Mozambique: the hidden war
by Maria Lozano.

“It is important to know what is happening – 52 young people were massacred on 7 April for refusing to join the insurgents.”

The Sahel: A briefing  - A context to resurgent Islamic fundamentalism and terrorism in sub-Saharan Africa

As part of our mission is to share information about the suffering Church and persecuted Christians. Aid to the Church in Need International in April 2020 has released this briefing written by Mark von Riedemann, Director of Public Affairs and Religious Freedom. You can read the report here.

220px Sub Saharan Africa with borders

 

Istanbul: Could the former cathedral of Hagia Sophia become a mosque?

by Christophe Lafontaine.

The great cathedral of Hagia Sophia in Istanbul, Turkey, was once the centre of Eastern Orthodoxy, before being transformed into a mosque, and then a museum. On 23 March this year the Muslim call to prayer was once again heard in this former byzantine cathedral, a building which has been officially secular since 1934. The first time that such an event happened in recent history was on 3 July 2016, after an interval of 85 years.

In order to decipher the motivation behind this incident, the international Catholic pastoral charity and pontifical foundation Aid to the Church in Need (ACN International) spoke to Etienne Copeaux, a historian of modern Turkey. As a former fellow of the French Institute of Anatolian studies (Institut français d'études anatoliennes) in Istanbul and a former researcher of the CNRS (Centre national de la recherche scientifique), he currently hosts the blog Susam-Sosak, which is devoted entirely to Turkey. He was interviewed by Christophe Lafontaine.

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Hagia Sophia in Istanbul - Exterior picture. Photographer: Christophe Lafontaine. Copyright: Aid to the Church in Need.

In Nigeria, a priest reflects on the deadly Fulani attacks in light of Easter season

by Adie Vanessa Offiong

In the first two months of 2020, Fulani herdsmen killed 350 Christians in Nigeria, according to research by the Nigeria-based International Society for Civil Liberties and Rule of Law.

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Father Samuel Aseer Aluga, is a Via Christi Society priest who serves in the Diocese of Lafia, Nasarawa State, Nigeria. Copyright: Aid to the Church in Need.

The US-based human-rights advocacy group International Committee on Nigeria has reported that extremist Fulani herdsmen (traditionally Muslims) are responsible for 17,000 deaths between 2015 and 2020, with the great majority of victims being Christian farmers in the country’s Middle Belt region. Unlike Boko Haram, which is also still active in the country with the goal of creating a caliphate, “Fulani militants have very localized objectives, mainly that of better access to pasture for livestock," according to the Global Terrorism Index. The resulting land conflicts have taken on an ethnic and religious character, as the farmers who have had their land stolen are predominantly Christian.

Northern Syria: Between War Planes and Coronavirus

Interview with Mgrs. Nidal Thomas by Maria Lozano: “We are not afraid, but we don’t know what the future holds for us.” 

Before the war more than 20,000 Christian families lived in the Al-Jazeera region, on the border with Turkey in east-northern Syria. Many of them are the descendants of those who came seeking refuge fleeing the genocide of the Armenians in 1915 or Kurdish attacks in the neighboring Iraqi area of ​​Duhok in 1933. Today, although it is difficult to give figures because a census has not been conducted, an estimated 7,000 - 8,000 families remain.

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Icon peregrination with Our Lady of Sorrows “Consoler of the Syrian people" in Syria
Jesus the King Chaldean Church in Al-Hassakeh on March 15th, 2020. Copyright: Aid to the Church in Need.

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