Posted by Kendall Harmon

The Archbishop of Canterbury Justin Welby has said the Christians of Pakistan are a people under siege and joined calls for their churches to be protected and for them to be able to worship in safety.

“Freedom of worship is a universal human right around the world, and all countries need to pay attention to that,” he said.

Meanwhile, condemning the "revolting lynching" of a pregnant Pakistani woman who was stoned to death by her family in front of hundreds of people outside the Lahore high court, the Archbishop told the Times: “I was utterly horrified and every Pakistani I have spoken to is also horrified. It (the stoning) was in no sense a punishment, but but a revolting lynching.”

Read it all.

Filed under: * Anglican - EpiscopalArchbishop of Canterbury --Justin Welby* Culture-WatchLaw & Legal IssuesReligion & Culture* Economics, PoliticsForeign RelationsPolitics in General* International News & CommentaryAsiaPakistan* Religion News & CommentaryInter-Faith Relations* TheologyEthics / Moral Theology

0 Comments
Posted May 30, 2014 at 5:30 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

The threat facing minorities in Pakistan was laid bare on Monday, the day of the Archbishop of Canterbury's arrival in the country, when an American doctor was shot dead in the Punjab province.

Mehdi Ali, a volunteer cardiologist born in Pakistan, was a member of the minority Ahmadi community, which faces persecution in the country.

Security is tight for Archbishop Welby's visit to the country. On Tuesday, he met the diocesan bishops of the Church of Pakistan, the Governor of Punjab, and leaders from a range of faith communities.

Read it all.

Filed under: * Anglican - EpiscopalArchbishop of Canterbury --Justin Welby* Culture-WatchLaw & Legal IssuesReligion & Culture* Economics, PoliticsForeign RelationsPolitics in General* International News & CommentaryAsiaPakistan* Religion News & CommentaryInter-Faith Relations* TheologyEthics / Moral Theology

0 Comments
Posted May 30, 2014 at 5:15 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

Read it all.

Filed under: * Anglican - EpiscopalArchbishop of Canterbury --Justin Welby* Culture-WatchGlobalizationReligion & Culture* International News & CommentaryAsiaBangladeshIndiaPakistan

0 Comments
Posted May 27, 2014 at 9:05 pm [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

The Archbishop of Canterbury has arrived in Pakistan to show his backing for the country’s persecuted Christian minority and to ask Muslim leaders for help in building better relations.

The Most Rev Justin Welby is due to meet politicians as well as bishops from the Church of Pakistan before travelling to Bangladesh and India.

The trip, conducted amid tight security, is part of a promise to meet leaders of the Anglican community as early as possible after taking up office and comes as Christians in some parts of the developing world suffer attacks at the hands of Islamist groups.

Read it all.

Filed under: * Anglican - EpiscopalArchbishop of Canterbury --Justin Welby* Culture-WatchReligion & Culture* International News & CommentaryAsiaPakistan

0 Comments
Posted May 27, 2014 at 10:00 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

Pakistan's Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif is to attend the inauguration of Narendra Modi as Prime Minister of India on Monday.

It is the first time since the two countries won independence in 1947 that a prime minister from one state will attend such a ceremony in the other.

The two nuclear-armed rivals have fought three wars in the past 60 years.

Read it all.

Filed under: * Culture-WatchHistory* Economics, PoliticsForeign RelationsPolitics in General* International News & CommentaryAsiaIndiaPakistan

0 Comments
Posted May 24, 2014 at 10:00 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

Naomi Long, MP for Belfast East and deputy Alliance Party leader, has told the Commons that religious persecution is on the rise.

She opened a backbench business debate on 1 May 2014 by saying that the freedom to subscribe to any religion or none is not offered enough protection by the UN.

She referred to it as a "residual right" and warned that "within the family of human rights it remains on the margins".

Read it all.

Filed under: * Culture-WatchGlobalizationLaw & Legal IssuesPsychologyReligion & Culture* Economics, PoliticsForeign RelationsPolitics in General* International News & CommentaryAfricaNigeriaAsiaPakistanEngland / UKMiddle EastEgyptSyria* TheologyEthics / Moral Theology

0 Comments
Posted May 2, 2014 at 7:00 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

A Pakistani Christian man has been sentenced to death for blasphemy, in a case which sparked fierce rioting in the eastern city of Lahore last March.

Sawan Masih was convicted of using derogatory remarks against the Prophet Mohammed in a row with a Muslim friend.

Hundreds of Muslims attacked the city's Christian Joseph colony, torching homes, when the allegations surfaced.

Read it all.

Filed under: * Culture-WatchLaw & Legal IssuesReligion & CultureViolence* International News & CommentaryAsiaPakistan* Religion News & CommentaryInter-Faith RelationsOther FaithsIslamMuslim-Christian relations

4 Comments
Posted March 28, 2014 at 5:15 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

The REALITY at All Saints’ Church, Peshawar, on Sunday, 22 September 2013

This cataclysmic act committed by two suicide bombers shook the very foundations of our people and changed the very course of not only their lives but of the whole Christian community in Pakistan. It happened after the morning worship of Holy Communion while they were sharing an agape fellowship in the small compound of this historic church. The church was built in 1883 as the first church building of its kind, being designed like a mosque and especially for the use of the native Christians of the local area. Even at that time its foundations were filled with the blood of nine local Christian martyrs. It is located in the heart of the ancient historic city of Peshawar and in the neighbourhood of the famous Qissa Khawani (story tellers) bazaar, which was the hub of the travellers of ancient times when entering from Khyber Pass onto the Silk Route.

My relationship with this ‘gharana’ (family) goes back almost quarter of a century. I have shared their joys and sorrows during these years. I have been their friend and father-figure. Many of them I had Baptized, Confirmed and Married. It has been one of the two largest parishes in the Diocese of Peshawar and a bastion of indigenous Christianity in this famous border area of Pakistan/Afghanistan. Most of the families can claim their lineage in this area for well over a century. One of the most celebrated aspects of their Christian witness has always been their Easter procession, very often numbering up to five thousand young and old, women and children, singing and praying through the winding and narrow streets of the neighbourhood. Almost all of them speak and communicate in the local Pakhtun language and are also well versed in Pakhtun culture. So they have never felt themselves to be either outsiders or unfamiliar with the local customs and traditions. For this reason they were always open and at ease with their Muslim neighbours.

This horrendous tragedy claimed nearly 300 victims of all ages, with 117 passing away and 162 receiving very serious and other injuries...

Read it all.

Filed under: * Anglican - Episcopal* Culture-WatchReligion & CultureViolence* International News & CommentaryAsiaPakistan* Religion News & CommentaryInter-Faith RelationsOther Faiths* TheologyEthics / Moral Theology

0 Comments
Posted March 6, 2014 at 3:00 pm [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

Everyone knows that Indian Partition was a very bloody affair, but how many of us can name the man given the responsibility of laying the groundwork for it? In July 1947 Prime Minister Clement Attlee appointed Cyril Radcliffe, a barrister, to the task of drawing the boundary lines between the two new sovereign states of India and Pakistan. There had been riots in the country and the British were looking for as orderly an exit from empire as possible.

The guiding principle, crudely, was that as many Hindus and Sikhs as possible should remain within India’s redrawn borders, while the newly created Pakistan would be home to the majority of Muslims. There was the additional problem of populous Calcutta and Bengal in the East. Radcliffe, absurdly, had five weeks to accomplish this: Independence was set for August 15.

Howard Brenton’s new play Drawing the Line, which has been playing to full houses at the Hampstead Theatre (the curtain comes down with a live-stream performance this Saturday, available on a certain newspaper’s website), focuses on Radcliffe as he struggles with an impossible assignment in a country he has never until now visited, pulled in different directions by representatives from Jawaharlal Nehru’s Congress Party and Muhammad Ali Jinnah’s Muslim League

Read it all.

Filed under: * Culture-WatchHistoryReligion & CultureTheatre/Drama/Plays* International News & CommentaryAsiaIndiaPakistanEngland / UK

0 Comments
Posted January 15, 2014 at 5:00 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

U.S. and Afghan politicians are in the middle of a heated debate over whether a small American and NATO force will remain in Afghanistan at the end of next year.

But what's a political and strategic question at the negotiating table is an emotional question at bases around Afghanistan, where soldiers watch the discussions with one eye on their sacrifices over the past 12 years and the other on the American withdrawal from Vietnam four decades ago.

In short, they don't want to go home without the win.

Read it all.

Filed under: * Culture-WatchHistory* Economics, PoliticsDefense, National Security, MilitaryEconomyThe U.S. GovernmentForeign RelationsPolitics in GeneralTerrorismWar in Afghanistan* International News & CommentaryAsiaAfghanistanPakistan* TheologyEthics / Moral Theology

0 Comments
Posted October 28, 2013 at 5:30 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

On 22nd of September 2013, around 500 persons gathered for Divine Sunday Service including another 64 children who were present in the Sunday School Center in the Church compound. Two suicide bombers entered in the compound and exploded themselves while the worshipers were coming out at the end of the Service at All Saints Church, Kohati Gate in Peshawar.

This city is the Provincial head and a main town in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa province which has borne the brunt of a bloody Islamist insurgency in recent years.

This bloody blast took almost 130 lives and injured 169 persons. 120 People are still in the different hospitals. 12 women become widows, 24 children become orphan and amongst them 18 children lost both parents.

Read it all.

Filed under: * Anglican - Episcopal* Christian Life / Church LifeParish Ministry* Culture-WatchReligion & CultureViolence* International News & CommentaryAsiaPakistan* Religion News & CommentaryInter-Faith RelationsOther FaithsIslamMuslim-Christian relations* TheologyEthics / Moral Theology

0 Comments
Posted October 18, 2013 at 3:02 pm [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

We may not like it, but Christians are not God's 'favourites'; and we may like even less the fact that God loves terrorists as much as he loves well-behaved little me. This is not to suggest turning a glib, blind eye to evil or injustice, far from it; but it is to suggest that any Christianity worth preserving, defending or celebrating is (if at times with gritted teeth or a broken heart) to strive to forgive to the last breath.

"The last will be first and the first will be last", said Christ. A strident demand for Christianity to be pushed to the front of the queue in our present age may well turn out to be counterproductive. In the West Christendom had over a thousand years to make its point, its mouth close to the only microphone in town. In our global, post-Christian times a gentler, kinder voice will need to be used, and we may even thereby find a way of changing Terror itself into hope and reconciliation.

Read it all.

