The commander of the ground troops in the Iranian army, General Ahmad Reza Pourdastan, threatened Saudi Arabia with military strikes if it doesn’t stop the fighting in Yemen.
According to the Iranian Arabic language channel El-Alam, Pourdastan said that the Islamic Republic is not interested in getting into a conflict with Saudi Arabia. He called on Riyadh to stop fighting against her brothers in Yemen and said “by doing so she is entering a war of attrition which might expose her to severe strikes.”
Pourdastan reportedly claimed that his country will bomb Saudi Arabia if she won’t stop her attacks.
He added that “the Saudi army needs combat experience and that is why it is a weak army. If she will stand against a war of attrition she will be struck very hard and will be defeated. That’s why Riyadh should drop the option and turn to a diplomatic option and to negotiation.”
Pourdistan praised the successes of the Shiite aligned Yemini forces fighting against President Hadi, saying “The next stage will be carrying out strikes against Saudi Arabia.”
Pourdistan declared “the Islamic Republic is not interested in a confrontation with Saudi Arabia for she is a friend nation and our neighbor. The military advisor in the Saudi Embassy is currently in Iran. We invited him to the ceremonies of the Army Day that was on Saturday.
We want to have relations with Saudi Arabia and we don’t want bloody relations. There are still tables for dialogue and they can solve the problems. There is no need to use weapons or military equipment.”
Yet he also threatened Saudi Arabia saying “explosions might occur in Saudi Arabia through rockets falling on the ground. It is clear that dealing with that will be very hard for the Saudi officials.”
He suggested that forces in Yemen strike Saudi Arabia. He said “Based on the military purchases and the abilities of the Yemeni army, it is capable of inflicting painful strikes on Saudi Arabia.”
Italian Police: Muslim Migrants Threw Christians Overboard– Hada Messia (CNN)
Rome (CNN)Muslims who were among migrants trying to get from Libya to Italy in a boat this week threw 12 fellow passengers overboard — killing them — because the 12 were Christians, Italian police said Thursday.
Italian authorities have arrested 15 people on suspicion of murdering the Christians at sea, police in Palermo, Sicily, said.
The original group of 105 people left Libya on Tuesday in a rubber boat. Sometime during the trip north across the Mediterranean Sea, the alleged assailants — Muslims from the Ivory Coast, Mali and Senegal — threw the 12 overboard, police said.
Other people on the voyage told police that they themselves were spared ”because they strongly opposed the drowning attempt and formed a human chain,” Palermo police said.
The boat was intercepted by an Italian navy vessel, which transferred the passengers to a Panamanian-flagged ship. That ship docked in Palermo on Wednesday, after which the arrests were made, police said.
The 12 who died were from Nigeria and Ghana, police said.
Thousands of people each year make the dangerous sea journey from North Africa to Europe’s Mediterranean coast, often aboard vessels poorly equipped for the trip. Many of them attempt the voyage to flee war and poverty in Africa and the Middle East.
More than 10,000 people have arrived on Italian shores from Libya since last weekend alone, according to the Italian coast guard.
Many die each year while attempting the voyage, often when boats capsized. Last year at least 3,200 died trying to make the trip. Since 2000, according to the International Organization for Migration, almost 22,000 people have died fleeing across the Mediterranean.
The IOM reported Thursday the latest boat to sink in trying to make the journey. Only four people survived from the original 45 on board, bringing the estimated death toll so far this year close to a thousand.
World Watch List sammanställs årligen av Open Doors Internationals forskningsavdelning, där de analyserar de kristnas skiftande förhållanden i ca 70 länder. Sedan rangordnas de 50 länder där det är svårast att utöva den kristna tron.
Kristna i Iran arresteras, fängslas och trakasseras regelbundet trots president Hassan Rouhanis tidigare löfte om ”rättvisa” för religiösa minoriteter.
En ny rapport, som presenterades i Storbritanniens parlament den 10 mars, visar att det inte skett en förändring för de kristna i Iran sedan Rouhani tillträdde presidentposten.
– Rättvisa betyder samma möjligheter. Alla folkslag, alla religioner, även religiösa minoriteter måste uppleva rättvisa, sa Irans president Hassan Rouhanis inför valet 2013.
