gay rights campaigner Peter Tatchell said: "It's quite outrageous that the supreme court judges have a title system that discriminates against both women and gay people. The highest court in the land should reflect the principle of universal equality.

"Complicity with this discrimination sends out entirely the wrong message. When inequality is enshrined at the heart of the supreme court, it does not inspire confidence that this institution is committed to non-discrimination."

But the supreme court and Buckingham Palace defended the decision, stating that the use of courtesy titles would reduce confusion and that the different rules for men and women were a matter of convention, decided upon after constitutional advice from ministers.

Others suggested that granting peerages to all justices would be a more appropriate way to solve the problem. "As the supreme court is the highest court in the land and the judges are all still given knighthoods, I think something to single out its members is necessary and justified," said Sir Geoffrey Bindman, founder of Bindmans law firm. "But if you are going to call them lord, why not give them a peerage. It seems a bit anomalous not to do so."

Friday, January 21, 2011

Let there be space

For farming,
And Eating;
Sleeping,
And learning,
And dying-
Peacefully,
In Malawi.

Don't forget,
Yes,
To shoot armed robbers on the spot,
And eat the meat, of course!
After all, why shoot something
You cannot eat.

And eat something you did not shoot?
It is robbery both ways:
The guy and guyess who 'gets' what they did not sow,
By hook or crook;
The guy who declares that robbers be shot on the spot
(When he knows he does not partake of human meat)-
And the Police officer who shoots what he or she does not eat.

Let there be space,
For killing what we eat;
More space,
For blackening the fog of ignorance.
It may be in Chirunga,
Or somewhere below the blueless skies.

Thursday, January 20, 2011

Vaginal Microbicide Shown Effective in Laboratory Study

NEW YORK)--Population Council director of biomedical HIV research Melissa Robbiani and her team demonstrated that a vaginal gel called PC-1005 completely protected monkeys from infection with the strain of the virus that causes AIDS in monkeys for up to 24 hours, according to a study published today in PLoS ONE.










PC-1005 contains low doses of MIV-150 and zinc acetate. MIV-150 is a potent non-nucleoside HIV reverse transcriptase inhibitor, or NNRTI, that prevents HIV infection of cells. Zinc acetate is a naturally occurring salt that has antiviral properties. The combination gel was applied once daily during a two-week trial period.









This research is part of the Population Council's efforts to develop and introduce safe, effective microbicides for vaginal and/or rectal use to prevent the transmission of HIV and other sexually transmitted infections. "Based on these excellent results, the MIV-150/zinc acetate gel is the Population Council's lead microbicide candidate," said Robbiani.









The small amount of pharmaceutical ingredients in PC-1005-0.002 percent MIV-150 and 0.3 percent zinc acetate-could translate into a low-cost, safe microbicide. In addition, a product that is used once daily may provide women with a convenient, easy-to-use HIV prevention option.









Robbiani's team also tested a zinc acetate-only version of the gel. While not as effective as the combination product, this formula offers significant protection against simian immunodeficiency virus, and unpublished research indicates that it also may be effective against genital herpes.









Some HIV prevention products under development contain HIV treatment drugs, and there is concern that these candidates could lead to a treatment-resistant strain of HIV. However, MIV-150 and zinc acetate are not used to treat HIV, so there may be reduced risk that the two gels from the Population Council would contribute to the emergence of a drug-resistant form of HIV. Both versions of the microbicide gel have a seaweed-derived carrageenan base, which has been shown to be acceptable to women and safe for long-term vaginal use.









Based on the promising results published in PLoS ONE, as well as in vitro data on safety and efficacy, the Population Council's human testing of both the MIV-150/zinc acetate gel and the zinc acetate alone gel could begin in early 2012. (more)









Kenney, J., M. Aravantinou, R. Singer, M. Hsu, A. Rodriguez, L. Kizima, C.J. Abraham, R. Menon, S. Seidor, A. Chudolij, A. Gettie, J. Blanchard, J.D. Lifson, M. Piatak Jr., J.A. Fernandez-Romero, T.M. Zydowsky, and M. Robbiani. 2011. "An antiretroviral/zinc combination gel provides 24 hours of complete protection against vaginal SHIV infection in macaques," PLoS ONE 6(1): E15835.









Outside funding for this research was provided by the National Institutes of Health, US Agency for International Development, Swedish Ministry of Foreign Affairs, and Swedish International Development Cooperation Agency.