Filed under: * Culture-WatchLaw & Legal IssuesPolice/FireReligion & CultureViolence* Economics, PoliticsForeign RelationsPolitics in General* International News & CommentaryAsiaPakistan* Religion News & CommentaryInter-Faith RelationsOther FaithsIslamMuslim-Christian relations* TheologyEthics / Moral Theology

3 Comments
Posted October 1, 2013 at 11:10 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

Indian Prime Minister Manmohan Singh said on Saturday that he reciprocated Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif’s sentiments on forging a new beginning but reiterated that the epicentre of terrorism was located in Pakistan.

Addressing the audience during the 68th session of the United Nations General Assembly at the United Nations, Singh said that state sponsored cross border terrorism was of particular concern to India.

“It is important that the terrorist machinery that draws its sustenance from Pakistan be shut down,” he said.

Read it all.

Filed under: * Culture-WatchViolence* Economics, PoliticsForeign RelationsPolitics in GeneralTerrorism* International News & CommentaryAsiaIndiaPakistan

0 Comments
Posted September 30, 2013 at 8:00 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by The_Elves

Twin blasts in the northwestern Pakistani city of Peshawar killed 33 people and wounded 70 on Sunday, a week after bombings at a church there killed scores, police and hospital authorities said.

Read it all

Filed under: * International News & CommentaryAsiaPakistan

0 Comments
Posted September 29, 2013 at 10:11 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

With its Muslim-style minarets topped by a large black cross, the All Saints Church in Peshawar has for more than a century offered a daring architectural expression of Muslim-Christian harmony and cohabitation....

Read it all.

Filed under: * Culture-WatchLaw & Legal IssuesPolice/FireReligion & CultureViolence* Economics, PoliticsForeign RelationsPolitics in General* International News & CommentaryAsiaPakistan* Religion News & CommentaryInter-Faith RelationsOther FaithsIslamMuslim-Christian relations* TheologyEthics / Moral Theology

0 Comments
Posted September 25, 2013 at 6:15 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

The Secretary General of the Anglican Communion has asked for Communion-wide prayer following the suicide attack on a church in Pakistan that left than 78 dead and more than 100 injured.

In a letter to the Anglican Communion's Primates--its most senior bishops--Canon Kenneth Kearon wrote, "Messages of condolences have been coming in from around the Communion, and I write to ask you to consider requesting your parishes and dioceses to remember in prayer those who died or were bereaved and those who were injured or live in fear because of the tragedy."

Read it all.

Filed under: * Anglican - Episcopal* Christian Life / Church LifeSpirituality/Prayer* Culture-WatchReligion & CultureViolence* International News & CommentaryAsiaPakistan* Religion News & CommentaryInter-Faith Relations

0 Comments
Posted September 25, 2013 at 5:00 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

It has become an all too familiar narrative: Muslim militants in some majority Islamic country going out of their way to kill and intimidate the local Christian populace.

What happened this past Sunday in Pakistan, however, has shocked even the most jaded and cynical observers.

Peshawar’s All Saints Church is an Anglican parish that has existed since 1893. Around noon, after services this past Sunday, two suicide bombers, each wearing 13 pounds of explosives, forced their way past two police guards and detonated their devices. At least 83 people have died from the blast, including 34 women and seven children, with more than 175 people injured. The attack decimated entire families.

Read it all.

Filed under: * Culture-WatchReligion & CultureViolence* Economics, PoliticsForeign RelationsPolitics in General* International News & CommentaryAsiaPakistan* Religion News & CommentaryInter-Faith RelationsOther ChurchesRoman CatholicPope Francis Other FaithsIslamMuslim-Christian relations* TheologyEthics / Moral Theology

2 Comments
Posted September 24, 2013 at 6:15 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

Writing to the Church of Pakistan last night, the Archbishop said his heart 'goes out to all those bereaved and injured by this terrible attack....'I pray for the peace of Pakistan and the protection of Christ's people. With the people of Peshawar I join in calling for the Pakistan Government and all people of good will to ensure that communities may go about their daily lives in safety, and that the perpetrators are brought to justice. Please be assured of my prayers and fullest support as you provide leadership and care for your people at this difficult time.'

Read it all.


Filed under: * Anglican - EpiscopalArchbishop of Canterbury --Justin Welby* Culture-WatchReligion & CultureViolence* International News & CommentaryAsiaPakistan

0 Comments
Posted September 23, 2013 at 3:10 pm [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

Burials have been taking place in the Pakistani city of Peshawar after a double suicide bombing killed at least 80 people at a church on Sunday.

It is thought to be the deadliest ever attack on Pakistan's Christians.

Two militant groups with links to the Taliban said they ordered the attack to retaliate against US drone strikes.

Read it all.

Filed under: * Culture-WatchReligion & CultureViolence* International News & CommentaryAsiaPakistan* Religion News & CommentaryOther Churches

1 Comments
Posted September 23, 2013 at 6:32 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

A series of violent riots against Pakistani Christians in the past decade has concerned human rights watchers and religious minorities in Pakistan.

The latest deadly incident, which took place just two months ago, raised questions about what, if anything, can be done to prevent such violence.

The March incident when a Muslim mob burned down a Christian neighborhood in Lahore, echoed a similar incident in the rural town of Gojra four years earlier. Nine people were killed when rioters torched two Christian neighborhoods over rumors the Christians had celebrated a wedding by showering the groom with pages torn from the Quran. Despite hundreds of arrests, no one was tried for the riots, and relatives of those killed have now fled Pakistan.

Read it all.

Filed under: * Culture-WatchReligion & CultureViolence* Economics, PoliticsPolitics in General* International News & CommentaryAsiaPakistan* Religion News & CommentaryInter-Faith RelationsOther FaithsIslamMuslim-Christian relations

0 Comments
Posted May 28, 2013 at 7:00 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

Pakistanis went to the polls in high numbers on Saturday, in a vote that carried the historic prospect of the country’s first fully democratic political cycle despite being carried out under threat of fresh violence from Taliban insurgents.

A bomb in the southern port city of Karachi killed at least 11 people, doctors said, offering an ominous start to the day following Taliban threats to dispatch suicide bombers to targets across the country. And intensifying claims of vote irregularities in Karachi raised the prospect that some of the vote would be invalidated in the country’s largest metropolis.

But in several cities the turnout was very strong, supporting predictions of unusually high voter participation. Long lines remained at many polling places well into the evening, leading to the announcement that the formal poll-closing time would be extended by an hour, to 6 p.m. local time, and that even then lines would not be cut off.

Read it all.

Filed under: * Culture-WatchHistoryViolence* Economics, PoliticsPolitics in General* International News & CommentaryAsiaPakistan

0 Comments
Posted May 11, 2013 at 7:52 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

In majority Muslim Pakistan, religious minorities say democracy is killing them.

Intolerance has been on the rise for the past five years under Pakistan’s democratically elected government because of the growing violence of Islamic radicals, who are then courted by political parties, say many in the country’s communities of Shiite Muslims, Christians, Hindus and other minorities....

More than a dozen representatives of Pakistan’s minorities interviewed by The Associated Press expressed fears the vote will only hand more influence to extremists. Since the 2008 elections, under the outgoing government led by the left-leaning Pakistan People’s Party, sectarian attacks have been relentless and minorities have found themselves increasingly targeted by radical Islamic militants. Minorities have little faith the new election will change that.

Read it all.

Filed under: * Culture-WatchLaw & Legal IssuesReligion & Culture* Economics, PoliticsPolitics in General* International News & CommentaryAsiaPakistan* Religion News & CommentaryInter-Faith Relations* TheologyEthics / Moral Theology

0 Comments
Posted May 9, 2013 at 3:00 pm [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

A US government-appointed panel urged Washington Tuesday to step up pressure on Pakistan over religious freedom, warning that risks to its minorities have reached a crisis level.

In an annual report, the US Commission on International Religious Freedom also raised concerns about what it called a worsening situation in China, as well as problems in Egypt, Iran, Myanmar, Saudi Arabia and other nations.

The commission, which advises the government but does not make decisions, called for the United States to designate Pakistan, among eight other countries, as a “country of particular concern,” meaning it could be subject to sanctions if it fails to improve.

Read it all.


Filed under: * Culture-WatchGlobalizationReligion & Culture* Economics, PoliticsForeign RelationsPolitics in General* International News & CommentaryAsiaPakistan* Religion News & CommentaryInter-Faith RelationsOther ChurchesOther FaithsIslamMuslim-Christian relations

0 Comments
Posted May 2, 2013 at 7:45 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

How does a president bring the war in Afghanistan to an end? There are 68,000 American troops serving in the country as the war enters its 12th year.

The war hasn't been a major issue in the presidential campaign, and polls show American voters are tiring of the war. But the next commander in chief will find the Afghan war among the most difficult of many foreign policy challenges.

Read or listen to it all.

Filed under: * Economics, PoliticsDefense, National Security, MilitaryForeign RelationsPolitics in GeneralOffice of the PresidentWar in Afghanistan* International News & CommentaryAsiaAfghanistanPakistan

0 Comments
Posted October 7, 2012 at 12:01 pm [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

Civilians are being "terrorised" 24 hours a day by CIA drone attacks that target mainly low-level militants in north-west Pakistan, a US report says.

Rescuers treating the casualties are also being killed and wounded by second drone strikes, says the report by Stanford and New York Universities.

Drone attacks are thought to have killed hundreds of militants in Yemen and Afghanistan as well as Pakistan.

Read it all.

Filed under: * Culture-WatchScience & Technology* Economics, PoliticsDefense, National Security, MilitaryForeign RelationsPolitics in General* International News & CommentaryAmerica/U.S.A.AsiaPakistan* TheologyEthics / Moral Theology

0 Comments
Posted September 25, 2012 at 5:45 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

Lahore Bishop Rt Rev Dr Alexander John Malik has strongly condemned the burning of a church in Mardan, reiterating that Pakistani Christians have nothing to do with the people who made the profane movie.

Read it all.

Filed under: * Anglican - Episcopal* Culture-WatchReligion & CultureViolence* International News & CommentaryAsiaPakistan* Religion News & CommentaryEcumenical RelationsOther ChurchesLutheranOther FaithsIslamMuslim-Christian relations

0 Comments
Posted September 24, 2012 at 4:15 pm [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

A mob of hundreds of Muslim men attacked and burnt an 82-year-old church and an adjoining school in northwest Pakistan during a protest against an anti-Islam film, sparking concerns among the minority Christian community.

The mob broke through the gate of the St Paul's Lutheran Church inside the cantonment in Mardan city, 48 km from the Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa capital of Peshawar, on Friday while returning from a rally against the film Innocence Of Muslims.