Men i praktiken har situationen för landets minoriteter inte förändrats, eller förbättrats, sedan Rouhanis tillträdde posten 2013. Det slås fast i rapporten The Persecution of Christians in Iran av Parliament All Party Parliamentary Group (APPG) och the APPG for International Freedom of Religion or Belief: ”Rättsväsendet fortsätter att tolka legitima kristna aktiviteter (såsom privata bönemöten i hem, bibelstudier eller att vara i kontakt med kristna utanför Iran) som politiska aktiviteter som hotar Irans nationella säkerhet. Därför fortsätter kristna att utsättas för långa fängelsestraff och/eller kroppslig bestraffning”.
Framför allt är det kristna med muslimsk bakgrund som är mest utsatta. Gudstjänster på farsi är fortfarande förbjudna. I dag är det enbart de armeniska och assyriska minoriteterna som har laglig rätt att hålla gudstjänster, men de får inte tala farsi under Gudstjänsterna.
– Den iranska konstitutionen erkänner kristna som en minoritet, svårigheten är de omvända iranierna. Regeringen är väldigt oroade över massomvändelserna. Många [iranska kristna] arresteras, speciellt unga människor. Många är fortfarande i fängelse och i många fall försvinner de bara, säger Mohammed Karim, från Elam Ministries.
Sadeq Saba, redaktör för BBC Persian, berättade vid en parlamentarisk utfrågning i december att iranier konverterar till kristendom på grund av förtrycket från regeringen.
– En massa människor blir besvikna på islam som religion på grund av vad regeringen gör. Människor konverterar till kristendom eller andra religioner, det börjar bli väldigt farligt för regeringen. De hårda straffen är ett sätt att kontrollera situationen, säger Sadeq Saba.
Enligt rapporten befann sig 92 kristna i fängelse i slutet av 2014, men ytterligare 18 kristna har suttit fängslade under året.
När Iran fick en ny president 2013 tändes ett nytt hopp för landets kristna, men den senaste rapporten antyder att Rouhanis löften förblir ouppfyllda.
UK Independence Party (UKIP) leader Nigel Farage’s beleaguered election campaign has received a divine endorsement from an unlikely source this week.
A Christian church in Pakistan has been filmed praying for the success of Britain’s ring-wing Euroskeptic party in the general election this May.
Ruptly video news agency filmed congregants at Lahore’s Royal Disciple Church chanting while a whiteboard in the background reads: “We love you Sir Nigel Farage, Jesus Christ is with your UKIP party.”
Larger banners featuring photographs of the UKIP leader hang from within the church’s interior and the walls are covered in the party’s purple colors.
One poster reads “God Made You Successful” and references Jeremiah 1:10 from the Old Testament of the Bible.
While not quoted on the poster, The New International Version of the Bible states Jeremiah 1:10 reads: “See, today I appoint you over nations and kingdoms to uproot and tear down, to destroy and overthrow, to build and to plant.”
Pastor Francis Bashir explains his reasons for organizing prayer sessions for UKIP.
Speaking in Urdu, he says: “Someone on Facebook requested me to pray for Nigel Farage, so I started praying for him. It was a month back.
“Later my son made a phone call to Mr. Nigel Farage and he received that call, and love in our hearts for him increased as a result of that call.
“Then we started fixing banners in our streets and started prayers for him so that God may bless his party with success in the coming days,” he added.
The Independent reports Farage responded to the support by saying he was “very touched by the prayers.”
Ruptly, a subsidiary of RT, describe the Christian congregation as coming from a slum area in Lahore.
The community says they believe UKIP stands up for Christian cultures and values.
Christians make up just 2.5 percent of Pakistan’s population and are treated as second class citizens according to Open Doors, an international organization supporting persecuted churches.
The organization claims Pakistan’s blasphemy laws are abused to attack the minority group, while vigilantes have been known to target congregations during services.
At least 14 people were killed and 70 injured in two terrorist attacks on Christian churches in the country last month. The Pakistani Taliban is reported to have claimed responsibility for the attacks.
As in other parts of the world, sectarian conflict descended into a cycle of violence when a group of Christians lynched two suspected terrorists, according to the Christian Post.
This in turn prompted two young Muslims to beat up and set fire to a 14-year-old Christian boy earlier this month.