About the Population Council



The Population Council is an international, nonprofit, nongovernmental research organization that seeks to improve the well-being and reproductive health of current and future generations around the world and to help achieve a humane, equitable, and sustainable balance between people and resources. The Council conducts biomedical, social science, and public health research and helps build research capacities in developing countries. Established in 1952, the Council is governed by an international board of trustees. Its New York headquarters supports a global network of regional and country offices









###









Media contact







Diane Rubino: drubino@popcouncil.org; +1 212 339 0617

Malawi: Local Capacity-Building Expert Wanted

Malawi Local Capacity-Building Expert




Organisation: The Global Health Technical Assistance Project



GH Tech is recruiting for a short-term consultancy for a Team Leader (TL) to analyze Malawi’s Community REACH project and develop recommendations and lessons learned for future activities.



Pact Malawi activities are centered on three main objectives: 1) To provide an effective and transparent grant award and administration system for the provision of responsive, fast track grant-making assistance to organizations responding to PEPFAR, 2) To provide implementers with access to financial resources and high quality technical expertise to assist in achieving and effectively reporting results while complying with USG financial and administration requirements, 3) To expand the civil society’s response by providing capacity building to local, regional, national, and international organizations resulting in increased capacity of organizations and networks to provide and sustain HIV and AIDS and related health services.



For more information and to apply please see the link below



URL: http://www.ghtechproject.com/current_openings.aspx

Closing Date: 10 January 2011

City:

