Posts Tagged ‘Catholic Church’

Vatican Worries About ‘Forcibly Removed’ Bishop in China — Beijing Government Has Apparently Detained Bishop Peter Shao Zhumin — “Communism is a terrible totalitarian regime and people who haven’t experienced that find difficulty to understand that.”

June 26, 2017

VATICAN CITY — The Vatican is expressing “grave concern” for a Chinese bishop who it says was “forcibly removed” from his office several weeks ago.

The Holy See in a statement Monday said neither Catholics in Wenzhou diocese nor the prelate’s relatives know where or why Bishop Peter Shao Zhumin was taken.

Image result for Bishop Peter Shao Zhumin, photos

Bishop Peter ShaoZhumin

The Vatican recognizes Shao’s appointment as bishop; Chinese authorities don’t.

The Catholic church and the ruling Communist authorities of China have wrestled for decades over Vatican insistence only the pope can appoint bishops.

Last week, a Vatican-affiliated missionary news service said Shao’s disappearance is believed to be part of an attempt to persuade him to join the Communist-controlled Chinese Catholic Patriotic Association church.

The Vatican, saying it’s “profoundly saddened” by Shao’s case and “other similar episodes,” expressed hope he’ll return quickly.

Related:

“Communism is a terrible totalitarian regime and people who haven’t experienced that find difficulty to understand that.” — Catholic Cardinal Joseph Zen

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Catholic Cardinal Joseph Zen

A crane winching a large red cross from one Guantou’s three domes

A crane winches a large red cross from one of three domes on the Guantou church in Wenzhou
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Officials in eastern China must abandon plans to demolish churches and crosses and stop their

Parishioners line up outside the Sanjiang church in Wenzhou hoping to save it from demolition by the Chinese Communist government. China destroyed the church anyway: but the massive showing of government defiance startled the Communist government.  Photo: Tom Phillips

Four bulldozers started demolishing Sanjiang church in Wenzhou on Monday, after six weeks of protests

Four bulldozers started demolishing Sanjiang church in Wenzhou after six weeks of protests

 — No room for Jesus?

 (May 2015)

China’s Catholics: ‘Rome may betray us, but I won’t join a Church which is controlled by the Communist Party’
http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/2016/04/03/chinas-catholics-rome-may-betray-us-but-i-wont-join-a-church-whi/

 (From 2014)

 (The Dalai Lama is considered an outlaw to the Communist Chinese government)

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Francis Xavier Nguyen Van Thuan

Fighting kills more than 3,000 in Congo’s Kasai region: Catholic church

June 20, 2017

Reuters

Congolese security forces and a militia fighting them have killed at least 3,383 people in the central Kasai region since October, the Catholic church said on Tuesday, in the most detailed report to date on the violence.

Church officials, citing their own sources in the remote territory bordering Angola, said the army had destroyed 10 villages as it sought to stamp out an insurrection.

They also accused the Kamuina Nsapu militia of killing hundreds of people, destroying four villages and attacking church property in a campaign to drive out central government troops.

No one was immediately available to comment from the militia or Democratic Republic of Congo’s army, which has dismissed accusations of excessive force in the past.

The clashes have triggered fears of a wider conflict in the central African giant, a tinderbox of ethnic rivalry and competing claims over mineral resources. Wars at the turn of the century killed millions and sucked in neighbouring countries.

The church’s report will carry considerable weight in a country where about 40 percent of the population identifies as Catholic.

Fighting surged in Kasai in August when the army killed a chief who had been calling for central government forces to quit the region, saying it should be left to local leaders.

The violence has stoked political tensions already heightened by President Joseph Kabila’s decision to stay in power beyond the December 2016 end of his mandate. Kasai is an opposition stronghold.

The U.N. Human Rights Council in Geneva is due to decide this week whether to authorize an investigation into the Kasai violence. U.N. investigators say they have discovered 42 mass graves.

Congo’s government opposes an international investigation, saying that would violate its sovereignty.

The United Nations says more than 1.3 million people have fled the fighting.

(Reporting by Aaron Ross; Editing by Matthew Mpoke Bigg and Andrew Heavens)

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DR Congo Kasai conflict: ‘Thousands dead’ in violence

BBC News

A boy holds his teddy bear as he waits with other Internally Displaced Persons (IDP) for a daily food ration at a camp for people fleeing the conflict in the Kasai province on 7 June 2017 in Kikwit.
The UN has called for an investigation into the violence, which has left millions displaced. GETTY IMAGES

More than 3,300 people have been killed in the violence in the Democratic Republic of Congo’s Kasai region since last October, the Catholic Church says.

The figure, reported by Reuters, is from Church sources in the country.

The deaths are the result of clashes between the army and a rebel group, but civilians have also been caught up in the violence.

The UN has reported on the discovery of more than 20 mass graves but has put the death toll so far at about 400.

According to the church, 20 villages have been completely destroyed, half of them by government troops.

The UN human rights chief, Prince Zeid Ra’ad al-Hussein, said investigators in Kasai province had identified dozens of mass graves along with harrowing evidence of people being shot, burned or hacked to death.

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Zeid Ra’ad al-Hussein, UN High Commissioner for Human Rights. UN Photo by Jean Marc Ferré.

Atrocities were being carried out by the security forces and a government-backed militia, known as the Bana Mura, which was set up to help fight a rival group known as the Kamuina Nsapu, Prince Zeid said.

He added that local authorities had denied the UN access to information about what was happening in the region. The UN has said it has evidence that hundreds of villagers from the Luba and Lulua ethnic groups have been killed.

The UN Human Rights Council is likely to vote this week on whether to mandate an independent investigation into the violence following what the group’s commissioner described as horrific atrocities committed in Kasai province.

The Congolese authorities have said they would reject it.

More than a million people have been displaced in the region in the last year and aid workers say the humanitarian response on the ground has so far been inadequate.

Violence erupted in the once peaceful Kasai region last August, after the death of a local leader during fighting with security forces.

Pope: Basic Values Give Italy Cause to Hope Despite Woes — Talks About ‘Christianity at Work’

June 10, 2017

ROME — Pope Francis has paid a call on Italy’s president and encouraged Italians to cling to hope despite economic woes, especially the lack of jobs for young people.

Francis spoke of young Italians’ difficulties in finding “stable and dignified work,” saying that fuels “distrust in the future and doesn’t favor the birth of new families and children.” But he said holding to fundamental values of human and family dignity helps preserve hope.

President Sergio Mattarella and schoolchildren visiting from earthquake-devastated towns in central Italy greeted Francis. Francis, in his simple Ford car, had been driven across town from the Vatican midday Saturday morning, right past city buses and drawing waves from surprised tourists.

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(Vatican Radio) Pope Francis paid an official visit on Saturday to the President of Italy, Sergio Matarella at the Quirinale palace in Rome. During his visit he spoke of  “the Church in Italy as being strongly linked to the soul of the country.”