According to reports from Christians in Mardan, the mob attacked and set on fire the church, St Paul's high school, a library, a computer laboratory and houses of four clergymen, including Bishop Peter Majeed.

Read it all.

Filed under: * Culture-WatchMovies & TelevisionReligion & CultureViolence* International News & CommentaryAsiaPakistan* Religion News & CommentaryOther ChurchesLutheranOther FaithsIslamMuslim-Christian relations

0 Comments
Posted September 24, 2012 at 4:00 pm [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

Thousands of people today broke into a church compound in Pakistan, burnt down the church, and destroyed the homes of two priests and the school headteacher.

The motivation behind the attack in Mardan, near Peshawar, is not yet clear, but the school was looted with newly installed computers being stolen and the building was set alight. No-one is reported to have been injured in the attack.

The Bishop of Peshawar Rt Rev Humphrey Peters has appealed for support from the Anglican Communion condemned the attack: “The damage has been very severe, and we will need to rebuild. We are asking for people around the world to keep us in your prayers.”

Read it all.

Filed under: * Anglican - Episcopal* Culture-WatchViolence* International News & CommentaryAsiaPakistan

0 Comments
Posted September 22, 2012 at 9:08 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

At least 19 people have died as violent protests erupted on the streets of Pakistan's main cities in anger at an anti-Islam film made in the US.

Fourteen people were killed in the port city of Karachi and a further five died in the north-western city of Peshawar, hospital officials said.

Protesters clashed with police outside the diplomatic enclave in the capital, Islamabad, near the US embassy.

Makes the heart sad--read it all.

Filed under: * Culture-WatchMovies & TelevisionReligion & CultureViolence* Economics, PoliticsForeign RelationsPolitics in General* International News & CommentaryAsiaPakistan* Religion News & CommentaryOther FaithsIslam

1 Comments
Posted September 21, 2012 at 3:25 pm [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

With Muslim leaders in many countries calling for a global law barring what they call insults to Islam, the main non-Catholic world Christian grouping on Monday said just such a law in Pakistan is used to persecute other religions.

Pakistan's "Blasphemy Law" has driven the country's religious minorities - Christians, Hindus and Ahmadis, a dissenting Islamic group - into "a state of fear and terror", said the World Council of Churches (WCC), organisers of a 3-day conference on the law.

Read it all.

Filed under: * Culture-WatchLaw & Legal IssuesReligion & Culture* Economics, PoliticsPolitics in General* International News & CommentaryAsiaPakistan* Religion News & CommentaryEcumenical RelationsInter-Faith RelationsOther Churches

1 Comments
Posted September 19, 2012 at 5:30 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

Religious rights activists are hailing the release over the weekend of an Iranian pastor accused of apostasy and a Pakistani girl who was charged with blasphemy.

Pastor Youcef Nadarkhani was released Saturday (Sept. 8) after a six-hour hearing, reported the American Center for Law and Justice, which worked to garner American support for the minister’s release. The Christian convert had faced possible execution.

Read it all.

Filed under: * Christian Life / Church LifeSpirituality/Prayer* Culture-WatchLaw & Legal IssuesReligion & Culture* Economics, PoliticsForeign RelationsPolitics in General* International News & CommentaryAsiaPakistanMiddle EastIran* Religion News & CommentaryInter-Faith RelationsOther Churches

3 Comments
Posted September 12, 2012 at 8:00 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

The Christian girl who was allegedly framed for blasphemy by her local mullah has been hailed as a "daughter of the nation" by one of Pakistan's most senior Islamic clerics, who also vowed to guarantee her safety if she is eventually released from prison.

The heavyweight support for Rimsha Masih from the chairman of the All Pakistan Ulema Council, a grouping of Islamic clerics, is being seen as a remarkable turn of events in a country where individuals accused of insulting Islam are almost never helped by powerful public figures.

In a fiery press conference at a central Islamabad hotel, Hafiz Mohammad Tahir Mehmood Ashrafi, flanked by other senior clerics, demanded all the organs of the Pakistani state come together to investigate the circumstances surrounding the arrest last month of a girl who it is claimed has Down's syndrome.

Read it all.

Filed under: * Culture-WatchLaw & Legal IssuesReligion & Culture* International News & CommentaryAsiaPakistan* Religion News & CommentaryInter-Faith RelationsOther FaithsIslamMuslim-Christian relations

2 Comments
Posted September 4, 2012 at 6:15 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

A leading Catholic human rights activist in Pakistan is calling for charges to be dropped in the case of a young, special needs girl accused of blasphemy.
Peter Jacob, executive secretary of the National Commission for Justice and Peace for the Church in Pakistan, told Aid to the Church in Need that he strongly doubts the allegations leveled against Rimsha Masih.
She is accused of burning 10 pages of the Noorani Qaida, an Islamic booklet used to learn basic Arabic and the Koran.

Read it all.

Filed under: * Culture-WatchBooksChildrenLaw & Legal IssuesReligion & Culture* International News & CommentaryAsiaPakistan* Religion News & CommentaryInter-Faith RelationsOther FaithsIslamMuslim-Christian relations

1 Comments
Posted August 30, 2012 at 7:35 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

Everyone in the teeming, tense community of Muslims and Christians just outside Islamabad seems to have a different story about the young girl and the Koran.

The 12-year-old Christian deliberately burned the Muslim holy book, some say. No, she innocently put pages from a non-sacred teaching text into the trash, say others, and nothing was burned. Still another version holds that an older Muslim boy planted pages of the Koran for the cleaning girl to find and then leveled the accusation of desecration because she had spurned him.

Amid the conflicting claims, this much is certain: As many as 600 Christians have fled their colony bordering the capital, fearing for their lives, officials said, after a mob last week called for the child to be burned to death as a blasphemer.

Read it all.

Filed under: * Culture-WatchChildrenLaw & Legal IssuesReligion & Culture* Economics, PoliticsPolitics in General* International News & CommentaryAsiaPakistan* Religion News & CommentaryOther FaithsIslamMuslim-Christian relations

0 Comments
Posted August 25, 2012 at 12:30 pm [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

Controversy continues to swirl around Pakistan's blasphemy law after the arrest of a young Christian girl for defiling words from the Quran.

Pakistani President Asif Ali Zardari has asked the country's Interior Ministry for a report about the Aug. 16 arrest of Rimshah Masih, described as an 11-year-old with Down syndrome in various media reports.

Even so, Nina Shea, director of the Hudson Institute's Center for Religious Freedom and a former member of the U.S. Commission on International Religious Freedom, suggested an ominous fate for the girl, in a National Review Online blog Aug. 21.

Read it all.

Filed under: * Culture-WatchChildrenLaw & Legal IssuesReligion & Culture* Economics, PoliticsPolitics in General* International News & CommentaryAsiaPakistan* Religion News & CommentaryInter-Faith RelationsOther ChurchesOther FaithsIslamMuslim-Christian relations

1 Comments
Posted August 23, 2012 at 5:30 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

The West often sees Islam as a monolith but in reality it is a patchwork of sects, schools and ways, not to mention some fully fledged religions wearing Islamic masks to avoid persecution. And as always in Islam, religious differences are a cover for political rivalries.

Involved in the schism are three camps. One consists of traditional Sunni Muslims who have just won a share of power in several countries, notably Egypt. The second camp is that of Salafis, Sunni Muslims who dream of reconquering “lost Islamic lands” such as Spain and parts of Russia and to revive the caliphate. In the third camp are Shia militants who hope to overthrow Sunni regimes and extend their influence in southern Asia, Africa and Latin America....

Iran, the leading Shia power, and Saudi Arabia, its Sunni rival, have been fighting sectarian proxy wars for years, notably in Pakistan, Iraq and Lebanon. Last year more than 5,000 people died in sectarian clashes in Pakistan. Under its neo-Ottoman leadership Turkey has abandoned the ringside to join the fray, notably in Libya and Syria. Now Egypt is also testing the waters....

Read it all (requires subscription).

Filed under: * Culture-WatchHistoryReligion & CultureViolence* Economics, PoliticsForeign RelationsPolitics in General* International News & CommentaryAsiaPakistanMiddle EastEgyptIranIraqSaudi ArabiaSyria* Religion News & CommentaryOther FaithsIslam

3 Comments
Posted August 22, 2012 at 6:30 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

The draconian security measure was imposed on Sunday at 8:00 pm, at a time when millions ordinarily telephone friends and relatives with greetings for Eid al-Fitr. Networks were working again on Monday mid-morning.
Karachi and Lahore, Pakistan's two largest cities, and the troubled city of Quetta, in the insurgency-torn province of Baluchistan, were among the places where networks were suspended.
"We regret that it had to be suspended in some cities due to the risk of terrorist attacks," Rehman Malik, the country's interior minister, was quoted as saying by state TV.

Read it all.

Filed under: * Culture-WatchLaw & Legal IssuesScience & Technology* Economics, PoliticsDefense, National Security, MilitaryTerrorism* International News & CommentaryAsiaPakistan

0 Comments
Posted August 20, 2012 at 5:30 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

An 11-year-old Christian Pakistani girl could face the death penalty under the country's notorious blasphemy laws, after she was accused by her neighbours of deliberately burning sacred Islamic texts.

Rifta Masih was arrested on Thursday, after complaints against her prompted angry demonstrations. Asif Ali Zardari, the president, has ordered the interior ministry to investigate the case.

As communal tensions continued to rise, about 900 Christians living on the outskirts of Islamabad have been ordered to leave a neighbourhood where they have lived for almost two decades.

Read it all.

Filed under: * Culture-WatchChildrenLaw & Legal Issues* Economics, PoliticsPolitics in General* International News & CommentaryAsiaPakistan* Religion News & CommentaryInter-Faith RelationsOther ChurchesOther FaithsIslamMuslim-Christian relations

3 Comments
Posted August 20, 2012 at 5:00 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

As Pakistan's media has expanded in recent years, there's been a rise in Islamic preachers with popular TV call-in talk shows. And they've had their share of scandal. One famous TV host fled the country after embezzlement allegations. Others are accused of spewing hate speech.

That's the case for Pakistan's most popular televangelist, Aamir Liaquat, who's just been rehired by the country's top TV channel despite accusations that he provoked deadly attacks in 2008.

Read (or listen to) it all.