Country: Malawi

Contributor: Godsway Shumba

Contributed On: 30 December 2010

Monday, January 17, 2011

DEMOCRACY IN MALAWI: In Chikhwawa searching for democracy’s local meaning

RICHARD CHIROMBO       
June 14, 1993: Heavy political clouds enveloped the horizon, as voters kicked through the rotting one-party dictatorship door to beckoning multiparty democracy huts. Malawians felt that the rains would be too heavy for a single roof, and sought shelter in a multiplicity of political huts.
The political rains fell heavily in May 1994, when the electorate voted for political change. In the euphoria that followed, the bitter past was quickly forgotten- so much so that the violence (burning of losing Malawi Congress Party Land Rovers and property in Salima and other districts), corruption, questionable public tendering processes, political appeasement, monopoly of State-run media, diversion of development projects from opposition strongholds to ruling party zealots’ abodes, among other creeping tendencies, tasted sweet.  
Sixteen years down the line, however, the huts seem to have quickly evolved into some form of desolate wildernesses, forcing voters in such districts as Chikhwawa onto the unkempt road-of-common sense in search of simple answers.
“We were made to understand that democracy means the power to participate in political and development activities. So far, this has not been the case: the ordinary man and woman can still not get his or her voice heard,” said Andrew Mantchichi from Chikhwawa Central constituency.
When citizens lose the prospect of a response from those in authority- councilors, Members of Parliament (MPs), District or City Assembly officials, Cabinet Ministers and Heads of State and Government- it is called participation without power.
“This (Participation without power) breeds voter apathy,” said Noel Msiska, Coordinator for the Southern Region chapter of Civic and Political Space Platform (CPSP) - a grouping of civil society organizations working in the area of human rights, governance and democracy.  
That is not all. Even when citizens enjoy the power of participation, the challenge is that policy-makers and political leaders assume that rights of participation carry with them the ‘automatic’ prospect of tangible benefits- the truth, on the other hand, is that this is work half done. The task at hand is to establish which modes of participation, in fact, bring real development rewards, and to whom?
This realization has spurred Christian Service Committee, Association for Progressive Women and Church and Society-Blantyre C.C.A.P. Synod- CPSP member organizations in the Southern Region- into action as part of a Danish Church Aid initiative to build religious and community leaders’ capacity in readiness for next year’s Local Government Elections (LGE). And the findings were shocking.
 After years of multiparty politics in Malawi, Chikhwawa people are yet to find the real meaning of democracy. At Chikhwawa National Initiative for Civic Education (NICE) offices earlier this month, religious leaders struggled to make local sense of democracy.
 Chikhwawa Pastors Fraternal chairperson, Hussein Nguwo, blamed it on unpleasant experiences people have come to associate democracy with. When experiences are generally painful, they cease to be the ‘greatest teacher’; instead, they become a distraction and burden.
Over the years, Chikhwawa communities have learned to dismiss such burdens, leaving a litany of problems unresolved, he noted.
“One of the reasons is that voters are disappointed in Members of Parliament (MPs), most of whom prefer urban areas to their rural constituencies. People believe that councilors will be no different.”
It is a challenge that calls for consulted efforts, meaning: media practitioners, policy makers, political parties, development partners should continue their role of making common sense out of difficult-to-comprehend issues and providing technical and financial support; while religious leaders should continue to pray for rains, offer spiritual food, visit hospitals and prisons- they should also preach politics, responsible politics.
“With renewed hope, we can rejuvenate voters’ interest in development and politics again.” said Nguwo.
It is a step that begins with voters developing real interest in the Republican Constitution. Unfortunately, according to Msiska, the Constitution remains an elite’s domain, leaving ordinary citizens in the shadow of ignorance. Constitutions can, sometimes, become principle causes of conflicts, too. They have, throughout the history of civilized politics, provided the ground for rallying cries from communities in general, and communities of interest.
Msiska said the word Constitution, susceptible to great latitude of interpretation, would be but imperfectly understood if we supposed that people attach the same meaning to it.
“This has never been the case,” Msiska said, adding that varying levels of literacy render it impossible to land on common grounds. Even with equal qualifications, people will still fall for different tastes.
In addition to this observation, constitutions have also been employed to achieve various objects. In monarchies, constitutions  were sold as implements for attaining ‘national development’; same with representative regimes, where they sought to safeguard similar  ‘development’ goals, promising respect for fundamental rights; while in one party states, they propagated the policy of ‘reform’ as the object, Msiska noted.
‘Everywhere, at least, the constitution means change and trouble. However, in our case, it has largely buttressed national consensus and solidarity.”
Like all guidelines, the Constitution must also embrace two important principles: the ability to challenge accepted social mores and the latitude to make mistakes. More related to this is the principle that elected leaders must respect the generally held consensus to protect certain values while being free to challenge their (the values’) continual validity.
In so doing, there will be mistakes. As has been the experience in Malawi- on such issues as the Third Term attempt by former President Bakili Muluzi, abuse of power by the opposition during President Bingu wa Mutharika’s first (2004-2009) term, Democratic Progressive Party’s current dominance in parliament culminating in rubber-stumping of controversial bills including one to modify the National Flag- someone at some stage is bound to take a step too far.
The challenge to most Malawians, says Pastor Velias Bwanamali of Kasinthula Assemblies of God, lies in failure to respect the right of others to ‘go a step too far’, saying it is through mistakes that human beings get the best out of themselves.
In Malawi, summary judgement of politicians has become an obsession, and Bwanamali is worried. He said it was apparent that anger is taking the place of reason, offering no chance for reflection on the meaning of such issues as democracy, human rights and responsibilities.
Not all things need serious reflection, though. Some things are too obvious to be unclear, said Limbani Chipembere, Programmes Officer for Church and Society-Blantyre C.C.A.P Synod. Take, for instance, the issue of voters, monitors, candidates, and an independent electoral body- every election needs them.
The other factor is that every election has conflict built into it because elections are borne out of politics, which is a form of positive conflict- competition to achieve the common good.
Chipembere notes, however, that some seemingly obvious issues warrant reflection. One of these pertains to our voting system, the First-past-the-post. Because one can ride at the back of a single vote, the country has voter apathy sanctioned in the system.
During the 2000 LGE, for instance, political analysts faulted the electoral calendar for perpetuating the trend, yet voter apathy had been a notable feature in the 1999 Parliamentary and Presidential Elections. The argument was that, during the 2000 LGE held in November (coinciding with the onset of rains), voters narrowed their focus to their bellies and maize granaries- never ballot boxes.
The term elections’ ‘hung-over’ also cropped in. Analysts noted that just the preceding year (1999), people were on the non-paid-for lines again, voting for a Head of State and Government and MPs. The disputes that ensued after announcement of the Presidential results might have angered many, forcing them to fold the hand that stretches into the ballot box.
Just this year, during the By-Elections held in Dowa and Mangochi, voters preferred to stay home, again. The DPP MPs elected will still walk down the narrow road to the New Parliament Building in Lilongwe to represent the few who voted for the ‘many’, thanks to First-Past-the-Post system.
“This trend should spur us into reflective action. I have the feeling that MPs or councilors elected by a few do not carry much authority; ideally, the more voters turn up, the more authoritative one feels,” Chipembere said.
It is a perception shared by Vincent Chibowa, Advocacy and Communications Officer for Christian Service Committee (CSC). He said religious leaders have more influence over their congregation members, increasing the likelihood of getting voters back to the voting lines- it is merely a question of stirring the spirit that convinces target beneficiaries to stand their ground on long subsidized farm inputs’ queues.
Stirring that spirit could entail the use of a bottom-top approach in community development plans. Chibowa felt that the tendency to force development policies on people could have contributed to voter apathy.
“We need to be open-minded. Leaders should not come with preconceived ideas but strive to solicit real contributions from grassroots communities,” he said.
With open minds, organizations such as NICE have started uncovering some of the challenges. What comes clear at Chikhwawa NICE Resource Centre are issues of illiteracy, lack of accountability and transparency, difficulties to reach out to elected representatives, among others.
It seems that Chikhwawa women are left behind in terms of reading culture. From January 2009 to May 2010, the percentage of female readers has never exceeded 15 women out of every 100 males, with the lowest registered mark being 7 per cent. On the other hand, male readers always surpass the mark of 85 per cent. These are people who visit the NICE District Library, Ndife Amodzi, Chikhwawa Prison, Mtera and Sangano resource centres.
 How can people who do not value reading get the right information to make informed decisions? The trend could be food-for-thought for civil society organizations advocating for 50-50 representation of women in politics and decision-making processes.
 The situation is made complicated by the general inaccessibility of MPs. In the absence of councilors, MPs have come to be regarded as the first-line of call for community members, some of whom have reduced the role of an MP from law maker to coffin-buyer. Chikhwawa has registered some success in accountability levels because each Traditional Authority, Paramount Chief and Senior Chief has their mobile number publicly displayed.
But community members complained over MPs. Legislator for Chikhwawa North, Grain Malunga’s, number is missing. Same with MP for Chikhwawa South Joseph Tembo: his number, too, is missing; they are inaccessible when out of Chikhwawa.
The case is different with Chikhwawa Central legislator, Bernadetta Mlaka Maliro. Instead of furnishing only one mobile number, she has provided two.
Every society, perhaps, gets the ruler it deserves.