 

The last time Pope Francis visited the Quirinale, the residence of the President of Italy and of Popes of the past, was back in November 2013 during the Presidency of Giorgio Napolitano, but this time the Holy Father was paying a call on Sergio Mattarella, President of the Republic since 2015.

In the majestic surroundings of this historic palace Pope Francis in a speech to the President spoke about Christian hope in a world of problems and risks.

The Pope said that Italy and the whole of Europe were being called to deal with problems such as international terrorism, “the widespread migratory phenomenon and the serious and persistent social and economic imbalances in many areas of the world.”

As far as the vast and complex migratory phenomenon is concerned, Pope Francis commented that  “it is clear that a few nations cannot bear the full burden, adding, “for this reason, it is indispensable and urgent to develop a comprehensive and intensive international cooperation.”

But the Holy Father also noted that Italy, “through the generous nature of its citizens and the commitment of its institutions was working to transform these challenges into growth opportunities and new opportunities.

Pope Francis in particular highlighted the work being done by Italy to help refugees who land on its shores, and the commitment of volunteers and parishes especially during the earthquakes that hit Central Italy last year, highlighting that this was Christianity at work.

Another issue that the Pope returned to during his address was that of employment and he reiterated his call “for generating and accompanying processes that give rise to new decent working opportunities.”

To those gathered in the Quirinale the Holy Father stressed that “the Church in Italy is a vital reality, strongly linked to the soul of the country…”

In conclusion, Pope Francis said that “in the Catholic Church and in the principles of Christianity…, Italy will always find the best ally for the growth of society, for its concord and for its true progress.”

http://en.radiovaticana.va/news/2017/06/10/pope_francis_visits_italian_president_matarella_at_quirinale/1318116

26 Coptic Christians On Religious Pilgrimage Murdered in Egypt

May 26, 2017

At least 26 people killed in the assault in the central city of Minya

Mourners attend the funerals on April 10 of victims of the suicide bombing of a Coptic church in Tanta.

Mourners attend the funerals on April 10 of victims of the suicide bombing of a Coptic church in Tanta. PHOTO: AHMED GOMAA/ZUMA PRESS

CAIRO—Gunmen in three sport-utility vehicles ambushed and opened fire on a bus carrying Coptic Christian pilgrims to a monastery in central Egypt on Friday, killing at least 26 people and injuring 27 others, the Interior Ministry said.

There was no immediate claim of responsibility for the mass shooting in Minya province, the latest bloodshed in an unprecedented wave of violence against the country’s minority Christian community.

But suspicion fell immediately on the extremist group Islamic State, whose Egyptian affiliate, Sinai Peninsula, said it was behind the suicide bombings last month that rocked a Coptic church in Alexandria and another in Tanta in which at least 45 worshipers were killed.

Late Friday, Egyptian President Abdel Fattah Al Sisi convened an emergency meeting of national security officials to discuss the attack, which occurred as the bus stopped briefly along the road on its way to Minya’s St. Samuel monastery, about 190 miles south of the capital Cairo.

Following last month’s bombings, which were carried out as worshipers marked Palm Sunday, a major commemoration on the Christian calender, Mr. Sisi imposed a three-month state of emergency.

Sinai Province, has carried out hundreds of attacks on police and military personnel since 2014, mostly in the northern Sinai. It also claimed responsibility for the 2015 attack on a Russian airliner en route from the Red Sea resort of Sharm el-Sheik that killed all 224 crew and passengers aboard.

In December, it expanded its campaign to sow divisions in the country, vowing to step up attacks on Coptic Christians, who make up some 10% of the country’s 92 million people and constitute the largest community of Christians in the Middle East.

That promise came in a video in which it celebrated a suicide bombing in Cairo’s largest Coptic cathedral that killed at 24 people gathered for mass.

Since then, Coptic churches haven’t been the only targets: Hundreds of families have fled their homes in Sinai after extremists killed seven Coptic men and vowed to target others.

The wave of violence has provoked rare criticism of Mr. Sisi by Copts, who began accusing him after the December attack in Cairo of failing to fulfill his promise to protect the community.

Most Christians here supported Mr. Sisi’s takeover in a 2013 military coup, fearful of persecution under then-President Mohammed Morsi, a senior official of the Muslim Brotherhood and the nation’s first democratically elected president.

Minya, the pilgrims’ destination on Friday, has the largest population of Coptic Christians in the country, and has been the site of frequent attacks by Muslims for more than a decade.

Violence escalated there sharply in 2013, following the coup against Mr. Morsi. After Pope Tawadros II, the Coptic leader, appeared alongside Mr. Sisi during the public announcement of the coup, some of Mr. Morsi’s followers in Minya burned churches and attacked Christians, assuming they had supported it.

Informal reconciliation councils, established to dampen tensions, have routinely ruled in favor of Muslim parties. That has led to Coptic accusations of government discrimination.

Write to Tamer El-Ghobashy at tamer.el-ghobashy@wsj.com

https://www.wsj.com/articles/gunmen-in-egypt-attack-bus-carrying-coptic-christians-1495796748?tesla=y&mod=e2fb

Related:

 (Contains links to stories of previous violence by Muslims against Christians)

See also The Daily Mail:

Up to 10 masked attackers dressed in military uniforms stopped a bus in Minya province, 140 miles south of Cairo, as the group was heading towards Saint Samuel the Confessor Monastery in Maghagha to pray. Pictures have emerged purporting to show the aftermath of the shooting

Up to 10 masked attackers dressed in military uniforms stopped a bus in Minya province, 140 miles south of Cairo, as the group was heading towards Saint Samuel the Confessor Monastery in Maghagha to pray. Pictures have emerged purporting to show the aftermath of the shooting

Shocking pictures have started to emerge showing bodies covered with black sheets near the scene of the atrocity

Shocking pictures have started to emerge showing bodies covered with black sheets near the scene of the atrocity

Read more: http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-4544554/23-shot-dead-bus-carrying-Coptic-Christians-Egypt.html#ixzz4iCDaNc3A
Follow us: @MailOnline on Twitter | DailyMail on Facebook

Muslim Gunmen Kill 23 Coptic Christians in Latest Egypt Attack — “How Much More Must We Turn The Other Cheek?”

May 26, 2017

RT (Russia Today)

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Saint Samuel the Confessor monastery, Egypt

Gunmen opened fire on a bus carrying Coptic Christians in Minya, Egypt on Friday, killing at least 23 and injuring 25.

The attack happened as the victims traveled from Beni Suef province to the Anba Samuel monastery near the southern city of Minya, according to local security sources, cited by Haaretz.

The provincial governor, Essam al-Bedaiwy, confirmed the preliminary death toll, reports Reuters.

Ambulances dispatched from the cities of Beni Suef and Minya are transporting victims to local hospitals in Adwa, Minya, Maghagha, according to local news outlet Youm7.

It’s the latest attack targeting Coptic Christians in Egypt since twin suicide bombings in Tanta and Alexandria killed at least 44 people and injured more than 118 on Easter Sunday, April 9. Islamic State (IS, formerly ISIS/ISIL) claimed responsibility for the attacks.