Filed under: * Culture-WatchMovies & TelevisionReligion & CultureViolence* International News & CommentaryAsiaPakistan* Religion News & CommentaryInter-Faith RelationsOther FaithsIslam

2 Comments
Posted August 19, 2012 at 5:11 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

To the white majority, who even now think of this country as a placid place, it will seem extraordinary that the author of this dramatic memoir was born in Southend. Maajid Nawaz is still only in his mid-thirties. He was brought up in a prosperous, middle-class, anglophile household of Pakistani origin. In his teens, he became an Essex ''b-boy’’, and got into fights with Paki-bashing skinheads. In college in London, and later at its renowned School of Oriental and African Studies, he was an extreme Islamist activist. He was present when one of his fellow extremists stabbed an African student to death. He married at 21, and had a son.

Nawaz was a leading firebrand in Hizb al-Tahrir (HT), the militant organisation that wishes to overthrow all infidel regimes and establish a new Muslim Caliphate. Although it is not itself a terror organisation, its ideology legitimises violence. The author traces what he calls its ''snail’s trail’’ all the way to al-Qaeda....

Read it all.

Filed under: * Culture-WatchBooksReligion & CultureViolence* International News & CommentaryAsiaPakistanEngland / UK* Religion News & CommentaryOther FaithsIslam

0 Comments
Posted August 5, 2012 at 5:00 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

Christian lawyers and activists have criticized the Supreme Court for its failure to protect religious minority women from forced conversion and urged the government to adopt specific legal protections.

Peter Jacob, executive director of the Episcopal Commission for Justice and Peace, said during a consultative meeting with Christian lawyers on Saturday that minority women live under constant threat of abduction and conversion.

“The religious minorities are under threat and hesitant to allow their women to join any profession due to fear of losing a family member,” he said.

Read it all.

Filed under: * Culture-WatchLaw & Legal IssuesReligion & Culture* International News & CommentaryAsiaPakistan* Religion News & CommentaryInter-Faith RelationsOther ChurchesOther FaithsIslamMuslim-Christian relations

0 Comments
Posted May 31, 2012 at 9:30 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

Pakistani lawyers will appeal the conviction for treason handed to Shakeel Afridi, the surgeon recruited by US intelligence to help find Osama bin Laden.

The archaic form of justice that governs Pakistan's semi-autonomous tribal belt on Wednesday jailed Afridi for 33 years for agreeing to try and collect DNA for US intelligence in their bid to locate bin Laden.

Afridi ran a fake vaccination programme designed to collect bin Laden family DNA from the compound in the town of Abbottabad, where the al-Qaeda leader was shot dead in a US raid in May 2011.

Read it all.

Filed under: * Culture-WatchLaw & Legal Issues* Economics, PoliticsForeign RelationsPolitics in GeneralTerrorism* International News & CommentaryAmerica/U.S.A.AsiaPakistan

0 Comments
Posted May 25, 2012 at 5:48 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

A Senate panel expressed its outrage Thursday over Pakistan's conviction of a doctor who helped the United States track down Osama bin Laden, voting to cut aid to Islamabad by $33 million — $1 million for every year of the physician's 33-year sentence for high treason.

The punitive move came on top of deep reductions the Appropriations Committee already had made to President Barack Obama's budget request for Pakistan, a reflection of the growing congressional anger over its cooperation in combatting terrorism. The overall foreign aid budget for next year had slashed more than half of the proposed assistance and threatened further reductions if Islamabad failed to open overland supply routes to U.S.-led NATO forces in Afghanistan.

Read it all.

Filed under: * Culture-WatchLaw & Legal Issues* Economics, PoliticsEconomyThe U.S. GovernmentBudgetForeign RelationsPolitics in GeneralSenateTerrorism* International News & CommentaryAmerica/U.S.A.AsiaPakistan

2 Comments
Posted May 24, 2012 at 4:34 pm [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

On April 12 the Pakistani parliament passed a 14-point resolution in response to the Salala checkpoint attacks. The resolution condemns the attacks, and includes demands for an unconditional apology from the US, an immediate cessation of drone attacks, and a stop to all transport of arms and ammunition through Pakistan.

The foreign policy review process was an attempt by the parliament to regain control over the country's foreign policy, which has historically been set by the country's military. It was passed after several months debate, and under a broad coalition of parties across the political spectrum.

“We need to make sure that we follow the recommendations of the parliament in our negotiations with the US. I am hopeful that we can come to a mutually satisfying agreement,” says Mr. Chaudhury.

Read it all.

Filed under: * Economics, PoliticsDefense, National Security, MilitaryForeign RelationsPolitics in GeneralWar in Afghanistan* International News & CommentaryAsiaAfghanistanPakistan

0 Comments
Posted May 20, 2012 at 3:38 pm [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

Q: Your Excellency, the Christians in Pakistan are a minority, less than 3% of the total population. How would you see your relationship with your Muslim compatriots?

Bishop Shah: In day-to-day life, Christians and a Muslims work together. It is not a problem. We certainly feel that we are a minority but at the same time, we feel that we too are Pakistanis. We are all Pakistanis. The problem occurs when a religious group creates some problems; for instance, in certain remote areas where an Imam preaches a biased teaching. But otherwise, even when I was in school where the majority of the students were Muslims, we were good friends. We would exchange information about Jesus, the Bible, The Prophet and the Koran. There was never a problem. It is only very recently that we feel a problem surfacing in our inter-relationships with the Muslims and we have to be very careful. People working in offices never discuss religion, which is a very new development and that is perhaps a good thing.

Q: …that religion should not take part of the day to day?

Bishop Shah: … they [Muslim] and we [Christians] know that we are still friends. The problem is those groups that create problems and in certain villages, this is more apparent.

Read it all.

Filed under: * International News & CommentaryAsiaPakistan* Religion News & CommentaryOther FaithsIslamMuslim-Christian relations

0 Comments
Posted April 29, 2012 at 1:10 pm [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

A new revelation of young American soldiers caught on camera while defiling insurgents’ remains in Afghanistan has intensified questions within the military community about whether fundamental discipline is breaking down given the nature and length of the war.

The photographs, published by The Los Angeles Times on Wednesday, show more than a dozen soldiers of the 82nd Airborne Division’s Fourth Brigade Combat Team, along with some Afghan security forces, posing with the severed hands and legs of Taliban attackers in Zabul Province in 2010. They seemed likely to further bruise an American-Afghan relationship that has been battered by crisis after crisis over the past year, even as the two governments are in the midst of negotiations over a long-term strategic agreement.

The images also add to a troubling list of cases — including Marines videotaped urinating on Taliban bodies, the burning of Korans, and the massacre of villagers attributed to a lone Army sergeant — that have cast American soldiers in the harshest possible light before the Afghan public.

Read it all.

Filed under: * Culture-WatchGlobalizationPsychology* Economics, PoliticsDefense, National Security, MilitaryEconomyThe U.S. GovernmentForeign RelationsPolitics in GeneralWar in Afghanistan* International News & CommentaryAmerica/U.S.A.AsiaAfghanistanPakistan

6 Comments
Posted April 19, 2012 at 6:16 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

The mother of a 6-month-old girl has been wrongly jailed for more than a month, as Pakistani authorities have failed to file a charge sheet within the mandatory 14-day period against the young Christian woman falsely accused of “blaspheming” the prophet of Islam, her attorney said.

Shamim Bibi, 26, of village Chak No. 170/7R Colony, in the Fort Abbas area of Bahawalpur district, was charged under Section 295-C of Pakistan’s “blasphemy” statutes after neighbors accused her of uttering remarks against Muhammad. She was arrested on Feb. 28.

Speaking ill of Muhammad in Pakistan is punishable by life imprisonment or death under Pakistan’s internationally condemned blasphemy laws.

Read it all.

Filed under: * Culture-WatchLaw & Legal IssuesReligion & Culture* Economics, PoliticsPolitics in General* International News & CommentaryAsiaPakistan* Religion News & CommentaryOther ChurchesOther FaithsIslamMuslim-Christian relations

0 Comments
Posted April 12, 2012 at 4:03 pm [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

Hindu and Christian representatives say forced conversions to Islam have become the latest weapon of Islamic extremists in what they call a growing campaign against Pakistan's religious minorities, on top of assassinations and mob intimidation of houses of worship. The groups are increasingly wondering if they still have a place in Pakistan.

"It is a conspiracy that Hindus and Christians and other minorities should leave Pakistan," says Amar Lal, the lawyer representing Kumari in the Supreme Court. "As a minority, we feel more and more insecure. It is getting worse day by day."

Read it all.

Filed under: * Culture-WatchLaw & Legal IssuesReligion & CultureViolence* Economics, PoliticsPolitics in General* International News & CommentaryAsiaPakistan* Religion News & CommentaryOther FaithsHinduismIslamMuslim-Christian relations

1 Comments
Posted March 28, 2012 at 5:00 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

US President Barack Obama has promised that international forces will not "rush for the exits" in Afghanistan, after an American soldier was accused of murdering 16 civilians.

Mr Obama said foreign troops must be withdrawn in a responsible way.

The killings in Kandahar province have strained relations between Afghans and foreign forces.

Read it all.

Filed under: * Culture-WatchViolence* Economics, PoliticsDefense, National Security, MilitaryForeign RelationsPolitics in GeneralWar in Afghanistan* International News & CommentaryAmerica/U.S.A.AsiaAfghanistanPakistan

0 Comments
Posted March 12, 2012 at 7:56 pm [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

Church leaders in Wakefield have secured Foreign Office funding to bring a Pakistan delegation of lawyers, police, imams and priests on a peace mission to Britain to share good practice and help heal rifts between Muslims and Christians.

Three imams, three priests, three police officers and three lawyers from Pakistan - close to the village where Christians were burned to death in 2009 - arrived in London on Sunday for a five day fact-finding tour there and in Yorkshire to learn more about how crimes are investigated, our judicial system, share good practice of interfaith work and how to build bridges between faiths.

Read it all.

Filed under: * Anglican - EpiscopalAnglican ProvincesChurch of England (CoE)Archbishop of York John Sentamu* Culture-WatchReligion & CultureViolence* International News & CommentaryAsiaPakistan* Religion News & CommentaryOther ChurchesOther FaithsIslamMuslim-Christian relations

0 Comments
Posted February 21, 2012 at 7:31 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

One of the most senior al-Qaeda militants in Pakistan, Badar Mansoor, has been killed in a US drone strike, local officials say.

The attack took place in Miranshah in North Waziristan tribal area, close to the border with Afghanistan.

Badar Mansoor is suspected of killing dozens of people in attacks in Pakistan and further afield.

Read it all.

Filed under: * Culture-WatchScience & Technology* Economics, PoliticsDefense, National Security, MilitaryTerrorism* International News & CommentaryAmerica/U.S.A.AsiaPakistan

0 Comments
Posted February 9, 2012 at 8:00 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

Pakistan's civilian government fired its Defense Secretary Wednesday in a rare show of defiance against the country's powerful Army, which had earlier publicly rebuked Prime Minister Yusuf Raza Gilani and ignited speculation the government may fall.

