Former head of Vatican bank found guilty of embezzlement

A former head of the Vatican bank, Angelo Caloia, has been found guilty of embezzlement and money laundering and sentenced to eight years and 11 months in prison, making him the highest-ranking Vatican official to be convicted of a financial crime. The Vatican court on Thursday also convicted Gabriele Liuzzo, 97, and his son Lamberto Liuzzo, 55, both Italian lawyers who were consultants to the bank. Caloia led the bank, officially known as the Institute for the Works of Religion (IOR), from 1989 to 2009, the 81-year-old Italian was tried over corrupt real estate deals. He was accused of conspiring … Continue reading Former head of Vatican bank found guilty of embezzlement

Pakistan fires 12 police officers for not protecting Hindu temple

Pakistani authorities have sacked a local police chief and 11 other policemen for failing to protect a Hindu temple that was set on fire and demolished last month by a mob led by hundreds of supporters of a religious party, police said. The 12 policemen were fired on Thursday over acts of “cowardice, irresponsibility and negligence” for not trying to stop the mob when it attacked the temple, with some having fled the scene. The regional government in northwestern Khyber Pakhtunkhwa also suspended 33 other police officers for a year as punishment, provincial police chief Sanaullah Abbasi said. The punishments come … Continue reading Pakistan fires 12 police officers for not protecting Hindu temple

Mob attacks and sets fire to Hindu temple in Pakistan

Hundreds of Muslims attacked and set fire to a Hindu temple in northwest Pakistan on Wednesday, police and witnesses said, videos circulating on social media showed men using hammers to damage the temple walls as thick grey smoke rose from the site. The incident took place in a remote village in Karak district, some 100km (62 miles) southeast of Peshawar, the capital of the northwestern province of Khyber Pakthunkhwa. “A charged mob of some 1,000 to 1,200 people were incited by the local Muslim clerics to destroy the Hindu temple,” district police chief Irfanullah Khan told the AFP news agency. … Continue reading Mob attacks and sets fire to Hindu temple in Pakistan

Indian priest and nun jailed for murder of convent sister

A Catholic priest and nun have been sentenced to life in prison for the killing of another member of their convent in India nearly 30 years ago. Father Thomas Kottoor and Sister Sephy were convicted on Tuesday of murdering 21-year-old Sister Abhaya in 1992, and destroying evidence of the killing. The pair killed her after she came across them engaged in illicit sexual activity, local police originally thought the young nun had taken her own life, but further investigations were launched following suspicions about her death from family and campaigners. Sephy, 55, has not publicly commented on the ruling, but … Continue reading Indian priest and nun jailed for murder of convent sister

US adds Nigeria to blacklist for violations of religious freedom

The United States on Monday placed Nigeria for the first time on a religious freedom blacklist, pressing an ally as Christian groups voice growing insecurity. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo designated Nigeria as a “Country of Particular Concern” for religious freedom, the rare inclusion of a fellow democracy in the US effort to shame nations into action. “These annual designations show that when religious freedom is attacked, we will act,” Pompeo, an evangelical Christian, wrote on Twitter. Nigeria maintains a delicate balance between Muslims and Christians, but church groups have expressed their rising concerns to the United States. US law requires designations … Continue reading US adds Nigeria to blacklist for violations of religious freedom

India Muslim man arrested under ‘love jihad law’

Police in India’s Uttar Pradesh state have arrested a Muslim man for allegedly trying to convert a Hindu woman to Islam, he’s the first to be arrested under a new anti-conversion law that targets “love jihad” a term radical Hindu groups use to accuse Muslim men of converting Hindu women by marriage. The law has prompted outrage, with critics calling it Islamophobic, at least four other Indian states are drafting laws against “love jihad”. Police in Uttar Pradesh’s Bareilly district confirmed the arrest on Twitter on Wednesday. A complaint filed by the woman’s father last week accused the man of … Continue reading India Muslim man arrested under ‘love jihad law’