DETAILS TO FOLLOW.

https://www.rt.com/news/389798-egypt-coptic-christians-killed/

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© Mohamed El-Shahed / AFP (file photo) | Members of the Egyptian police special forces stand guard on Cairo’s landmark Tahrir Square on January 25, 2016.

Relatives of a Christian woman who was killed in the bombing of Cairo's main Coptic cathedral carry her casked in Cairo on Monday.
Relatives of a Christian woman who was killed in the bombing of Cairo’s main Coptic cathedral carry her casked in Cairo on December 14, 2016.PHOTO: REUTERS
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Members of the special police forces stand guard to secure the area around St. Mark"s Coptic Orthodox Cathedral after an explosion inside the cathedral in Cairo

The building bombed in December 2016 is next to St Mark’s Coptic Cathedral, seat of the church’s pope. Reuters Photo

A Christian employee at Cairo's Coptic Cathedral checks for damage from the blast after an explosion inside the cathedral in Cairo

The interior of the church, where Christians had gathered, was also hit in the explosion. AP photo

Image result for Reina nightclub attack, photos

Islamist gunman Abdulgadir Masharipov killed 39 people  in the Reina nightclub shooting on January 1, 2017, in Istanbul. © Dogan News Agency/AFP/File

 (December 11, 2016)

David Dosha, the priest of the Church of Mart Shmoni, located in the Christian Iraqi town of Bartella. (Safin Hamed/Agence France-Presse via Getty Images)

An Iraqi Christian forces member lights a candle at the Church of the Immaculate Conception on October 30, 2016 in the town of Qaraqosh (also known as Hamdaniya), 30 kms east of Mosul, after Iraqi forces recaptured it from Islamic State (IS) group jihadists. (AFP/ SAFIN HAMED)
An Iraqi Christian forces member lights a candle at the Church of the Immaculate Conception on October 30, 2016 in the town of Qaraqosh (also known as Hamdaniya), 30 kms east of Mosul, after Iraqi forces recaptured it from Islamic State (IS) group jihadists. (AFP/ SAFIN HAMED)
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26 July 2016
A photo of Priest Jacques Hamel taken from the website of Saint-Etienne-du-Rouvray parish84 year-old Father Jacques Hamel was giving morning Mass when the Islamist attackers stormed his church. AFP

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The Isis jihadist group

Brazilian boy’s survival of brain injury is Fatima’s ‘miracle’

May 13, 2017
/ 12:27 AM May 13, 2017
An undated handout picture released May 9 by Santuari de Fatima shows (from left) Lucia, Francisco and Jacinta Marto. The three shepherds claimed to witness the apparation of the Virgin Mary in Fatima, Portugal, on May 13, 1917. —AFP

An undated handout picture released May 9 by Santuari de Fatima shows (from left) Lucia, Francisco and Jacinta Marto. The three shepherds claimed to witness the apparation of the Virgin Mary in Fatima, Portugal, on May 13, 1917. —AFP

FATIMA, Portugal — The parents of a Brazilian boy whose recovery from a severe brain injury is being cited by the Vatican as the “miracle” needed to canonize two Portuguese children broke their silence on Thursday to share the story.

Joao Batista and his wife, Lucila Yurie, appeared before reporters at the Catholic shrine in Fatima, Portugal, on the eve of Pope Francis’ arrival. Francis will commemorate the 100th anniversary of the so-called Fatima visions of the Virgin Mary by canonizing two of the three Portuguese children who experienced them.

The “miracle” required for the canonization concerns the case of little Lucas Batista, whose story has to date been shrouded in secrecy.

His father said on Thursday that in 2013, when Lucas was 5 years old, the boy fell 6.5 meters (21 feet) from a window at the family’s home in Brazil while playing with his infant sister, Eduarda.

The ambulance to the hospital took an hour, and when Lucas arrived he was in a coma and had suffered two heart attacks, Batista said. During emergency surgery, doctors diagnosed a severe traumatic brain injury and a “loss of brain material” from the child’s frontal lobe.

Doctors said Lucas had little chance of survival, and if he did live, would be severely mentally disabled or even in a vegetative state, the father recalled.

Batista said he and his wife, as well as Brazilian Carmelite nuns, prayed to the late shepherd children who said the Virgin Mary appeared to them in “visions” in 1917. Two of those children, siblings Francisco and Jacinta Marto, will become the Catholic Church’s youngest – ever nonmartyred saints on Saturday.

The third child, Lucia dos Santos, Francisco and Jacinta’s cousin, became a Carmelite nun. Efforts are underway to beatify her, too, but couldn’t begin until after she died in 2005.

Joao Batista, wearing a blue shirt and tie as he read a statement at the Fatima shrine and took occasionally pauses to compose himself, said doctors removed tubes from his son six days after Lucas’ fall.

“He was fine when he woke up, lucid, and started talking, asking for his little sister,” Batista said. After another six days, Lucas was released from the hospital.

“He’s completely fine … with no after-effects. Lucas is just like he was before the accident,” his father said. “The doctors … said they couldn’t explain his recovery.”

Journalists were not allowed to ask questions.

Sister Angela Coelho, the Portuguese postulator who led the project to canonize the shepherd children, said her office was informed of the Brazil story about three months after it happened.

She said officials had to wait and see whether the boy’s recovery was complete before presenting the case to the Vatican’s Congregation for the Causes of Saints. The recovery must be medically inexplicable.

“We thank God for Lucas’ cure and we know in all faith from our heart that this miracle was obtained with the help of the little shepherd children Francisco and Jacinta,” Batista said. “We feel immense joy to know that this was the miracle that led to this canonization, but mostly we feel blessed by the friendship of these two children that helped our boy and now help our family.”

Jacinta was 7 years old and Francisco 9 when they first witnessed the apparitions on May 13, 1917 along with their 10-year-old cousin. They both died two years later during the Spanish flu pandemic.

The Fatima basilica and the vast square in front of it, where some 1 million people are expected to attend the canonization Mass, were filling up with pilgrims on Thursday as rain fell. Huge images of the future saints hung from the sides of the basilica.

The Pontiff is due to arrive in Fatima on Friday afternoon. —AP

Read more: https://newsinfo.inquirer.net/896401/brazilian-boys-survival-of-brain-injury-is-fatimas-miracle#ixzz4gwR8Z22u
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Pope, in Egypt, Takes Aim at Violence Based on Religion

April 29, 2017

Trip comes in the wake of Palm Sunday church bombings in two cities

Pope Francis stands next to Sheikh Ahmed al-Tayeb, the Grand Imam of Al-Azhar [Andreas Solaro/AFP]
Pope Francis stands next to Sheikh Ahmed al-Tayeb, the Grand Imam of Al-Azhar [Andreas Solaro/AFP]
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In Egypt, Pope Condemns Religiously Inspired Violence
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Pope Francis issued one of his most extended condemnations yet of Islamist violence yet on Friday at Cairo’s Al-Alzhar University. Photo: Mohamed Abd El Ghany/Reuters

CAIRO— Pope Francis opened a two-day visit to Egypt Friday with a forceful denunciation of religiously inspired violence and a call for religious freedom, three weeks after Islamic State terrorists killed more than 40 people in bombings at two of the country’s Christian churches.