Christian homophobes should not be criminalised

  • Freedom of speech includes the right of religious fundamentalists to say offensive things 
By Peter Tatchell, human rights campaigner
http://www.ekklesia.co.uk/node/13929


Where do we draw the line between religious freedom and free speech on the one hand, and public order and the protection of minorities on the other hand? Should people of faith have the right to express views that others find offensive and bigoted?

Christian street preacher Dale Mcalpine last month won £7,000 in damages, following his arrest and detention by the police in April 2010 for saying homosexuality is a sin. He had expressed his beliefs to passers-by in Workington, Cumbria.

As a result, he was charged with making 'threatening, abusive or insulting' remarks, contrary to the Public Order Act. A court case was pending, but was dropped. Instead, he was offered an apology by the Chief Constable, and compensation.

As a campaigner for gay rights, I disagree with Mr Mcalpine's intolerant views. But as a defender of free speech, I endorse his right to express them. Indeed, I had offered to testify in his defence, had his case gone to court.

Freedom of speech is one of the hallmarks of a civilized society. Mr Mcalpine's views were homophobic, but the fact that he was treated as a criminal for expressing them, shocked me. The officer who arrested him, although doubtless well-intentioned, interpreted the law in a harsh, authoritarian manner. Mr Mcalpine was neither aggressive, threatening nor intimidating. He did not incite violence against lesbian, gay, bisexual or transgender (LGBT) people; unlike some extremist Christians in Uganda and Nigeria.

The Public Order Act is intended to protect people from harm. Mr Mcalpine's views - although they are misguided and offensive - caused no injury or damage to anyone. His intolerant views should be challenged but he should not have been arrested.

Contrast his case with my experience. In 1994, the Islamist fundamentalist group Hizb ut-Tahrir (HT) held a mass rally at Wembley Arena. Its members advocated killing gay people and 'unchaste' women. They heaped hatred and abuse on Jews and Hindus. Together with five of my colleagues from the gay rights group OutRage!, I staged a peaceful, lawful counter-protest. It was six of us against 6,000 of them. Some members of HT threatened:  "We will track you down and kill you." Despite these criminal incitements to murder us, they were not arrested. We were. Our free speech was denied. We were charged under the Public Order Act. In contrast to Mr Mcapline's case, the police did not drop the charges and apologise, let alone compensate us. It took nearly two years of lengthy, costly legal battles for me to finally win an acquittal.

I have long been passionate in my support for anyone who gets victimised by the authorities for expressing their views - even objectionable ones - providing they do so in a peaceable way and don't advocate violence. Bigoted views should be rebutted by debate and protest, not by criminalisation.

This is why in 2006 I opposed the prosecution of Sir Iqbal Sacranie, the then general secretary of the Muslim Council Britain. He suggested, BBC Radio 4's PM Programme, that gay people were unacceptable, immoral, harmful and diseased. This was disgraceful bigotry from anyone, let alone from a faith leader. There were calls for him to be arrested. But since Sir Iqbal had not advocated violence, I urged the police to leave him alone. Instead, I spoke out, explaining why his intolerant views were inaccurate and unethical. I won the argument. The police decided to not charge him.

