International Briefs

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Eight Nepalese Christians arrested for illegal proselytizing

(WNS)–Eight Nepali Christians arrested in June, including one pastor and two teachers, could soon be tried for trying to proselytize children. The Christians were working in Dolahka District, in northern Nepal, a part of the nation hard hit by the 2015 earthquakes. Authorities arrested them June 8 for distributing religious literature to children in an attempt to convert, a violation of the anti-conversion statute in the 2015 constitution, according to Asia News. Officials tortured the Christians while they were in custody, according to Asia News’ sources. Prakash Pradhan, principal of Mount Valley Academy, a local private school, denied the group tried to convert anyone. The group only handed out materials to Christian students who requested them, Pradhan said.

Turkey deals iron-fisted blow to coup plotters

(WNS)–Turkey declared a three-month state of emergency July 21 and partially suspended the European Convention on Human Rights following a failed coup attempt. The past week has seen mass arrests, job losses, and other restrictions in the country as government officials continue to investigate the attempted overthrow. The state of emergency, which Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan proposed on July 20 and Parliament approved the following day, will allow the president and cabinet to bypass Parliament when drafting new laws and could make the Constitutional Court inactive while it lasts. The country’s officials have insisted it’s a necessary step in preserving the country’s stability. The coup attempt began the night of July 15 in the streets of Ankara, the country’s capital, and in Istanbul. After a night of explosions and gunfire, the country’s officials seized control and declared the coup a failure. The government has accused Fethullah Gulen, a self-exiled cleric now residing in Pennsylvania, for igniting the uprising and has called for his extradition. But U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry said Monday that Turkey must first provide concrete evidence Gulen spearheaded the coup.

Human smugglers thrive amid refugee desperation in Greece

(WNS)–An estimated 1 million asylum-seekers flooded Europe last year from Syria, the Middle East, and North Africa, leaving the continent reeling as it struggles to address issues of humanitarian aid, viable resettlement policies, and legal documentation. But even as Europe bolts its borders, thousands of refugees are slipping out of sight. In recent months, police in northern Greece have reported a rise in organized human trafficking activity, with smugglers targeting the migrant community stuck in villages like Idomeni, on the Greek-Macedonian border. In May, Greece cleared out a makeshift migrant camp in Idomeni, leaving more than 8,400 refugees doubly displaced. In the aftermath of the camp closure, trafficking activity increased significantly, according to border guards, national police, and a division of Greek security forces interviewed by the Associated Press.

Moroccan Christians risk persecution with YouTube testimonies

(WNS)–In a new series of YouTube podcasts, Moroccan Christians are stepping out of the shadows, showing their faces, and telling their stories. Speaking to their countrymen, they proclaim themselves “Moroccan and Christian.” The public testimonies counter the common view that to be Moroccan is to be Muslim and that all Christians living in Morocco are foreigners, not natives. The small religious minority faces community and government persecution. In one video, a woman named Iman says her husband’s relatives assumed she was foreign-born because they knew she was a Christian, according to Moroccan World News (MWN).  “We don’t know what might happen, some people want to keep it hidden, and we respect that,” one 24-year-old man told US News. “But at the same time we encourage people to do what God commands us to do, that’s preaching and telling people.”

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