The pope used the first speech of the trip to issue one of his most extended condemnations yet of Islamist violence. His remarks, addressed to an audience that included the leader of the most authoritative institution in the Sunni Muslim world, was at once a defense of the Middle East’s besieged Christian population and a challenge to Muslims to repudiate religious justifications for violence.

Egyptian President Abdel Fattah al-Sisi greeting Pope Francis upon his arrival to Cairo on Friday.

Egyptian President Abdel Fattah al-Sisi greeting Pope Francis upon his arrival to Cairo on Friday.PHOTO: THE EGYPTIAN PRESIDENCY/REUTERS

“Peace alone is holy and no act of violence can be perpetrated in the name of religion or in the name of God,” the pope told an international peace conference at Al-Azhar University. “Together let us affirm the incompatibility of violence and faith, belief and hatred.”

The pontiff balanced the speech with a strong warning against anti-Muslim sentiment in the developed world, suggesting it would only encourage terrorism.

“It is disconcerting to note that…demagogic forms of populism are on the rise,” he said, in an apparent allusion to anti-immigrant movements in the U.S. and western Europe. Such movements, he added, are “a gift to proponents of radicalism and violence.”

Related Video

 https://www.wsj.com/articles/popes-visit-expected-to-highlight-christian-minorities-in-middle-east-1493368215?mod=e2fb
Twin Attacks on Egyptian Churches Kill at Least 47
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© AFP / by Tony Gamal-Gabriel | Mourners pray next to coffins of the victims of the blast at the Coptic Christian Saint Mark’s church the previous day during a funeral procession east of Alexandria on April 10, 2017.  Coptic Christians were celebrating Palm Sunday at two separate places of worship in Egypt when they were struck by blasts claimed by Islamic State that killed at least 47 people and wounded more than 100.

Pope Francis, who has previously visited six Muslim-majority countries, has shown a steadfast commitment to close relations with the Muslim world, despite critics who say such dialogue has accomplished little in the face of Islamist violence.

Security was tight in Cairo when the pope landed, reflecting concerns following the attacks earlier this month. Only government and church officials were present at his arrival at the airport, streets that are normally packed were empty, and Egypt’s state-run media reported intensified security around churches. The country is already under a state of emergency imposed by President Abdel Fattah Al Sisi following the blasts earlier this month.

Although the pope followed his usual practice in declining an armored car, the Vatican took the unusual step of asking journalists not to reveal the locations of some of his appearances ahead of time.

The papal visit could give the extremists an opportunity to stage an attack aimed at stoking sectarian tensions and embarrassing the Egyptian government, said Andrew Freeman, a London-based analyst with Control Risks, a consulting firm.

A Half-Century of Interfaith Dialogue

The Catholic Church began reaching out to the Muslim world in the mid-1960s

Pope John Paul II prayed at Santa Maria degli Angeli in Assisi, Italy, on Oct. 27, 1986, with representatives of 12 world religions.
Pope John Paul II prayed at Santa Maria degli Angeli in Assisi, Italy, on Oct. 27, 1986, with representatives of 12 world religions. ASSOCIATED PRESS
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Pope John Paul II kissed the Quran in Vatican City in 1999.
Pope John Paul II kissed the Quran in Vatican City in 1999. L’OSSERVATORE ROMANO/ASSOCIATED PRESS
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Pope Benedict XVI greeted envoys from Muslim-majority countries at his summer residence in Castelgandolfo, outside Rome, on Sept. 25, 2006, after he made controversial remarks about Islam.
Pope Francis met with Sheik Ahmed al-Tayeb, grand imam of Al-Azhar in Cairo, at the Vatican on May 23, 2016. MAX ROSSI/PRESS POOL
Pope Benedict XVI greeted envoys from Muslim-majority countries at his summer residence in Castelgandolfo, outside Rome, on Sept. 25, 2006,
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Pope Benedict XVI visited the Blue Mosque in Istanbul on Nov. 30, 2006, becoming only the second pope, after John Paul II in Damascus in 2001, to set foot in a Muslim house of worship.
Pope Benedict XVI visited the Blue Mosque in Istanbul on Nov. 30, 2006, becoming only the second pope, after John Paul II in Damascus in 2001, to set foot in a Muslim house of worship.PATRICK HERTZOG/PRESS POOL
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Pope Francis welcomed Syrian refugees he had brought back with him to Rome from a refugee camp in Greece in April 2016.
Pope Francis welcomed Syrian refugees he had brought back with him to Rome from a refugee camp in Greece in April 2016. FILIPPO MONTEFORTE/PRESS POOL
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Pope Francis met with Sheik Ahmed al-Tayeb, grand imam of Al-Azhar in Cairo, at the Vatican on May 23, 2016.
Pope Francis met with Sheik Ahmed al-Tayeb, grand imam of Al-Azhar in Cairo, at the Vatican on May 23, 2016. MAX ROSSI/PRESS POOL
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Pope Paul VI waved to a crowd while standing next to King Hussein of Jordan after arriving in Amman on Jan. 4, 1964. The next year, the Second Vatican Council issued a pathbreaking document on dialogue with non-Christian religions, including Islam.
Pope Paul VI waved to a crowd while standing next to King Hussein of Jordan after arriving in Amman on Jan. 4, 1964. The next year, the Second Vatican Council issued a pathbreaking document on dialogue with non-Christian religions, including Islam. ASSOCIATED PRESS

“But Islamic State is also pragmatic,” Mr. Freeman said, and would likely be deterred by the heightened security around the pope. He said the group was likely, however, to carry out an attack elsewhere in Egypt, most probably its stronghold in North Sinai, within a few days of the pope’s visit.

The pope’s appearance at Al-Azhar was a significant gesture of outreach. The university and the Vatican resumed contacts earlier this year, six years after Al-Azhar cut them off to protest remarks by Pope Benedict XVI about the need for Egypt to protect its Christian minority from terrorist attacks.

Although Christians enjoy equality under the law with Egypt’s Muslim majority, they suffer widespread social discrimination and have been the targets of large-scale terrorist attacks and individual killings.

In his speech, Pope Francis called for combating terrorism and intolerance by teaching the young “their rights and basic freedoms, particularly religious freedom.” He also urged a fight against the “poverty and exploitation” that he said nourish extremism, and cutting off the flow of armaments and money that fuel violence.

Pope Tawadros II, leader of Egypt’s Orthodox Coptic Christians, led prayers at St. Mark's Cathedral in Cairo on April 15.