Retired Lt. Gen. Naeem Khalid Lodhi, a senior bureaucrat seen as close to the Army, was dismissed by the government for “gross misconduct and illegal action.” He was replaced by a bureaucrat close to the prime minister.

It’s not yet clear whether Pakistan’s powerful Army will be sufficiently moved to launch a coup and directly rule the country as it has done for approximately half of Pakistan’s 65 year history. But if Mr. Gilani's defiance pays off, that could indicate a boost for the country’s democratic institutions.

Read it all.

Filed under: * Culture-WatchLaw & Legal Issues* Economics, PoliticsDefense, National Security, MilitaryEconomyThe U.S. GovernmentForeign RelationsPolitics in General* International News & CommentaryAsiaAfghanistanIndiaPakistan

0 Comments
Posted January 12, 2012 at 5:50 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

A United States military investigation has concluded that checks and balances devised to prevent cross-border mishaps with Pakistan failed to avert a deadly NATO airstrike last month in part because American officials did not trust Pakistan enough to give it detailed information about American troop locations in Afghanistan.

A report by the inquiry concluded that mistakes by both American and Pakistani troops led to airstrikes against two Pakistani posts on the Afghan border that killed 26 Pakistani troops. But two crucial findings — that the Pakistanis fired first at a joint Afghan-American patrol and that they kept firing even after the Americans tried to warn them that they were shooting at allied troops — were likely to further anger Pakistan and plunge the already tattered relationship between the United States and Pakistan to new depths.

In a statement and at a news conference here on Thursday, the Defense Department said that “inadequate coordination by U.S. and Pakistani military officers” and “incorrect mapping information” that NATO had provided to the Pakistani authorities capped a chain of errors that caused the debacle.

Read it all.

Filed under: * Culture-WatchScience & Technology* Economics, PoliticsDefense, National Security, MilitaryForeign RelationsPolitics in GeneralWar in Afghanistan* International News & CommentaryAsiaPakistan

0 Comments
Posted December 23, 2011 at 9:00 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

U.S.-Pakistani relations are “deformed,” and Washington should cease linking its Afghanistan war plans to expectations that Islamabad will target groups on its own soil, a former top American official said.

Dennis Blair, a former director of national intelligence (DNI), on Monday issued a bleak assessment of the icy partnership, which further eroded Saturday when a NATO air strike killed at least 24 Pakistani soldiers.

Read it all.

Filed under: * Economics, PoliticsDefense, National Security, MilitaryForeign RelationsPolitics in General* International News & CommentaryAmerica/U.S.A.AsiaPakistan

1 Comments
Posted November 28, 2011 at 1:08 pm [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

This week saw the launch by Bishop Alexander Malik, Bishop of Lahore, Church of Pakistan and Bishop Christopher Edmonson, Bishop of Bolton, Diocese of Manchester, Church of England of the Urdu version of Generous Love, a document of the Anglican Communion concerned with the theology underpinning interfaith conversation and dialogue.

The event was hosted in the House of Lords by Lord Ahmed of Rotherham and the Revd Rana Kahn, the Archbishop of Canterbury’s Interfaith Dialogues Assistant. The special guest was Dr Paul Bhatti, Advisor to the Prime Minister of Pakistan in matters relating to national harmony.

Read it all.

Filed under: * Anglican - EpiscopalAnglican ProvincesChurch of England (CoE)* International News & CommentaryAsiaPakistan

0 Comments
Posted October 26, 2011 at 3:32 pm [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

US forces are massing on the Pakistan border in eastern Afghanistan amid reports of an imminent drone missile offensive against fighters from the feared Haqqani Network, a Taliban faction which operates from safe havens in Pakistan's North Waziristan Agency, Pakistan Army sources have confirmed.

The scale of the American build-up, including helicopter gunships, heavy artillery and hundreds of American and Afghan troops, caused panic in north Waziristan where tribal militias who feared they could be targeted gathered in the capital Miranshah to coordinate their response.

Read it all.

Filed under: * Economics, PoliticsDefense, National Security, MilitaryForeign RelationsPolitics in GeneralWar in Afghanistan* International News & CommentaryAmerica/U.S.A.AsiaAfghanistanPakistan

0 Comments
Posted October 19, 2011 at 5:15 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

The Rev. Patrick Augustine grew up a member of Pakistan's often oppressed Christian minority, but he had to come to the United States to learn humility. As he's done at every stop on his career, Augustine, rector of La Crosse's Christ Episcopal Church on Main Street, has devoted himself to working for peace and reconciliation between people of different faiths.

Though a member of a tiny minority - Christians account for less than 2 percent of the Pakistani population - Augustine was accustomed to privilege.

Read it all.

Filed under: * Anglican - EpiscopalEpiscopal Church (TEC)* Christian Life / Church LifeParish MinistryMinistry of the Ordained* International News & CommentaryAsiaPakistan

0 Comments
Posted October 17, 2011 at 3:44 pm [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

Pakistan has freed a senior al-Qaeda commander, who served as a bodyguard to Osama bin Laden, according to a senior security source, raising fresh questions about the country's commitment to tackling terrorism.

Amin al-Haq, who escaped from Afghanistan with the al-Qaeda leader in 2001 and went on to become a key financial aide, was detained in Lahore three years ago by Pakistan's intelligence agency.

A senior security source in the north-western Pakistani town of Peshawar, where he had been held, said the Inter-Services Intelligence agency had passed al-Haq on to the police before he was released earlier this month.

Read it all.

Filed under: * Economics, PoliticsDefense, National Security, MilitaryForeign RelationsPolitics in GeneralTerrorism* International News & CommentaryAsiaPakistan

0 Comments
Posted September 29, 2011 at 5:57 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

The nation’s top military official said Thursday that Pakistan’s spy agency played a direct role in supporting the insurgents who carried out the deadly attack on the American Embassy in Kabul last week. It was the most serious charge that the United States has leveled against Pakistan in the decade that America has been at war in Afghanistan.

In comments that were the first to directly link the spy agency, the Directorate for Inter-Services Intelligence, with an assault on the United States, Adm. Mike Mullen, the chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, went further than any other American official in blaming the ISI for undermining the American effort in Afghanistan. His remarks were certain to further fray America’s shaky relationship with Pakistan, a nominal ally.

Read it all.

Filed under: * Economics, PoliticsDefense, National Security, MilitaryForeign Relations* International News & CommentaryAmerica/U.S.A.AsiaPakistan

3 Comments
Posted September 22, 2011 at 11:01 pm [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

The Diocese of Hyderabad has launched an appeal for funds to help its local flood-stricken community, and the ACT Alliance has issued an appeal for Pakistan – hit by severe flooding for the second time in just two years.

Over 5.4 million people have been affected by the floods that have hit Sindh province, southern Punjab and north-eastern Balochistan. Already 248 people have died, and communities that had barely recovered from the devastating floods of last year have seen their homes and livelihoods destroyed a second time.

Read it all.

Filed under: * Anglican - Episcopal* Christian Life / Church LifeParish MinistryPastoral Care* Culture-WatchCharities/Non-Profit Organizations* General InterestNatural Disasters: Earthquakes, Tornadoes, Hurricanes, etc.* International News & CommentaryAsiaPakistan

0 Comments
Posted September 22, 2011 at 9:32 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

The Anglican mission agency USPG has sent an emergency grant to Pakistan where major flooding has submerged villages, claimed lives and destroyed crops.

Continuous heavy monsoon rain has been falling since mid-August, causing flooding in nearly 1,000 villages in the Diocese of Hyderabad.

The Rt Revd Humphrey Peters, Bishop of Peshawar, after visiting the diocese reported: ‘The entire diocese has suffered from heavy rains. Eight of our churches have badly damaged, and many Christians have lost their houses. There is about six to eight feet of water standing in some of the rural churches.’

Read it all.

Filed under: * Anglican - Episcopal* International News & CommentaryAsiaPakistan

0 Comments
Posted September 21, 2011 at 6:58 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

Enemy-initiated attacks in Afghanistan have decreased by 25% as Afghan and coalition forces have degraded insurgent leadership and hammered their morale, the commander of U.S. forces in the Middle East said Tuesday.

The latest figures come during the deadliest month ever for Americans in the 10-year war. Sixty-six U.S. servicemembers have been killed this month, a toll that includes the deaths of 30 troops in an Aug. 6 helicopter crash. The previous high was 65 troops killed in July 2010.

Commanders cautioned that violence levels alone are not an effective way to measure progress or failure.

Read it all.

Filed under: * Economics, PoliticsDefense, National Security, MilitaryForeign RelationsWar in Afghanistan* International News & CommentaryAsiaAfghanistanPakistan

0 Comments
Posted August 31, 2011 at 11:25 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

A drone operated by the C.I.A. killed Al Qaeda’s second-ranking operative in the mountains of Pakistan this month, an American official said Saturday, further weakening a terrorism network shaken by the killing of Osama bin Laden this year.

The official said that a drone strike on Aug. 22 killed Atiyah Abd al-Rahman, a Libyan who in the past year had taken over as Al Qaeda’s top operational planner. Mr. Rahman was in frequent contact with Bin Laden in the months before the terrorist leader was killed in May by a Navy Seals team, intelligence officials have said.

American officials described Mr. Rahman’s death as particularly significant compared with those of other high-ranking Qaeda operatives because he was one of a new generation of Qaeda leaders who the network hoped would assume greater control after Bin Laden’s death.

Read it all.

Filed under: * Culture-WatchScience & Technology* Economics, PoliticsDefense, National Security, MilitaryTerrorism* International News & CommentaryAsiaPakistan

0 Comments
Posted August 27, 2011 at 2:53 pm [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

On April 18th, the DEVGRU squad flew to Nevada for another week of rehearsals. The practice site was a large government-owned stretch of desert with an elevation equivalent to the area surrounding Abbottabad. An extant building served as bin Laden’s house. Aircrews plotted out a path that paralleled the flight from Jalalabad to Abbottabad. Each night after sundown, drills commenced. Twelve SEALs, including Mark, boarded helo one. Eleven SEALs, Ahmed, and Cairo boarded helo two. The pilots flew in the dark, arrived at the simulated compound, and settled into a hover while the SEALs fast-roped down. Not everyone on the team was accustomed to helicopter assaults. Ahmed had been pulled from a desk job for the mission and had never descended a fast rope. He quickly learned the technique.