A free society depends on the free exchange of ideas. All ideas are capable of giving offence, and some of the most important, profound ideas in human history, such as those of Galileo Galilei and Charles Darwin, caused a huge religious offence in their time.

Freedom of speech includes the right to criticise and mock, and to say things that many of us find offensive. I deplore the fact that millions of people around the world live with the threat of arrest, torture, imprisonment - and even execution - for expressing ideas that dissent from political and religious orthodoxy. This is why I have consistently defended the human rights of persecuted Christians in Pakistan and victimised Sunni Muslims in Iran, as well as hounded political dissidents in Russia and Zimbabwe.

Precisely the same logic underpins my reason for supporting Mr Mcalpine - and condemning the conviction and £1,000 fine imposed on another Christian street preacher, Shawn Holes, who was arrested in Glasgow early in 2010.

Mr Holes, an American Baptist evangelist touring Britain, told passers-by that, 'Homosexuals deserve the wrath of God - and so do all sinners - and they are going to a place called hell.' In court, he admitted breaching the peace by making homophobic remarks. He plainly distressed some people with his anti-gay tirade. But should he have been prosecuted? I believe not. In a democratic society, his arrest was wrong and the fine was totally disproportionate. Even people who commit robberies and violent assaults have been known to get off with lighter penalties. It was, in my view, an inappropriate use of the law.

Just as gay people should have the right to criticise religion, people of faith should also have the right to criticise homosexuality. When it comes to expressions of opinion, only threats  and incitements to violence  - and damaging libels - should be prosecuted. The police should concentrate on tackling serious crimes, instead of wasting public money on petty, distasteful religious ranters.

This is why I urge Home Secretary, Theresa May, to issue new guidelines, making it clear that the police should not arrest people like Dale Mcalpine and Shawn Holes. Causing offence to others is not a legitimate basis for putting a person on trial. After all, nearly  everyone holds opinions that someone else might find offensive. If offending others is accepted as a basis for prosecution, most of the population of the UK would end up in court.

Freedom of speech includes accepting the right of other people to say things that we may find disagreeable and even offensive. It also involves keeping a sense of perspective. When Anne Robinson denigrated the Welsh - as she did in 2010 when she suggested they should be kicked out of their country and replaced by Liverpudlians - should we really expend our efforts protesting against a throwaway remark, when we could be campaigning  against major human rights abuses, such as those in China, Iraq, Burma and Saudi Arabia?

There are, of course, occasions when personal views should be set aside for the sake of avoiding discrimination and maintaining harmonious community relations. The Christian hoteliers, Peter and Hazelmary Bull, in 2008 refused to let gay civil partners Martyn Hall and Steven Preddy share a room. On religious grounds, they did not want gay couples - or any non-married couples - to sleep together in their hotel. I defend the Bulls' right to hold and express these views. If they chose to propagate them in the street, that's their right to free speech. But if they are offering a service to the public by providing hotel accommodation, they should provide this service to all the public, without discrimination against anyone for any reason. If we allow them to forbid gay couples - and unmarried heterosexual partners - to sleep in the same room, a deluge of similar claims for exemption from the equality laws is likely to ensue.

We could have some Muslim and Jewish supermarket workers refusing to handle pork and some Christian solicitors declining to represent gay or Hindu clients - because of their religious beliefs. The world of business would grind to a halt, and civility decline, as various special interest groups demanded the right to discriminate. Our equality laws would soon be in tatters. Discrimination would become rampant again. No, thank you. I defend freedom of expression but not when it results in discrimination.

Free speech is precious. Only damaging libellous comments and incitements to violence should be crimes.

Let's not forget that generations of people suffered to win us the right to freedom of expression; people like the martyred Bible translator William Tyndale and the jailed Chartist leader William Lovett.

It was Tyndale, a 16th century scholar and translator, who defied church and state by making the Bible more widely accessible to ordinary people, translating it from Latin into English. This incurred the wrath of both the Pope and Henry VIII - he also opposed the King's divorces. Tyndale was accused of heresy and treason. Henry VIII had him executed.

Three centuries later, Lovett was a Chartist leader who demanded votes for working class people. Although his protests were peaceful, he was arrested for 'riot' and jailed for 12 months in 1839 on a trumped-up charge of seditious libel. He died in poverty.

We owe it to Lovett and Tyndale - and to the many other proponents of free speech who have succeeded them - to defend the right of people to express their opinions, even when we disagree with what they say.