Pope Tawadros II, leader of Egypt’s Orthodox Coptic Christians, led prayers at St. Mark’s Cathedral in Cairo on April 15. PHOTO: NARIMAN EL-MOFTY/ASSOCIATED PRESS

The pope’s speech followed remarks by the grand imam of Al-Azhar, Sheikh Ahmad Al-Tayeb, who said no religion should be blamed “for the crimes of any small group of followers.” His examples included Islamist terrorists, but he also said Judaism wasn’t to blame for Israel “occupying lands and extirpating millions of the indigenous, defenseless, civilian citizens of the Palestinian people.”

Addressing Mr. Sisi and an audience of diplomats and other dignitaries later on Friday, Pope Francis called for “unconditional respect for inalienable human rights such as equality among all citizens, religious freedom and freedom of expression.”

Human-rights advocates have denounced Mr. Sisi for abuses since he came to power in 2013 after a military coup that overthrew President Mohammed Morsi.

Later Friday, the pope also visited Pope Tawadros II, leader of Egypt’s Orthodox Coptic Christians, who account for the vast majority of Egypt’s Christians. Egypt has the Middle East’s largest Christian community, with about 9.5 million people, or 10% of the country’s total population. Pope Tawadros was inside the cathedral in Alexandria on Palm Sunday when a suicide bomber exploded a bomb just outside.

Pope Francis told his counterpart that their two churches were growing closer together through common suffering in an “ecumenism of blood” exemplified by the recent attacks on Orthodox Copts.

The two popes signed a joint declaration recognizing baptism in either church as valid in the other—a milestone in reunification of the two churches, which split in the fifth century. Pope Francis and Pope Tawadros then prayed together at Cairo’s Church of St. Peter, site of a December bombing that killed 29 people.

On Saturday morning, Pope Francis is scheduled to celebrate Mass at Cairo’s Air Defense Stadium for some of the country’s Catholics, estimated to number fewer than 300,000. Atef Grace, 60, a retired government worker, said he would be attending the Mass in spite of security concerns. “We’ve only got one life and one God. I’ll leave it to Him,” he said.

The pope will also address Egyptian Catholic priests, nuns and seminarians on Saturday before departing for Rome in the afternoon.

Write to Francis X. Rocca at francis.rocca@wsj.com

Appeared in the Apr. 29, 2017, print edition as ‘In Egypt, Pope Decries Religious Violence.’

https://www.wsj.com/articles/popes-visit-expected-to-highlight-christian-minorities-in-middle-east-1493368215?mod=e2fb

Related:

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© Mohamed El-Shahed / AFP (file photo) | Members of the Egyptian police special forces stand guard on Cairo’s landmark Tahrir Square on January 25, 2016.

Relatives of a Christian woman who was killed in the bombing of Cairo's main Coptic cathedral carry her casked in Cairo on Monday.
Relatives of a Christian woman who was killed in the bombing of Cairo’s main Coptic cathedral carry her casked in Cairo on December 14, 2016.PHOTO: REUTERS
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 (December 2016)
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Members of the special police forces stand guard to secure the area around St. Mark"s Coptic Orthodox Cathedral after an explosion inside the cathedral in Cairo

The building bombed in December 2016 is next to St Mark’s Coptic Cathedral, seat of the church’s pope. Reuters Photo

A Christian employee at Cairo's Coptic Cathedral checks for damage from the blast after an explosion inside the cathedral in Cairo

The interior of the church, where Christians had gathered, was also hit in the explosion. AP photo

Image result for Reina nightclub attack, photos

Islamist gunman Abdulgadir Masharipov killed 39 people  in the Reina nightclub shooting on January 1, 2017, in Istanbul. © Dogan News Agency/AFP/File

 (December 11, 2016)

David Dosha, the priest of the Church of Mart Shmoni, located in the Christian Iraqi town of Bartella. (Safin Hamed/Agence France-Presse via Getty Images)

An Iraqi Christian forces member lights a candle at the Church of the Immaculate Conception on October 30, 2016 in the town of Qaraqosh (also known as Hamdaniya), 30 kms east of Mosul, after Iraqi forces recaptured it from Islamic State (IS) group jihadists. (AFP/ SAFIN HAMED)
An Iraqi Christian forces member lights a candle at the Church of the Immaculate Conception on October 30, 2016 in the town of Qaraqosh (also known as Hamdaniya), 30 kms east of Mosul, after Iraqi forces recaptured it from Islamic State (IS) group jihadists. (AFP/ SAFIN HAMED)
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A photo of Priest Jacques Hamel taken from the website of Saint-Etienne-du-Rouvray parish84 year-old Father Jacques Hamel was giving morning Mass when the Islamist attackers stormed his church. AFP

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The Isis jihadist group

Philippines: Presidential Spokesman Calls 7,000 Extrajudicial Killings “Fake News” (It’s actually more like 9,000) — Further Erodes Credibility of Philippine Government, Philippine National Police (PNP)

April 21, 2017
Presidential Spokesperson Ernesto Abella called reports on more than 7,000 extralegal killings “false news.” PCOO/King Rodriguez

MANILA, Philippines — President Rodrigo Duterte’s spokesperson on Friday called reports of nearly 9,000 drug-related deaths “false news,” months after media organizations and international groups used the figure in their reports.

Ernesto Abella, the presidential spokesperson, said that the persistent reports of more 7,000 killed, which is now said to be nearly 9,000, was “false news” as the Philippine National Police (PNP) said that the figure was much lower.

“On the number of extrajudicial deaths, the persistent news reports of 7,000 killed, which is now being said to be close to 9,000, is false,” Abella said.

The president’s spokesperson said that based on official police data there were only 6,011 homicide cases being investigated. Of the figure, only 1,398 cases were found to be drug related, contrary to reports that 9,000 have already been killed in anti-illegal drugs operations, Abella said.

Abella, meanwhile, called on organizations which report on drug incidents to be fair and not to rush to judgment as he emphasized that people appreciated the changes being implemented by the administration and the way these were carried out.

“We ask to be understood not just from a single perspective, but from the point of view of Filipinos who desire change, stability and fairness,” Abella said.

The number of murders and homicide cases, however, have risen dramatically at the start of the Duterte administration last year despite government’s denial that they are related to the brutal war on drugs. Drug experts also acknowledge that stringent law enforcement policy against narcotics have historically resulted in unnecessary violence and deaths.

Abella’s comments came days after a Social Weather Stations (SWS) survey showed that public satisfaction with the government’s conduct of the war on drugs plunging by 11 points, from +77 in December 2016 to +66 in March 2017.

He also assuaged American concern on the increasing extrajudicial killings in the Philippines, saying that those who breached protocol would be made to account.

“We share the concern of US Assistant Secretary of State for Southeast Asia Patrick Murphy, who has been quoted in the media saying ‘there are elements of the drug war that are operating outside the rule of law,’” the spokesperson said.

Abella said that the PNP has an Internal Affairs Service which would probe into cases of police violations.

“This body can suspend or dismiss PNP personnel based on violations incurred and can recommend the filing of criminal charges,” he said.

He said that security forces followed procedures in conducting their operations although force may be used to protect the safety of the police.

“Local authorities follow operation protocols and the proper enforcement of our laws requires the use of reasonable force merited by the attendant circumstances,” he said.