The assault plan was now honed. Helo one was to hover over the yard, drop two fast ropes, and let all twelve SEALs slide down into the yard. Helo two would fly to the northeast corner of the compound and let out Ahmed, Cairo, and four SEALs, who would monitor the perimeter of the building. The copter would then hover over the house, and James and the remaining six SEALs would shimmy down to the roof. As long as everything was cordial, Ahmed would hold curious neighbors at bay. The SEALs and the dog could assist more aggressively, if needed. Then, if bin Laden was proving difficult to find, Cairo could be sent into the house to search for false walls or hidden doors. “This wasn’t a hard op,” the special-operations officer told me. “It would be like hitting a target in McLean”—the upscale Virginia suburb of Washington, D.C.

This is not short but it is well worth the time. Read it all--KSH.

Filed under: * Culture-WatchScience & Technology* Economics, PoliticsDefense, National Security, MilitaryEconomyThe U.S. GovernmentForeign RelationsTerrorism* International News & CommentaryAsiaPakistan

10 Comments
Posted August 4, 2011 at 5:14 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

After philosophy students and faculty members rallied to denounce heavy-handed efforts to separate male and female students, Islamists on campus struck back: In the dead of night, witnesses say, the radicals showed up at a men's dormitory armed with wooden sticks and bicycle chains.

They burst into dorm rooms, attacking philosophy students. One was pistol-whipped and hit on the head with a brick. Gunfire rang out, although no one was injured. Police were called, but nearly a month after the attack, no arrests have been made.

Few on Punjab University's leafy campus, including top administrators, dare to challenge the Islami Jamiat-e-Talaba, or the IJT, the student wing of one of Pakistan's most powerful hard-line Islamist parties.

Read it all


Filed under: * Culture-WatchEducationLaw & Legal IssuesReligion & CultureViolenceYoung Adults* International News & CommentaryAsiaPakistan* Religion News & CommentaryOther FaithsIslam

0 Comments
Posted July 23, 2011 at 10:28 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

Pakistan's increasingly "close and effective defense ties" established with China during the past decade will allow Islamabad to "fill the gap" arising from the prospect of reduced military aid from the United States, a senior Pakistani official said on Sunday after reports emerged of cuts of up to $800 million in U.S. aid.

Amid tense relations with the United States, Pakistan officials have increasingly pointed towards Beijing as the country's natural ally, offering the possibility of becoming at least a half-substitute to ties with the U.S.

Read it all.

Filed under: * Economics, PoliticsDefense, National Security, MilitaryForeign Relations* International News & CommentaryAmerica/U.S.A.AsiaChinaPakistan

1 Comments
Posted July 11, 2011 at 6:30 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

A petition of more than 2,000 signatures was handed into 10 Downing Street last week in opposition to Pakistan’s controversial Blasphemy Laws.

Organised by Wilson Chowdhry and the British Pakistani Christian Association, the petition’s aim is to protect Christians and other religious minorities in Pakistan.

Read it all (requires subscription).

Filed under: * Culture-WatchLaw & Legal IssuesReligion & Culture* Economics, PoliticsPolitics in General* International News & CommentaryAsiaPakistanEngland / UK* Religion News & CommentaryInter-Faith RelationsOther FaithsIslamMuslim-Christian relations* TheologyEthics / Moral Theology

0 Comments
Posted July 8, 2011 at 6:00 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

The strategic argument for a fast drawdown is premised on the claim that Al Qaeda is already crippled and therefore we have nothing to fear by pulling 10,000 or more troops out of Afghanistan this summer, another 10,000 early next year and 10,000 more by the end of 2012. If White House leaks are to be believed, some senior administration officials concluded that the counterinsurgency campaign launched only last year is a waste of time; all we need to do is rely on targeted air and commando strikes of the kind that have devastated Al Qaeda's senior leadership in Pakistan.

What that argument misses is the extent to which our presence in Afghanistan enables us to project power into Pakistan. It was from Afghanistan, after all, that the Navy SEALs took off to kill Osama bin Laden. If we pull back in Afghanistan, the Taliban will gain ground and the willingness of the Afghan government to provide us the bases we need will decline. That, in turn, will make it markedly more difficult to keep the pressure on Al Qaeda and prevent it from regenerating itself as it has in the past.

Moreover, we shouldn't get overly fixated on Al Qaeda....

Read it all.

Filed under: * Economics, PoliticsDefense, National Security, MilitaryForeign RelationsWar in Afghanistan* International News & CommentaryAsiaAfghanistanPakistan

0 Comments
Posted June 22, 2011 at 5:00 pm [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

Pakistan’s blasphemy laws were introduced in the 1980s. Though they were supposed to be used to protect the religious sensitivities of the country’s Muslim majority, in practice they are often used to persecute religious minorities.

In 2009 almost 100 people were charged with blasphemy, including 67 Ahmadi Muslims and 17 Christians.

Many of those accused or suspected of blasphemy have been assaulted or tortured. Some people detained in prisons on blasphemy charges have been killed by fellow inmates or prison wardens. Others suspected of blasphemy, but not under arrest, have been unlawfully killed without the police taking any action to protect them.

Read it all.

Filed under: * Culture-WatchLaw & Legal IssuesReligion & Culture* Economics, PoliticsPolitics in General* International News & CommentaryAsiaPakistan* Religion News & CommentaryOther FaithsIslamMuslim-Christian relations

0 Comments
Posted June 22, 2011 at 5:27 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

A protest march against Pakistan’s draconian Blasphemy Laws is planned for London on 2 July. Supported by the former Bishop of Rochester, the Rt Rev Michael Nazir-Ali, the march will begin in Knightsbridge and head towards Downing Street. In Pakistan, anyone who insults Islam could be subject to a death sentence under current laws.

Read it all (requires subscription).

Filed under: * Anglican - EpiscopalAnglican ProvincesChurch of England (CoE)* Culture-WatchLaw & Legal IssuesReligion & Culture* International News & CommentaryAsiaPakistanEngland / UK

0 Comments
Posted June 19, 2011 at 3:34 pm [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

Faced with a decision on how quickly to draw down troops, President Obama spoke by videoconference with Afghan President Hamid Karzai on Wednesday as his nominee for ambassador to Afghanistan cautioned against walking away from its 10-year-old war.

The U.S. must "ensure that the country doesn't degenerate into a safe haven for al-Qaeda," Ryan Crocker told skeptical lawmakers at his Senate confirmation hearing.

The White House, meanwhile, challenged the findings of a Senate Foreign Relations Committee probe of U.S. aid in Afghanistan. The panel's Democrats issued a report saying that nearly $19 billion in aid over a decade has generated waste and corruption and been of limited success.

Read it all.

Filed under: * Economics, PoliticsDefense, National Security, MilitaryForeign RelationsPolitics in GeneralHouse of RepresentativesOffice of the PresidentPresident Barack ObamaSenateWar in Afghanistan* International News & CommentaryAsiaAfghanistanPakistan

0 Comments
Posted June 9, 2011 at 2:01 pm [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

President Obama’s nominee for ambassador to Afghanistan offered an unvarnished assessment on Wednesday of the nearly decade-old war, but he told a skeptical Senate committee that the United States could not afford to walk away anytime soon.

In his confirmation hearing before the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, Ryan C. Crocker, the nominee, said that the United States had abandoned Afghanistan once before, after its war with the Soviet Union in 1989, with “disastrous consequences” — the rise of the Taliban. “We cannot afford to do so again,” Mr. Crocker said.

Mr. Crocker nonetheless acknowledged a panoply of problems facing Afghanistan, including government corruption that he said would become “a second insurgency” if left unchecked. He said the United States’s goal in Afghanistan was merely to help the Afghans create a “good-enough government,” not necessarily a model democracy. While progress has been hard, he said, the situation was not hopeless.

Read it all.

Filed under: * Economics, PoliticsDefense, National Security, MilitaryForeign RelationsWar in Afghanistan* International News & CommentaryAmerica/U.S.A.AsiaAfghanistanPakistan

3 Comments
Posted June 8, 2011 at 1:51 pm [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

The hugely expensive U.S. attempt at nation-building in Afghanistan has had only limited success and may not survive an American withdrawal, according to the findings of a two-year congressional investigation to be released Wednesday.

The report calls on the administration to rethink urgently its assistance programs as President Obama prepares to begin drawing down the number of U.S. troops in Afghanistan this summer.

Read it all.

Filed under: * Economics, PoliticsDefense, National Security, MilitaryForeign RelationsPolitics in GeneralWar in Afghanistan* International News & CommentaryAmerica/U.S.A.AsiaAfghanistanPakistan

0 Comments
Posted June 8, 2011 at 5:50 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

The operation was capture or kill. How do you know when to shoot?

It's based on what the person is doing when we show up. In a capture mission, you're putting yourself at more risk. You make that decision in a split second. Does he have a gun? Is he being compliant? The more you do it, the more adept you get at it.

So why did the team make the choice to kill Osama bin Laden?

The guys in the room made that decision. If you want to be in a position to make those types of decisions, go join the team. Otherwise, just say thank you.

Read it all.

Filed under: * Culture-WatchHealth & MedicinePsychology* Economics, PoliticsDefense, National Security, MilitaryIraq WarTerrorismWar in Afghanistan* International News & CommentaryAmerica/U.S.A.AsiaPakistan

8 Comments
Posted June 1, 2011 at 3:18 pm [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

For a small cadre of CIA veterans, the death of Osama bin Laden was more than just a national moment of relief and closure. It was also a measure of payback, a settling of a score for a pair of deaths, the details of which have remained a secret for 13 years.

Tom Shah and Molly Huckaby Hardy were among the 44 U.S. Embassy employees killed when a truck bomb exploded outside the embassy compound in Kenya in 1998.

Though it has never been publicly acknowledged, the two were working undercover for the CIA. In al-Qaida’s war on the United States, they are believed to be the first CIA casualties.

Read it all.

Filed under: * Economics, PoliticsDefense, National Security, MilitaryEconomyThe U.S. GovernmentForeign Relations* International News & CommentaryAfricaKenyaAsiaPakistan

0 Comments
Posted June 1, 2011 at 5:45 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton visited Pakistan on Friday in what officials described as an effort to measure Pakistan’s commitment to fighting Islamic extremism after the killing of Osama bin Laden badly strained relations with the United States. It did not appear to go well.

The atmosphere of her initial meetings — visibly frosty — underscored the tensions between the two countries, which have threatened to lurch into open confrontation since Navy Seals found and killed Bin Laden on May 2 in a military garrison town only 35 miles from here. Mrs. Clinton, the highest ranking American official to visit Pakistan, was joined by the chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, Adm. Mike Mullen, who arrived separately as part of a carefully orchestrated diplomatic encounter.