Ibis hotel hosts anti-gay hate preachers

  • Extremists call for "death penalty" for gays
  • Islamic Research and Education Academy conference this Sunday 
London - 14 January 2011

The Ibis international hotel group has been accused by lesbian and gay human rights  campaigners of "irresponsibly hosting conferences by extremist anti-gay hate preachers".

The next conference by the Islamic Education and Research Academy (iERA) will be held on Sunday 16 January at the Ibis Hotel in Earl's Court in London.

The Ibis group is being urged to cancel the iERA booking and "stop hosting speakers who variously incite homophobic hatred and the killing of gay people."

The iERA has featured Muslim fundamentalist preachers who advocate the criminalisation of homosexuality and even the death penalty for same-sex acts. They argue that it is necessary to execute gays to keep society pure. They defend these extreme teachings about homosexuality as a model that should be followed by contemporary societies.

The headline speakers at Sunday's conference are associates of the hate preachers Dr Zakir Naik and Bilal Phillips. Both banned from entering Britain by the Home Secretary, Theresa May, last year. Another iERA advisor, Hussein Yee is also banned from entering the UK.

The iERA speakers at the Ibis Hotel on Sunday are:

Shaykh Abdullah Hakim Quick
Abduraheem Green
Shaykh Ala El Sayed
Shaykh Yusuf Estes (tbc)
Shaykh Shady Suleiman,
Hamza Tzortzis
Yusuf Chambers

See below examples of their homophobic incitements against lesbian and gay people.

"The Ibis Hotel group should not facilitate speakers who promote homophobic discrimination and violence. They should cancel this booking," said Peter Tatchell of the lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender human rights group OutRage!

"Lesbian and gay people - and straight people of conscience - should not use Ibis Hotels while they continue to host extremist anti-gay preachers. A boycott campaign might be necessary if Ibis does not change its policy.

"Neither the government nor the police would allow an event with speakers who had called for the killing of Muslims to 'keep society pure' and stop the spread of their religion. Such extreme anti-Muslim hate speech would not be tolerated. The event would be stopped and the speakers arrested if they expressed those views. Why the double standards?

"Most Muslims in Britain do not believe that lesbian and gay people should be killed. These extremists are out of touch with the majority of Muslim opinion. They are divisive and they damage community cohesion. Their homophobic fanaticism is being exploited by the far right to unfairly tarnish the wider Muslim community," Mr Tatchell said.

OutRage! urges you to protest to Thomas Dubaere, Managing Director, Economy Brands UK and Ireland, Ibis Hotels, via Loretta.MANSON@accor.com

You can also email your protest to the Ibis Hotel in Earl's Court, where the conference is being hosted: H5623@accor.com


Brett Lock of OutRage! added:

"This is not the first time Ibis Hotels have hosted such extremist events. It is quite shocking. I doubt they would host racist and anti-Semitic conferences. 

"We do not wish to ban people with religious convictions from expressing their moral opposition to homosexuality. People should have the freedom to say that they think homosexuality is a sin and incompatible with their religious beliefs. However, supporting the execution of lesbian and gay people and equating them with rapists and paedophiles is dangerous incitement. It crosses the line," he said.


Below are samples of anti-gay incitements by Sunday's speakers at the Islamic Research and Education Academy conference in London:

Abdullah Hakim Quick
Six years ago, Quick was condemned by New Zealand's broadcasting authority for his fiery anti-gay broadcasts which included these claims:
- AIDS is caused by the "filthy practices" of homosexuals
- Homosexuals are dropping dead from AIDS and "they want to take us all down with them"
- The Islamic position on homosexuality is "death"
- Homosexuals are "sick" and "not natural"
- "Muslims are going to have to take a stand [against homosexuals] and it's not enough to call names".

Unrepentant, he continues to hold this position: "They said 'what is the Islamic position [on homosexuality]?' And I told them. Put my name in the paper. The punishment is death. And I'm not going to change this religion."
http://www.hurryupharry.org/wp-content/uploads/2010/02/QuickDeath.mp3

Abdur-Raheem Green
In an essay on his website entitled, "Terrible and brutal Islamic punishments or wise and just guidance from Allah?", Green argues that homosexuality and adultery are "inexcusable, and justly punished with severity." For this he stipulates death: "a slow and painful death by stoning. It is indicative of just how harmful this crime is to society."