Not a single cop, however, has been accused by police investigators before a court of unjustifiably killing drug suspects in police operations. President Rodrigo Duterte himself said he will defend and pardon cops accused of wrongdoing in the field.

http://www.philstar.com/headlines/2017/04/21/1692511/abella-calls-7000-extrajudicial-killings-fake-news

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Discarded — The body of a dead Filipino girl — killed in President Duterte’s war on drugs — looks like it has been put out with the trash….. Presidential spokeman Abella said the war on drugs is for the next generation of Filipinos.
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Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte (L) talks to Philippine National Police (PNP) Director General Ronald Dela Rosa. AFP photo

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Philippine National Police chief Director General Ronald dela Rosa

Philippines: Human Rights Watch director Phelim Kline also said the numbers of fatalities in the drug war launched by President Rodrigo Duterte when he assumed office on June 30, 2016, are “appalling but predictable” since he (Duterte) vowed to “forget the laws on human rights.”

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No automatic alt text available.

Philippines Policeman found tortured and strangled after some fellow police said he was involved in the illegal drug trade. Photo Credit Boy Cruz

http://www.philstar.com/headlines/2016/07/08/1600763/cop-linked-drugs-tortured-killed

 (December 23, 2016)

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 (Philippine Star, December 1, 2016)

 (Philippine Star, December 1, 2016)

“They are afraid the incident could cause President Duterte to declare martial law. I talked with some sultans and ulamas and elders here… and that’s what they have told me,” Ponyo said.

 (November 30, 2016)

 

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High Commissioner for Human Rights Zeid Ra’ad Al Hussein. UN Photo, Jean-Marc Ferré

Summary executions of supposed drug dealers and other criminals have become a common occurence in recent weeks. The STAR/Joven Cagande, file

 (November 16, 2016)

 

 (August 10, 2016)

Davao City’s Ronald dela Rosa has been appointed to become the next chief of the Philippine National Police to lead President-elect Rodrigo Duterte’s planned crackdown on illegal drugs. Facebook/Dela Rosa
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Crime scene investigators examine a vehicle used by two drug suspects killed during an alleged shootout with officers along NIA Road in Quezon City on June 21, 2016. JOVEN CAGANDE/file
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President Rodrigo Duterte's crusade against drug users and dealers is controversial

 

Workers burying cadavers in various stages of decomposition in a mass grave in Manila, after health officials recovered the cadavers from Henry's Funeral Home. Picture: AFP / Noel Celis.

Workers burying cadavers in various stages of decomposition in a mass grave in Manila, after health officials recovered the cadavers from Henry’s Funeral Home. Picture: AFP / Noel Celis.Source:AFP

A worker arranging cadavers in various stages of decomposition at the morgue of Henry's Funeral Homes in Manila. Picture: AFP/ Noel Celis.

A worker arranging cadavers in various stages of decomposition at the morgue of Henry’s Funeral Homes in Manila. Picture: AFP/ Noel Celis.Source:AFP

Health officials closed Henry's Funeral Home after recovering at least 120 unclaimed and rotting cadavers in Manila. The city health department conducted a surprise raid after receiving complaints about a foul odour coming from the funeral parlour. Picture: AFP / Noel Celis.

Health officials closed Henry’s Funeral Home after recovering at least 120 unclaimed and rotting cadavers in Manila. The city health department conducted a surprise raid after receiving complaints about a foul odour coming from the funeral parlour. Picture: AFP / Noel Celis.Source:AFP

Workers carrying cadavers in various stages of decomposition at the morgue of Henry's Funeral Homes in Manila, October 2016. Picture: AFP / Noel Celis.

Workers carrying cadavers in various stages of decomposition at the morgue of Henry’s Funeral Homes in Manila, October 2016. Picture: AFP / Noel Celis.Source:AFP

Philippines: National Police killings ‘committed as part of a widespread or systematic attack against a civilian population’ — ‘Reign of terror’ — ‘Extermination’ — Insiders talking to evidence gatherers for the International Criminal Court

April 18, 2017
At least 39 people were killed in police operations during Holy Week as Philippine National Police (PNP) chief Director General Ronald dela Rosa proved true to his word that there would be no Lenten break in the war on drugs. AP/Bullit Marquez, file
  • Almost 9,000 people killed since President Rodrigo Duterte took office in June
  • Two senior officials have claimed that police orchestrated many of those killings 
  • Police paid to kill drug suspects and – for 10,000 pesos ($200) a head – rapists, pickpockets, swindlers, gang members, alcoholics and other ‘troublemakers’

The Philippine police have given bonuses for killing drug suspects, planted evidence at crime scenes and carried out most of the murders they blamed on vigilantes, said two senior officers.

The officials, who are critical of President Rodrigo Duterte’s ‘war on drugs,’ challenged the government’s explanations of the killings in interviews.

Almost 9,000 people, many small-time users and dealers, have been killed since Duterte took office on June 30. Police say about a third of the victims were shot by officers in self-defence during legitimate anti-drug operations.

Human rights monitors believe the remaining two thirds were killed by paid assassins working with police or by police disguised as vigilantes – a charge the police deny.

Philippine police have received cash payments for executing drug suspects, planted evidence at crime scenes and carried out most of the killings they have long blamed on vigilantes, claim officials critical of President Rodrigo Duterte's (pictured) 'war on drugs'

Philippine police have received cash payments for executing drug suspects, planted evidence at crime scenes and carried out most of the killings they have long blamed on vigilantes, claim officials critical of President Rodrigo Duterte’s (pictured) ‘war on drugs’

The two senior officers, one a retired police intelligence officer and the other an active-duty commander, claimed the killings are in fact orchestrated by the police, including most of those carried out by vigilantes. They spoke on the condition of anonymity.

‘It is the Philippine National Police doing it,’ said the retired intelligence officer.

‘This killing machine must be buried six feet under the ground.’ He said he was angry about the impact of the killings on police discipline and wanted ‘to put Duterte on the defensive.’ Reuters was unable to independently verify if the police are behind vigilante killings.

The president’s office and the Philippine police did not respond to questions from Reuters.

The intelligence officer has authored an unpublished 26-page report on the conduct of the drug war in an effort to organize opposition to Duterte’s campaign.

The report, titled ‘The State-Sponsored Extrajudicial Killings in the Philippines,’ provides granular detail on the campaign’s alleged methods, masterminds and perpetrators. The document has been shared with leaders of the Catholic Church in the Philippines and with the government-funded Commission on Human Rights.

Some of the report’s accusations against individuals could not be confirmed by Reuters; the news agency is therefore not publishing the full document.

Many of its findings, however, support and expand upon previous investigations of the drug war by Reuters and independent human rights monitors.

Human rights monitors believe paid assassins operating with police backing or by police disguised as vigilantes killed two thirds of the 9,000 people who have died since June 30 - a charge police deny

Human rights monitors believe paid assassins operating with police backing or by police disguised as vigilantes killed two thirds of the 9,000 people who have died since June 30 – a charge police deny

The report claims that police are paid to kill not just drug suspects, but also – for 10,000 pesos ($200) a head – rapists, pickpockets, swindlers, gang members, alcoholics and other ‘troublemakers.’