Read it all.

Filed under: * Economics, PoliticsDefense, National Security, MilitaryForeign RelationsPolitics in GeneralTerrorismWar in Afghanistan* International News & CommentaryAmerica/U.S.A.AsiaPakistan

0 Comments
Posted May 27, 2011 at 6:00 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

....66 percent of white evangelical Protestants said that "do not rejoice when your enemy falls" applied to bin Laden -- compared to 53 percent of those from liberal "mainline" Protestant denominations. At the same time, 70 percent of those polled from "minority" churches -- mostly African-American evangelicals and charismatic Latinos -- said it was improper to celebrate in these circumstances.

Believers from the biblically conservative flocks were, however, more likely to believe God played a direct role in bin Laden's defeat, with 54 percent of white evangelicals and 51 percent of minority Christians taking that stance.

"It's a careful line that they are drawing, but that line is quite clear" in the survey results, said Robert P. Jones, chief executive officer at the Public Religion Research Institute.

Read it all.

Filed under: * Economics, PoliticsDefense, National Security, MilitaryTerrorism* International News & CommentaryAsiaPakistan* TheologyEthics / Moral TheologyTheology: Scripture

0 Comments
Posted May 22, 2011 at 1:01 pm [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

Even if we were justified in using force to kill Osama bin Laden and his death brings a sense of “closure” to the victims of the 9/11 attacks, his death has not broken the cycle of violence. We have already seen that 80 people in Pakistan have been killed as an act of “revenge” for bin Laden’s death. Will someone avenge those 80 deaths, too? And then who will avenge the avengers? Will anyone be marked as Cain so that he may not be killed in revenge?

As has been so often said, the Christian duty to love is not a feeling, but can be understood as an act of fulfilling our responsibilities to God and our neighbor. Augustine believed that taking someone’s life to defend the innocent in order to preserve a “provisional and earthly peace” could be understood as a paradoxical act of love. But he also understood these responsibilities of political authority to be a tragic necessity, borne from the responsibility that comes with trying to preserve a common life in the face of evil.

Those who render this provisional and earthly judgment, Augustine says, do so “with tears,” knowing that the death of one’s fellows can never be something to celebrate. “As I live, says the Lord God, I have no pleasure in the death of the wicked, but that the wicked turn from their ways and live” (Ezek. 33:11).

Read it all.

Filed under: * Culture-WatchLaw & Legal Issues* Economics, PoliticsDefense, National Security, MilitaryForeign RelationsTerrorism* International News & CommentaryAmerica/U.S.A.AsiaPakistan* TheologyEthics / Moral Theology

2 Comments
Posted May 15, 2011 at 6:30 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

St. Luke's Church, Abbottabad is a treat for the eyes. It is a Gothic Victorian structure, a popular landmark, standing tall, right in the heart of the town; thus, adds grace to the tranquility of the town.

The Garrison city of Abbottabad lies in the foothills of the mighty Himalayas. It is a small, but most valuable city in the entire mountainous belt of Harripur, Hazara in the North of Khyber Pakhtunkhawa Province under the pastoral and Episcopal care of the Diocese of Peshawar, Church of Pakistan. In addition the famous Silk Route journey starts from Abbottabad, as it is situated on the cross-roads towards all the hill stations/cities in the region, including Kashmir leading to China.

Read it all.

Filed under: * Anglican - Episcopal* Christian Life / Church LifeParish Ministry* International News & CommentaryAsiaPakistan

0 Comments
Posted May 15, 2011 at 5:30 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

The goal of the new logic is clear: it is to bring the accused before a competent court. Anything else would not be mere attainder. How much that goal may have shaped the planning and execution of the Abbottabad operation is not clear, but if it did so we should not refer to the raid as an “assassination.” We have been told that the assault team was ready to recover its target alive if that should prove possible. If military arrest meets resistance, of course, military necessity requires it to be forcibly overcome, and if that costs the target’s life, the loss may be proportionate to the evil of leaving him at large. That the target was personally unarmed in this case need not be decisive if he was effectively defended by others, though how much resistance was actually offered has still not been made clear. Can this serve as an explanation of what happened? Perhaps. Yet on this account we might have expected to hear a word not very much used in recent days: it was surely a failed mission!

Christian citizens need not expect, and should not pretend to, total certainty about the rights and wrongs of this or any other public act. It is no part of God’s plan for their holiness or for their service of the neighbor that they must be all-knowing about the morality of what others have done, even when it is done in the name of the political community. Christians can be useful citizens, though, by being rather fussy about the justifications and explanations offered by political actors for their consumption and approval. Faced with extraordinary actions, they may demand thorough and coherent explanations on morally serious and law-regarding grounds. For myself, I am left thinking that whatever good account there is to be given of why bin Laden was killed, it has yet to be fully made public.

Read it all.

Filed under: * Economics, PoliticsDefense, National Security, MilitaryTerrorism* International News & CommentaryAmerica/U.S.A.AsiaPakistan* TheologyEthics / Moral Theology

3 Comments
Posted May 12, 2011 at 3:30 pm [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

So Osama bin Laden was living in a specially built villa in Pakistan. I wonder where he got the money to buy it? Cashed in his Saudi 401(k)? A Pakistani subprime mortgage, perhaps? No. I suspect we will find that it all came from the same place most of Al Qaeda’s funds come from: some combination of private Saudi donations spent under the watchful eye of the Pakistani Army.

Why should we care? Because this is the heart of the matter; that’s why. It was both just and strategically vital that we killed Bin Laden, who inspired 9/11. I just wish it were as easy to eliminate the two bad bargains that really made that attack possible, funded it and provided the key plotters and foot soldiers who carried it out. We are talking about the ruling bargains in Saudi Arabia and Pakistan, which are alive and well.

Read it all.

Filed under: * Economics, PoliticsForeign RelationsPolitics in GeneralTerrorism* International News & CommentaryAmerica/U.S.A.AsiaPakistanMiddle EastSaudi Arabia

1 Comments
Posted May 11, 2011 at 11:29 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

Pakistani PM Yusuf Raza Gilani is to make a statement in parliament about the US special forces raid which led to the death of Osama Bin Laden last week.

The address comes amid questions about how the al-Qaeda leader was able to live apparently undetected in the town of Abbottabad near the capital.

On Sunday, US President Barack Obama called on Pakistan to investigate the network that sustained Bin Laden.

Read it all.

Filed under: * Economics, PoliticsDefense, National Security, MilitaryForeign RelationsPolitics in GeneralOffice of the PresidentPresident Barack ObamaTerrorism* International News & CommentaryAmerica/U.S.A.AsiaPakistan

1 Comments
Posted May 9, 2011 at 5:48 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

My son, Marine Lance Cpl. Justin Wilson, was killed in Afghanistan just over a year ago.So the death of Osama bin Laden is personal and bittersweet.Just knowing that he cannot hurt another soul brings me peace, but at the same time, I can’t help being sad that so many good people had to die to rid the world of this monster.

It doesn’t bring my son back, but it is a landmark event in the battle against terrorism to which he committed his life and for which he gave his life. Justin believed we were winning this war, but the progress he saw was harder to see across the distance of an ocean.The death of bin Laden is progress that the entire world recognizes.

Osama bin Laden played a role in shaping Justin’s patriotism.He was 15 on Sept. 11, 2001, and we lived on Long Island, N.Y., then. The events of Sept. 11 inspired Justin’s commitment to serve his country. He was part of the post-9/11 generation who believed that they could serve their country best by joining the military and defending the nation against foreign terrorists.Some, like Justin, have made the ultimate commitment, risking and losing their lives in the battle to defeat terrorism.I have heard from some of Justin’s fellow Marines and their families this week.Like me, they feel that bin Laden’s death reminds the world that their dedication and sacrifice in this long fight against terrorism is worthwhile.

Read it all.

Filed under: * Christian Life / Church LifeParish MinistryDeath / Burial / Funerals* Culture-WatchChildrenMarriage & FamilyWomen* Economics, PoliticsDefense, National Security, MilitaryTerrorismWar in Afghanistan* International News & CommentaryAsiaPakistan

2 Comments
Posted May 9, 2011 at 5:25 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

On 1 May, US Navy SEAL commandos assaulted the al-Qaeda leader’s walled compound in Abbottabad and killed bin Laden in a gun battle. While speculation that bin Laden was hiding in Pakistan had been rife for several years, most experts believed he was holed up in the rugged tribal areas near the border with Afghanistan, not in a former British hill station living in a luxury compound.

“The world would not wish Osama was alive,” Bishop Julius Kalu of Mombasa told reporters after bin Laden’s death was announced by US President Barack Obama. “We hope this is the first step to wiping out terrorism,” the Bishop said.

The killing of the terrorist leader has led to heightened security round the world. In Nairobi, scene of a 1998 al-Qaeda attack, security around government buildings and commercial centres has been raised and police spot checks introduced.

Read it all.

Filed under: * Anglican - Episcopal* Economics, PoliticsDefense, National Security, MilitaryTerrorism* International News & CommentaryAsiaPakistan

0 Comments
Posted May 6, 2011 at 8:01 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

U.S. and European intelligence officials increasingly believe active or retired Pakistani military or intelligence officials provided some measure of aid to al Qaeda leader Osama bin Laden, allowing him to stay hidden in a large compound just a mile from an elite military academy.

The suspicions cast light on where the U.S. is expected to focus as it investigates who might have helped bin Laden hide in plain sight in Abbottabad, a town about 40 miles from the capital Islamabad.

Read it all.

Filed under: * Economics, PoliticsDefense, National Security, MilitaryForeign RelationsTerrorism* International News & CommentaryAmerica/U.S.A.AsiaPakistan

10 Comments
Posted May 5, 2011 at 6:29 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

Before the president's announcement, it was reported that Secretary of State Hillary Clinton and Defence Secretary Robert Gates were advising him not to.

They fear that the photos might make the US look like it is revelling in Bin Laden's death, and spark reprisals in the Arab world.

That's a view expressed by one of the people who has seen the photos, Republican Mike Rogers, chairman of the House Intelligence Committee. He's worried their release could endanger US troops.

Read it all.