He concludes by arguing that that people should not quibble about whether the Islamic punishments are too harsh or not according to their own cultural experiences, but should just accept that Islam has a long track record and trust that Islamic law works:
http://www.islamsgreen.org/islams_green/2006/02/terrible_and_br.html

Yusuf Estes
In an article on his website he says: "Scholars of Islam have already made it clear what the position is on those who engage in homosexual activities." And he links to a fatwa ruling:

"In order to maintain the purity of the Muslim society, most Muslim scholars have ruled that the punishment for this act should be the same as for zina (i.e. one hundred whiplashes for the man who has never married, and death by stoning for the married man). Some have even ruled that it should be death for both partners, because the Prophet, sallallahu alayhe wa sallam, said: 'Kill the doer and the one to whom it was done.'
http://www.islamtomorrow.com/gays/fatwa.htm

Estes further reprints and endorses an email on his website referring to gay people as "deviants" and "devils".

Hamza Tzortzis
Hamza Tzortzis wants to criminalise homosexuality. He argues:
"Some people object to Islam making the public expression of homosexuality a criminal act. This is subjective and only strikes a chord amongst those who cannot escape the social constructs in their own societies. There are societies past and present which accepted paedophilia and cannibalism as normal parts of human life and they would find Western society oppressive preventing them from carrying out these practices."

He concludes by stating: "Those who claim that making homosexuality a criminal act is wrong are totally inconsistent." He suggests this would mean saying that God is wrong. He explicitly rejects the argument that the historical context is different to the modern context:  "Islam does not change with the tide or the fashion of the day," he says.
http://hamzatzortzis.blogspot.com/search?q=homosexual

Yusuf Chambers
Yusuf Chambers, an associate of Abdur-Raheem Green, reportedly says that homosexuality is a sickness and can be cured. He interviews a Dr Zakir Naik (banned from Britain for hate preaching) for one of his broadcasts and specifically asks the scholar what the punishment for homosexuality should be (the answer is "death") and to refute suggestions that homosexuality has any natural or genetic origins.
http://www.onlyislam.net/ramadhaan/fffff/Episode23.pdf

Shady Suleiman
He says: "Also homosexuality that's spreading all these diseases. Let's not deny the fact. Don't call it the name of freedom. Don't talk about freedom and, you know, this is the freedom of action and we could do whatever we want. It doesn't mean that freedom of action you destroy a nation. These are evil actions that bring evil outcomes to our society... Remember that if there is an Islamic state the punishment of zina (sex outside marriage), the punishment of those who commit zina, if they have never been married before, they will be lashed 100 lashes. If they are married while they committed zina, or previously been married and divorced, and they committed zina, then their punishment is stoning to death."
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=AJuSwwsAVHo

Bulletin of Christian Persecution

December 22, 2010-January 10, 2011

December 22, 2010
Kosovo (Hat tip to JihadWatch via Julia Gorin)
Protestant pastor says his community has faced hardship and intolerance from Muslims.
December 26, 2010
Iran
In the early morning hours after Christmas day, the Iranian government arrested 25 Christians in Tehran and other locations. They also planned to detain sixteen others, but were unable to locate them. There are also unconfirmed reports that the authorities have arrested over 50 other Christians. According to BBC Persian, the Governor of Tehran has vowed to arrest more evangelical Christians. More HERE.

December 28, 2010
Pakistan
A strike will be held to protest against the "conspiracies" of present rulers to repeal the blasphemy law.

Nigeria
A pastor and the five other Christians were killed in the Dec. 24 attacks on Victory Baptist Church in Alemderi and a Church of Christ in Nigeria (COCIN) congregation in Sinimari by the outlawed Islamic Boko Haram sect opposed to Western education. More HERE. Update HERE.

December 29, 2010
Malaysia
Catholic church officials were told to remove crucifixes and to avoid hymns being sung when Prime Minister Najib Razak attended the Archbishop of Kuala Lumpur's Christmas tea party last Saturday

The World Roundup of Major Christian Persecution in 2010
December 30, 2010
Iraq (Hat tip to JihadWatch)
At least two Christians were killed and 12 people wounded in a series of attacks on Christian homes in Baghdad. More HERE (Hat tip to AtlasShrugs) .
January 1, 2011
Egypt
(Hat tip to JihadWatch)
A bomb killed at least 21 people outside a church in the Egyptian city of Alexandria early on New Year's Day and the Interior Ministry said a foreign-backed suicide bomber may have been responsible. Dozens of people were wounded by the blast, which scattered body parts, destroyed cars and smashed windows. More HERE. And HERE.