It also claims that civilian members of the so-called Davao Death Squad, which rights activists allege killed hundreds of people in Duterte’s hometown of Davao, were drafted to ‘augment and assist’ the police’s current nationwide anti-drug operation.

The report doesn’t provide documentary evidence for its accusations, which the intelligence officer said were based on accounts from 17 serving or former policemen, including the commander Reuters interviewed. The police commander said he agreed to talk because he was upset that authorities are targeting only petty drug suspects. ‘Why aren’t they killing the suppliers?’ he asked. ‘Only the poor are dying.’

The second half of the report is largely political in nature, asserting that Duterte has close ties to Communist forces in the Philippines. Many in the military and police are concerned by what they see as Duterte’s leftist sympathies. Since taking office, the president has released Communist rebels from prison to restart peace talks.

The report also calls the drug war a ‘social cleansing’ campaign similar to that launched in Mao Zedong’s China, with Duterte aiming to have drug addicts ‘physically eliminated.’

The Commission on Human Rights has reviewed the report and the accounts could open up new leads in ongoing investigations, said chairman Chito Gascon. Church officials confirmed receiving the report as well.

A report claims that police are paid to kill not just drug suspects, but also - for 10,000 pesos ($200) a head - rapists, pickpockets, swindlers, gang members, alcoholics and other 'troublemakers' (pictured, police interrogating local residents in operation against drugs

A report claims that police are paid to kill not just drug suspects, but also – for 10,000 pesos ($200) a head – rapists, pickpockets, swindlers, gang members, alcoholics and other ‘troublemakers’ (pictured, police interrogating local residents in operation against drugs

‘We should do all we can to follow any lead that could ultimately shed light on these killings with the view to ultimately holding the perpetrators to account,’ said Gascon.

The fresh claims come amid growing criticism of the drug war. In February, the country’s influential Catholic Church called it a ‘reign of terror.’ The campaign has also sparked street protests and lawsuits.

Duterte’s police chief, Ronald Dela Rosa, halted police operations for most of February after it emerged that an anti-drug unit had kidnapped and murdered a South Korean businessman last year. The killings continued but at a slower pace. On March 6, Dela Rosa announced that the police were resuming their drug operations.

In March, a former policeman, Arturo Lascanas, testified in the Philippine Senate about his role in vigilante-style killings in the southern city of Davao, where Duterte was once mayor. Lascanas was the second Senate witness to link Duterte to the Davao Death Squad. Duterte denies ordering any killings, either as president or mayor.

In a subsequent interview, Lascanas told Reuters that for over a decade he was paid for carrying out the liquidation of drug suspects and criminals. In the early 1990s, he said, he was paid 3,000 to 5,000 pesos ($60-$100) for each of the ‘jobs’ he performed.

By the early 2000s he was earning tens of thousands of pesos for each operation, he said. Lascanas said he had no documentary proof of the payments. He has since left the country.

In the past nine months, police acknowledge having shot dead more than 2,600 suspects during their operations. They say such shootings occur after suspects open fire on undercover officers trying to catch them dealing drugs.

It also claims that civilian members of the so-called Davao Death Squad, which rights activists allege killed hundreds of people in Duterte's hometown of Davao, were drafted to 'augment and assist' the police's current nationwide anti-drug operation. Pictured, Duterte with Trade Secretary Liam Fox)

It also claims that civilian members of the so-called Davao Death Squad, which rights activists allege killed hundreds of people in Duterte’s hometown of Davao, were drafted to ‘augment and assist’ the police’s current nationwide anti-drug operation. Pictured, Duterte with UK Trade Secretary Liam Fox

But these so-called ‘buy-busts’ are actually well-planned executions, said the commander interviewed by Reuters. The commander said targets are chosen from lists of suspects drawn up by police and local officials, who later coordinate to unplug security cameras in the neighbourhood where a killing is planned. According to the report, street lamps are also switched off.

‘There is no such thing as a legitimate buy-bust,’ the commander said. ‘The dealers know the cops and won’t sell to them.’

Instead, he said, a team of police operatives will execute the target, who is almost always unarmed, then plant guns and drugs at the crime scene to justify the use of deadly force.

‘We have to plant evidence for the legality of the operation,’ the commander said. ‘We are ordered to do these operations, so we have to protect ourselves.’

The commander said officers put the gun in the dead suspect’s hand and pull the trigger with the victim’s finger so forensic testing will show that the suspect fired a gun.

Late last year, he said, police crime-scene investigators told their fellow officers to place the guns at a slight distance from the suspects, rather than in their hands, to make things look more realistic.

Most drug suspects in his precinct are shot by rookie cops who are either eager for the experience or nominated by their superiors, the commander said. The superiors refer to this as a ‘baptism by fire.’

Each member of the team is quickly paid according to two factors, said the commander: his role in the killing and the target’s value.

According to the report, the cash ‘reward scales’ for drug killings range from 20,000 pesos ($400) for a ‘street level pusher and user,’ to 50,000 pesos for a member of a neighborhood council, one million pesos for ‘distributors, retailers and wholesalers,’ and five million for ‘drug lords.’

Police officers kill for money, said the commander, but also out of fear: Even the police are afraid of being included on a ‘watch list’ of drug suspects drawn up by police and local officials.

Officials have been killed for not cooperating, he added. He said he was aware of two cases but did not provide details on exactly what happened.

Most drug suspects in his precinct are shot by rookie cops who are either eager for the experience or nominated by their superiors, the commander said. Pictured, armed Filipino policemen stand guard next to the wall of a prison facility

Most drug suspects in his precinct are shot by rookie cops who are either eager for the experience or nominated by their superiors, the commander said. Pictured, armed Filipino policemen stand guard next to the wall of a prison facility

Reuters reported last year that the watch lists were effectively hit lists, with many of those named ending up dead. Another Reuters investigation showed that police officers were killing 97 percent of the suspects they confront in violent buy-bust operations, the strongest evidence yet that the police were summarily executing suspects.

Officers also cooperate because they know the police force’s flawed disciplinary system, which fails to adequately investigate even a fraction of the killings, means there is little chance they will get caught, said the intelligence officer.

One sign of the drug war’s success, says the government, is that more than a million users and pushers have voluntarily registered with the police, a process known as ‘surrendering.’

But the commander said police are given a quota of ‘surrenderers,’ and fill it by using city ordinances to arrest men who are drunk or shirtless – a misdemeanor known as ‘half-naked’ – then forcing them to register as drug suspects.

Reuters learned of the intelligence officer’s 26-page report from him and interviewed two Catholic priests in Manila who said they had encouraged him to compile it. One of the priests said he edited the report; the other said he helped distribute it among a small group of clerics and human rights activists. Both are helping organize opposition to Duterte’s drug campaign.