Filed under: * Economics, PoliticsDefense, National Security, MilitaryForeign RelationsPolitics in GeneralOffice of the PresidentPresident Barack ObamaTerrorism* International News & CommentaryAsiaPakistan

26 Comments
Posted May 4, 2011 at 6:19 pm [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

These are some of the thoughts I wrote down ten years ago:

If Osama bin Laden is killed, instead of celebrating in the streets, we should greet the news with:

--Solemn thanksgiving to God alone
--Awe that such a monstrously wicked mind was among us and is now gone
--Repentance for the state of the world that such a killing should be necessary
--Sober awareness of the power of Death over us all
--Certainty that each one of us, no less than bin Laden, will come before the throne of judgment of our righteous God
--Recognition that although this appeared to be necessary, it is an unhappy business that God has given to the sons of men to be busy with (Ecclesiastes)
--and finally, a sober understanding that Sauron will rise again.

Read it all.

Filed under: * Christian Life / Church LifeParish MinistryDeath / Burial / Funerals* Economics, PoliticsDefense, National Security, MilitaryTerrorism* International News & CommentaryAsiaPakistan* TheologyAnthropologyEschatologyPastoral Theology

1 Comments
Posted May 4, 2011 at 4:17 pm [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

Go here then click on the "Latest programme in full" link to launch the audio player. It starts at about 1:49 in, and lasts about 2 minutes. Bishop James references Augustine, the challenge of understanding evil, and the Easter season.

Filed under: * Anglican - EpiscopalAnglican ProvincesChurch of England (CoE)CoE Bishops* Christian Life / Church LifeParish MinistryDeath / Burial / Funerals* Economics, PoliticsTerrorism* International News & CommentaryAsiaPakistan* TheologyTheodicy

0 Comments
Posted May 4, 2011 at 6:57 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

[Osama] bin Laden was for some time largely neutralized as an operative force for terror, yet he has symbolically represented much worse than the damage he personally has been able to cause: namely, a willingness to put aside all moral norms of justice, charity, honesty, and decency in service of a cause he deeply believed in.

There are two victories, then, in this mission: one over bin Laden as a threat to our safety and security, and one over bin Laden as the face of moral fanaticism. This second victory can only be sustained, however, if we refuse the temptation of joining bin Laden by being willing to do anything in service of our ends. Our success, significant though it is, cannot become for us the measure against which all that has been done these past ten years is to be measured.

Read it all.

Filed under: * Christian Life / Church LifeParish MinistryDeath / Burial / Funerals* Economics, PoliticsDefense, National Security, MilitaryTerrorism* International News & CommentaryAsiaPakistan* TheologyEthics / Moral Theology

0 Comments
Posted May 4, 2011 at 5:45 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

China on Tuesday stood by its ally Pakistan amid growing questions in the U.S. about whether the country was complicit in harboring Osama bin Laden, the al Qaeda leader killed in a sprawling mansion in a garrison city close to Islamabad.

Meanwhile, an outpouring of discussion on the Chinese Internet revealed mixed views of bin Laden. Many users said the world was safer following his killing while others—including some prominent social and political commentators—expressed sympathy, and even respect, for the mastermind of the World Trade Center attacks.

After hailing bin Laden's death as a "positive development in the international struggle against terrorism," the Foreign Ministry on Tuesday swung to the defense of Pakistan.

Read it all.

Filed under: * Economics, PoliticsDefense, National Security, MilitaryForeign RelationsTerrorism* International News & CommentaryAmerica/U.S.A.AsiaChinaPakistan

3 Comments
Posted May 4, 2011 at 5:15 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

Osama bin Laden's death is, at the very least, a major psychological victory in the war on terror this nation has been waging for nearly a decade since 9/11. It is potentially a turning point in America's difficult relations with Pakistan and Afghanistan.

It is also the result of impressive intelligence and military teamwork -- and the willingness of President Barack Obama to take the risk that the mission might fail.

Read it all.

Filed under: * Christian Life / Church LifeParish MinistryDeath / Burial / Funerals* Economics, PoliticsDefense, National Security, MilitaryTerrorism* International News & CommentaryAsiaPakistan

0 Comments
Posted May 4, 2011 at 5:00 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

In his first interview since commanding the mission to kill Osama bin Laden, CIA chief Leon Panetta tells TIME that U.S. officials feared that Pakistan could have undermined the operation by leaking word to its targets. Long before Panetta ordered Vice Admiral William McRaven, head of the Joint Special Forces Command, to undertake the mission at 1:22 p.m. on Friday, the CIA had been gaming out how to structure the raid. Months prior, the U.S. had considered expanding the assault to include coordination with other countries, notably Pakistan. But the CIA ruled out participating with its nominal South Asian ally early on because “it was decided that any effort to work with the Pakistanis could jeopardize the mission. They might alert the targets,” Panetta says.

Read it all.

Filed under: * Economics, PoliticsDefense, National Security, MilitaryForeign RelationsTerrorism* International News & CommentaryAsiaPakistan

0 Comments
Posted May 3, 2011 at 6:12 pm [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

Muslim, Christian and Jewish leaders greeted the news of the death of al-Qaida leader Osama bin Laden with varying degrees of relief, regret and caution.

Considered the mastermind of the September 11, 2001, attacks on the World Trade Center in New York and the Pentagon in Washington, D.C. that killed nearly 3,000 people, bin Laden was killed by United States forces in Pakistan, U.S. President Barack Obama announced on May 1.

Some Muslim groups welcomed the news, with several stressing that bin Laden did not represent the values of Islam. “We hope his death will bring some relief to all the families of every faith and walk of life who lost loved ones on 9/11 and in every other terrorist attack orchestrated at the hands of Osama bin Laden,” the Islamic Society of North America said in a news release.

Read it all.

Filed under: * Culture-WatchReligion & Culture* Economics, PoliticsDefense, National Security, MilitaryTerrorism* International News & CommentaryAsiaPakistan* Religion News & CommentaryOther ChurchesOther FaithsIslamJudaism

2 Comments
Posted May 3, 2011 at 3:49 pm [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

Pakistan criticized the American raid that killed Osama bin Laden as an "unauthorized unilateral action" and warned Washington on Tuesday not to launch similar operations in the future.

The comments laid bare the tensions triggered by Monday's attack, which came at time when U.S.-Pakistani ties were already near rock bottom.

Read it all.

Filed under: * Economics, PoliticsForeign RelationsTerrorism* International News & CommentaryAmerica/U.S.A.AsiaPakistan

34 Comments
Posted May 3, 2011 at 11:30 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

Schools and Christian institutions closed, churches and Christian areas guarded with utmost security measures, this is the situation that the Christian community recorded in the main city in Pakistan after the news of the killing of Osama Bin Laden. The leader of Al Qaeda was killed yesterday by American special forces in a military operation in Abbottabad, around 60 km from Islamabad.

Local Fides sources report that even civil authorities have provided such security measures at Islamabad, Lahore, Karachi, Multan and other cities, because they fear violent attacks against Christian targets and reactions by the Taliban groups.

Read it all.

Filed under: * Culture-WatchLaw & Legal IssuesReligion & CultureViolence* Economics, PoliticsPolitics in GeneralTerrorism* International News & CommentaryAsiaPakistan* Religion News & CommentaryOther Churches

0 Comments
Posted May 3, 2011 at 7:33 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

There are multiple reasons to celebrate the death of Osama bin Laden in a U.S. special forces raid Sunday. Al-Qaeda has lost its founder and symbol, if not its operational commander. The prime author of the attacks of Sept. 11, 2001, has finally been brought to justice. Moreover, the world has seen a formidable show of prowess by U.S. intelligence and military forces. The bin Laden compound was located not by a stroke of luck or a drone overflight, but by years of painstaking intelligence gathering — some of which, unfortunately, may have come in the unlawful interrogation of prisoners at CIA “black sites.” The final raid by helicopter-borne Navy SEALs appears to have been masterfully executed, with no U.S. casualties, a feat that may banish some memories of the failed 1980 hostage rescue mission in Iran.

President Obama, who closely oversaw preparations for the attack, was rightly credited by all sides in Washington for seeing it through; the operation provided a rare moment of common celebration and relief in a divided America.

But the practical importance of the strike may not match its political and moral resonance....

Read it all.

Filed under: * Economics, PoliticsDefense, National Security, MilitaryForeign RelationsTerrorism* International News & CommentaryAmerica/U.S.A.AsiaPakistan

1 Comments
Posted May 3, 2011 at 6:45 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

The fact that Osama Bin Laden has apparently been living for years under the nose of the Pakistan military also revives the question that has increasingly dogged the US-led coalition in Afghanistan: Why are we still fighting in Afghanistan when it is Pakistan from where the Taliban insurgency is being directed?

Both the Pakistanis and the US have said Pakistan was not given advance notice of the raid.

The official Pakistan response was low-key, saying only that Osama Bin Laden's death "constitutes a major setback to terrorist organizations around the world".

Read it all.

Filed under: * Economics, PoliticsDefense, National Security, MilitaryForeign RelationsTerrorism* International News & CommentaryAmerica/U.S.A.AsiaPakistan

0 Comments
Posted May 2, 2011 at 7:13 pm [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

Wow.

Filed under: * Economics, PoliticsDefense, National Security, MilitaryPolitics in GeneralOffice of the PresidentPresident Barack Obama* International News & CommentaryAsiaPakistan

9 Comments
Posted May 2, 2011 at 7:03 pm [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

Read the tweets here--fascinating.

A Pakistani computer programmer, startled by helicopters, took to Twitter to complain about the noise Sunday -- but inadvertently gave a play-by-play of the high-stakes capture of the world’s most-wanted man.

Read it all.

Filed under: * Culture-WatchBlogging & the Internet--Social NetworkingScience & Technology* Economics, PoliticsDefense, National Security, Military* International News & CommentaryAsiaPakistan

0 Comments
Posted May 2, 2011 at 7:01 pm [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

Everything we saw -- the extremely elaborate operational security, the brothers’ background and their behavior, and the location and the design of the compound itself was perfectly consistent with what our experts expected bin Laden’s hideout to look like. Keep in mind that two of bin Laden’s gatekeepers, Khalid Sheikh Mohammed and Abu Faraj al-Libbi, were arrested in the settled areas of Pakistan.

Our analysts looked at this from every angle, considering carefully who other than bin Laden could be at the compound. We conducted red team exercises and other forms of alternative analysis to check our work. No other candidate fit the bill as well as bin Laden did.

So the final conclusion, from an intelligence standpoint, was twofold. We had high confidence that a high-value target was being harbored by the brothers on the compound, and we assessed that there was a strong probability that that person was Osama bin Laden.

Read it all.

Filed under: * Culture-WatchMedia* Economics, PoliticsDefense, National Security, MilitaryTerrorism* International News & CommentaryAsiaPakistan

2 Comments
Posted May 2, 2011 at 11:25 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]




Return to blog homepage

Return to Mobile view (headlines)