The Iraqi Cabinet approved a law to mark Christmas Day, December 25, as an official holiday across the country “on the occasion of the birth of Jesus Christ,” according to a statement released by the Iraqi government.
After the tsunami hit the coast on Indonesia’s Sunda Strait, the World Council of Churches reached out with condolences to people who have lost loved ones. More than 12,000 residents have fled to higher ground amid further tsunami warnings.
Compared with how the holiday is celebrated in Christian-majority countries — with dazzling lights, Christmas-themed shows and sales — the public observance of Christmas in Israel and the Palestinian territories is downright modest. Christians are a tiny minority in the Holy Land, comprising about 2 percent of the population, not including the many Christian clergy, aid workers, students, migrant workers and asylum-seekers who reside in Israel, sometimes for decades.
Vatican and Vietnamese officials have agreed to upgrade relations through the appointment in the near future of a permanent papal representative to Hanoi. A Vatican delegation for a Dec. 18-20 visit, during which the agreement was reached, was led by Monsignor Antoine Camilleri, under-secretary for relations with states. One of the aims of the talks was to help resolve bitter disputes over confiscated church properties.
JAKARTA, Indonesia (AP) — Several hundred protesters chanted “God is Great” and “Get out, communist!” outside China’s embassy in the Indonesian capital on Friday, demanding an end to mass detentions of Uighur Muslims.
On the 19th of December 2018, there will take place the seventh meeting of the Joint Working Group of the Holy See – Vietnam. The meeting aims to deepen and develop bilateral relations. Pending diplomatic relations provide for a “non-permanent” nuncio. Issues related to ecclesiastical properties and religious freedom are more delicate as are issues for human rights in Viet Nam.
LAHORE – A Pakistani official announced this week a new “Minorities Empowerment Package” and the creation of a task force to ensure the rights of religious minorities in the province of Punjab.
Nearly 50,000 churches across Indonesia, including some previously attacked by terrorists, are to be guarded during the Christmas period. The massive operation is to involve more than 90,000 police and soldiers and a moderate Muslim youth group will join the protection effort. National Police spokesperson Brig. Gen Dedi Prasetyo said that Christmas security this year will be focused on churches in 13 provinces, including on the main islands of Java and Sumatra as well as Bali, East Nusa Tenggara, North Sulawesi, Maluku and Papua.
The Archbishop of Canterbury, Justin Welby, has joined other Christian and Jewish leaders to speak out against the rise of anti-Semitism in the UK and the persecution of Christians in many parts of the world. Britain’s Chief Rabbi, Ephraim Mirvis; the leader of the Roman Catholic Church in England and Wales, Cardinal Vincent Nichols; and the head of the Greek Orthodox Church in Great Britain, Archbishop Gregorious; are amongst the religious leaders who co-signed a letter to The Times newspaper today (Thursday). The religious leaders, Co-Presidents of the Council of Christians and Jews (CCJ), used their letter to express concern about the rise in anti-Semitism in the UK.
BEIJING (Reuters) – The people of Tibet should not be taken in by the Dalai Lama’s lies and clearly understand the importance of Communist Party rule in the region, the Chinese government said ahead of March’s sensitive 60th anniversary of him fleeing into exile.