The Church’s initial reluctance to criticize Duterte’s drug war was prompted by a desire to ‘give him a chance’ when he took office, said one of the priests. But the killings, along with the president’s overtures to Communists, made many in the Church feel their values were under attack, he said.

The intelligence officer said he hoped the report would be used as evidence at the International Criminal Court. In October, the Hague-based tribunal said it could prosecute suspects if the killings were ‘committed as part of a widespread or systematic attack against a civilian population.’

Read more: http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-4421430/Police-kill-rewards-staged-crime-scenes-Dutertes-drug-war.html#ixzz4ecS4W7LE
Follow us: @MailOnline on Twitter | DailyMail on Facebook

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Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte (L) talks to Philippine National Police (PNP) Director General Ronald Dela Rosa. AFP photo

Image may contain: 1 person

Philippine National Police chief Director General Ronald dela Rosa

Philippines: Human Rights Watch director Phelim Kline also said the numbers of fatalities in the drug war launched by President Rodrigo Duterte when he assumed office on June 30, 2016, are “appalling but predictable” since he (Duterte) vowed to “forget the laws on human rights.”

Image may contain: text

No automatic alt text available.

Philippines Policeman found tortured and strangled after some fellow police said he was involved in the illegal drug trade. Photo Credit Boy Cruz

http://www.philstar.com/headlines/2016/07/08/1600763/cop-linked-drugs-tortured-killed

 (December 23, 2016)

Discarded — The body of a dead Filipino girl looks like it has been put out with the trash…..
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 (Philippine Star, December 1, 2016)

 (Philippine Star, December 1, 2016)

“They are afraid the incident could cause President Duterte to declare martial law. I talked with some sultans and ulamas and elders here… and that’s what they have told me,” Ponyo said.

 (November 30, 2016)

 

Image may contain: 1 person, eyeglasses and beard

High Commissioner for Human Rights Zeid Ra’ad Al Hussein. UN Photo, Jean-Marc Ferré

Summary executions of supposed drug dealers and other criminals have become a common occurence in recent weeks. The STAR/Joven Cagande, file

 (November 16, 2016)

 

 (August 10, 2016)

Davao City’s Ronald dela Rosa has been appointed to become the next chief of the Philippine National Police to lead President-elect Rodrigo Duterte’s planned crackdown on illegal drugs. Facebook/Dela Rosa
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Crime scene investigators examine a vehicle used by two drug suspects killed during an alleged shootout with officers along NIA Road in Quezon City on June 21, 2016. JOVEN CAGANDE/file
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President Rodrigo Duterte's crusade against drug users and dealers is controversial

 

Workers burying cadavers in various stages of decomposition in a mass grave in Manila, after health officials recovered the cadavers from Henry's Funeral Home. Picture: AFP / Noel Celis.

Workers burying cadavers in various stages of decomposition in a mass grave in Manila, after health officials recovered the cadavers from Henry’s Funeral Home. Picture: AFP / Noel Celis.Source:AFP

A worker arranging cadavers in various stages of decomposition at the morgue of Henry's Funeral Homes in Manila. Picture: AFP/ Noel Celis.

A worker arranging cadavers in various stages of decomposition at the morgue of Henry’s Funeral Homes in Manila. Picture: AFP/ Noel Celis.Source:AFP

Health officials closed Henry's Funeral Home after recovering at least 120 unclaimed and rotting cadavers in Manila. The city health department conducted a surprise raid after receiving complaints about a foul odour coming from the funeral parlour. Picture: AFP / Noel Celis.

Health officials closed Henry’s Funeral Home after recovering at least 120 unclaimed and rotting cadavers in Manila. The city health department conducted a surprise raid after receiving complaints about a foul odour coming from the funeral parlour. Picture: AFP / Noel Celis.Source:AFP

Workers carrying cadavers in various stages of decomposition at the morgue of Henry's Funeral Homes in Manila, October 2016. Picture: AFP / Noel Celis.

Workers carrying cadavers in various stages of decomposition at the morgue of Henry’s Funeral Homes in Manila, October 2016. Picture: AFP / Noel Celis.Source:AFP

Philippines: Catholic Church will participate in the establishment of community-based rehabilitation centers for drug users in at least 20 parishes in Metro Manila.

April 18, 2017
/ 05:20 PM April 18, 2017
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Despite the rocky relationship between President Duterte and the Catholic Church, the religious sector and some government institutions will work together “to win the war against illegal drugs.”

The Catholic Church and concerned government agencies are set to discuss on Wednesday how to speed up the establishment of community-based rehabilitation centers for drug users in at least 20 parishes in Metro Manila.

Manila Auxiliary Bishop Broderick Pabillo and members of some laity organizations will meet with representatives from different government agencies at the Pope Pius XII Catholic Center in Manila, according to Interior Assistant Secretary Epimaco Densing III.

Image result for Bishop Broderick Pabillo, photos

Manila Auxiliary Bishop Broderick Pabillo

The government agencies joining the meeting are the Department of the Interior and Local Government, Technical Education and Skills Development Authority (Tesda), Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD), Philippine National Police (PNP), and the Department of Health (DOH).

“We will be meeting so that we can discuss the community-based rehab centers that we will put up immediately. This is ASAP,” Densing said in an ambush interview on Tuesday.

The target is to have rehabilitation centers in at least 20 parishes  which can accommodate drug abusers from around 80 to 90 barangays, said Densing.

The community centers are included in the “out-patient component” of the government’s drug rehabilitation efforts as it will mostly admit the “experimenters” or those who use drugs once a week or once a month.

Asked about the funding, Densing said parishes will help raise the money to support the community-based centers, aside from the government budget that was allotted for the barangay anti-drug abuse councils (Badac).

“Once we’ve established the community-based rehab centers, we might require the barangays to put in some of their Badac budgets to support the community-based rehab centers. So it’s both a government and non-government (effort),” he said.

Densing said parishes will provide personnel to run the center while the government will provide supplemental needs like skills training care of Tesda, classification of drug surrenderers by the DOH, after-care program from the DSWD while the DILG and local government units will provide additional support.

As for the patients, the assistant secretary said they will get the list of “Tokhang” surrenderers from the PNP and the barangays.

“Hindi pa pinag-uusapan (We have not discussed it) in detail, but definitely there will [be] a strategy to ask the surrenderer to undertake the community rehab center,” he said.

If the program becomes successful, Densing hopes that other faith-based organizations can follow suit all over the country.

“That’s why we’re expediting this. We’re taking away all the red tape in organizing. When we met with Bishop Pabillo, the first thing I told them was to forget about all the paperwork. Let’s just put this into a running program and then maybe later on the paperwork will follow,” he said.

“Kung ito kasama natin ang simbahan, ang private sector at LGUs (If the church, the private sector and LGUs are on our side), I’m quite sure we will [win] the war against drugs,” Densing added./ac /rga

Read more: http://newsinfo.inquirer.net/890088/drug-rehab-centers-to-be-put-up-in-metro-manila-parishes#ixzz4eb7yCkkm
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