Update: Self-proclaimed ‘prophet’ hands himself over to Malawi police

A self-proclaimed “prophet” and controversial millionaire has been arrested in Malawi after handing himself over to police following his mysterious return from South Africa, where he was on trial for fraud and money laundering charges. The incident last week has threatened a diplomatic rift between the two southern African countries, with Pretoria reportedly furious that Shepherd Bushiri and his wife had managed to leave the country while out on bail. “The couple is indeed in our custody, currently we are taking statements from the Bushiris, we will then take them to courts,” Malawi police spokesperson James Kadadzera told DPA news … Continue reading Update: Self-proclaimed ‘prophet’ hands himself over to Malawi police

Update: South Africa issues arrest warrant for fugitive Malawi prophet

South Africa has issued an arrest warrant for a controversial millionaire preacher who faces fraud charges after he fled to his native country, Malawi, in breach of strict bail conditions, police said, Shepherd Bushiri, a self-proclaimed prophet known for his “miracles” and wildly extravagant lifestyle, was granted bail in South Africa where he lives, in a case of alleged fraud and money laundering, he is co-accused along with his wife, Mary Bushiri. “A warrant of arrest has been issued this morning by the Pretoria magistrates court for the two fugitives,” Katlego Mogale, acting spokeswoman for the elite police unit known … Continue reading Update: South Africa issues arrest warrant for fugitive Malawi prophet

Prophet wanted for fraud flees to Malawi from South Africa

Controversial millionaire preacher Shepherd Bushiri, out on bail in South Africa in a case of alleged fraud and money laundering, has fled to his native Malawi, the self-proclaimed prophet is known for his “miracles” and wildly extravagant lifestyle and has made huge investments in the mining, telecommunications and luxury sectors. He was arrested for alleged fraud and money laundering in October in a multimillion-dollar case but got bail on November, his wealth comes from donations from followers of his Enlightened Christian Gathering church in the South African capital, Pretoria. Bushiri and his wife, Mary, were granted bail on condition that … Continue reading Prophet wanted for fraud flees to Malawi from South Africa

Belgium expels Danish right-wing activists over plot to burn Koran

Belgium has expelled five Danish far-right activists and banned them for a year over their plans to burn a Koran in a mainly-Muslim area of Brussels, Secretary of State for Asylum Sammy Mahdi called them “a serious threat to public order”, according to their Facebook page, the five are associates of the Danish far-right politician Rasmus Paludan. Paludan was expelled from France on Wednesday after signaling his intention to burn a Koran in Paris, earlier this year, he was jailed for a month in Denmark for a string of offences including posting anti-Islam videos on the social media channels of … Continue reading Belgium expels Danish right-wing activists over plot to burn Koran

Vatican defends handling of McCarrick case in abuse scandal

A Vatican report has found that two recent popes and Church officials ignored allegations about a US cardinal later found guilty of sex abuse, Theodore McCarrick a former archbishop of Washington DC, was expelled from the priesthood after the Vatican concluded it’s investigation last year. Mr McCarrick served as archbishop of Washington DC from 2001 to 2006. It has now issued a report into how he was able to rise through the ranks, despite allegations going back decades, it argues that credible evidence only surfaced in 2017, the current Pope, Francis, then ordered the investigation and last year Mr McCarrick, … Continue reading Vatican defends handling of McCarrick case in abuse scandal

Police in Pakistan recover teen girl after alleged forced conversion and marriage

A 13-year-old Christian girl in Pakistan who was allegedly abducted and forced to convert and marry a Muslim man has been rescued, officials said. The recovery of the girl came nearly a month after the girl’s parents alleged that she was abducted by Ali Azhar, 44. The courts had failed to act earlier because they accepted statements the girl gave saying she was 18 and had married of her own free will, but pressure from campaign groups and a public outcry prompted action. Leaders from the Catholic Church in Pakistan and human rights groups demanded that the court ruling be … Continue reading Police in Pakistan recover teen girl after alleged forced conversion and marriage