The police investigation into a New Year's church bombing that killed 21 people is focusing on a local group of Islamic hard-liners inspired by al-Qaida, Egyptian security officials said Sunday. Update HERE. And HERE.
Egyptian security guards withdrew an hour before the car explosion that went off in front of Saints Coptic Orthodox Church in Alexandria that killed 21 and injured 96 parishioners. According to church officials and eyewitnesses, there are many more victims that are still unidentified and whose body parts were strewn all over the street outside the church. The body parts were covered with newspapers until they were brought inside the church after some Muslims started stepping on them and chanting Jihadi chants. Video Here (Hat tip to GatesofVienna)
January 3, 2011
Egypt
A religious edict signed by a Mauritanian cleric linked to Al-Qaeda' s late leader in Iraq and posted to jihadist websites appears to legitimise the deadly New Year's Eve attack on a church in northern Egypt. Update. (Hat tip to JihadWatch) Pope Shenouda ended his spiritual mediation at St. Bishoy Monastery in Wadi Notroun to go back to the Cathedral's headquarters in Abbasiya on Sunday, meanwhile mulling whether or not to cancel Coptic Christmas celebrations. Some church leaders requested that the Jan. 7 Coptic Christmas celebrations be cancelled after the bombing of a church in Alexandria that left 21 dead and 97 injured.

Italy/European Union
European Union aid should be tied to respect for human rights in countries where Christian minorities are under attack, an Italian Foreign minister said Monday after a New Year's Day church bombing in the Egyptian city of Alexandria that killed 21 Coptic Christians. More HERE.

Russia (Hat tip to JihadWatch)
Unidentified attackers set a church ablaze with a grenade in Russia's mainly Muslim North Caucasus late on Sunday, media reported, in the latest act of violence in a region where Moscow is struggling to contain an Islamist insurgency.
Germany (Hat tip to JihadWatch)
Bishop Anba Damian, head of the Coptic Church in Germany, told a German newspaper that he had asked the government for special protection out of fear his church's followers would be targeted. "Before Christmas, the internet was full of threats against us," he said. "The police have warned us several times of the danger of attacks by radical Muslims. . . ."

Afghanistan
A judge told Shoaib Assadullah that if he did not renounce Christ within one week he would face up to 20 years in prison or even be sentenced to death. Shoaib was arrested on Oct. 21, 2010, when he gave a man a Bible.
January 4, 2011
Pakistan (Hat tip to AtlasShrugs)
A Pakistani politician, who had become a leading opponent in recent weeks of a court decision in November to sentence a 45-year-old Christian farm laborer, Asia Bibi to death for blasphemy against the Prophet Muhammad, was assassinated. More HERE. (Hat tip to JihadWatch)
Update HERE. And HERE.
January 5, 2011
Egypt
A recent message posted on the al-Shumukh website and others considered close to Al-Qaeda addressed themselves directly to Coptic pope Shenuda III who was warned of "imminent new strikes" against Egyptian Copts. One message on a forum promised that "we will strike you all in a new attack. We have warned you as Allah is my witness." Update HERE.
January 6, 2011
Egypt l
A bomb was found under stair way of Saint Antonius Church in Il Minya (Upper Egypt).

USA/MidEast (Hat tip to persecution.org)
As the 21st Century enters its second decade, two millennia of Christian presence in the Middle East might be eclipsed by the end of the century.
January 7, 2011
France/MidEast
French President Nicolas Sarkozy said Friday that Christian minorities in the Middle East are victims of "religious cleansing", following deadly attacks on churches in the region.

USA
Anti-Christian crimes are being downplayed by the media while Islamaphobia gets prominent news coverage even though the FBI hate crime statistics, for 2009, found that 8.4 percent of the 1,575 victims of anti-religious crimes were attacked because of anti-Islamic bias. In contrast, 71.9 percent of the victims were Jews.

Indonesia
An Islamic radical group is threatening to disrupt a Catholic gathering on religious freedom.

Europe (Hat tip to persecution.org)
Four EU countries, Hungary, Italy, France, and Poland, urge European action against anti-Christian violence.
January 8, 2011
Australia
The Weekend Australian says it understands the four churches were among a list of more than 60 Coptic Orthodox churches worldwide that were targeted by the unnamed Islamic extremist group.

Sudan (Hat tip to JihadWatch)
Christians in North Sudan have fear of persecution if South Sudan votes to secede.
January 10, 2011
Indonesia
Government officials in West Java Province blocked one church from worshipping, and Islamic groups pressured authorities to seize the property of another during the Christmas season.

Italy/World-wide
Christians in Iraq, Egypt and Nigeria have been killed in churches, in Pakistan a blasphemy law has become an "excuse to cause injustice and violence" . . . The list of violations and attacks on religious freedom delivered today by Benedict XI to the representatives of 180 countries and international organizations that have diplomatic relations with the Holy See, touches hundreds of millions of people around the world.