The only Christian player in Iran's national soccer team has been named "Christian star of the World Cup" in a poll undertaken by a Dutch ecumenical Christian group.
Andranik Teymourian, a 23-year-old midfielder, received 31.3 per cent of votes in the online contest, organized by Gristelijk, a group of Protestant and Roman Catholic teachers and lecturers, out of a shortlist of 11 leading Christian soccer players.
Spero News, July 18, 2006
PERSIAN GULF \ Dec 28, 20054330IRAQIS gathered for Christmas behind Kalashnikovs yesterday. Midnight Mass was cancelled because of bombing fears and curfews, but the country?s rapidly dwindling Christian minority turned out in their thousands for early morning services.
Protected under Saddam, Christians once numbered between 600,000 and 700,000 in Iraq, but church officials say that about half have now fled, especially from the south, where militias linked to Iraq?s ruling parties have waged a three-year campaign to Islamise the country at gunpoint.
From Stephen Farrell in Baghdad, Dec 25, 2005, Times Online, UK
PERSIAN GULF \ Apr 28, 20054461A bipartisan, congressionally appointed commission on religious freedom criticized the State Department yesterday for failing to punish Saudi Arabia after it censured the regime last fall for its restrictions on non-Muslim worship.
"These persistent delays in the process serve only to signal that the United States does not take seriously [the International Religious Freedom Act's] stated and mandated commitments to promote religious freedom and other human rights throughout the world," the chairwoman of the U.S. Commission on International Religious Freedom, Preeta Bansal, said in a public statement yesterday.
The New York Sun, April 19, 2005
PERSIAN GULF \ Mar 01, 20055356Vivian Gilmer and Marie Bush were conducting mission efforts with a group in the United Arab Emirates. The rest of the group was expelled from the country, but the two women's passports were confiscated.
"While in custody, they have demonstrated faithfulness to Christ and continued to proclaim the truth of Scripture"
Baptist Presss, March 1, 2005
PERSIAN GULF \ Feb 06, 20054641Their lives are threatened. Their churches have been bombed. Their numbers are shrinking as many flee Iraq seeking safety elsewhere. And their involvement in the recent elections has mostly been overlooked in the world press.
In spite of this, some Iraqi Christians, who make up about 3 percent of the population, are reaching out and ministering to their communities. New churches have started, Christian bookstores have opened, and an Iraqi pastor has created for SAT-7 what is believed to be the first Christian satellite TV show made by an Iraqi, for Iraqis.
Jennifer Sheran, CrossWalk
PERSIAN GULF \ Jan 19, 20054644Baghdad, Iraq ? The 66-year-old Syrian Catholic archbishop snatched from the streets of Mosul on Monday was freed Tuesday, without the payment of any ransom, the Vatican said.
Archbishop Basile Georges Casmoussa, the head of the archdiocese in Mosul, a crime-ridden city in northern Iraq, was walking in front of his church when a group of insurgents pushed him into a car at gunpoint on Monday, several members of Mosul's large Christian community said.
The Day, New London, CT, Jan 19, 2005
6807The church will be built on land donated by the emir of Qatar, in a residential district of the capital, Doha. The emir has also donated land to Anglicans, Copts, Orthodox and Protestants to build their own churches.
Although Islam is the majority religion, the country has some 60,000 Catholic immigrants, especially from the Philippines, Palestine, Lebanon, and India.
Zenit, October 12, 2004
6084So ironically, Iraq and Syria, led by two of the least Muslim regimes in the Arab world, are the two most targeted by the Bush administration in the aftermath of the attacks on the U.S. by an Islamic terrorist group intimate with neither. Again ironically, these two have been particularly tolerant of their Christian communities whose existence dates back nearly 2000 years
Gary Leupp, CounterPunch, August 9, 2004
3937Car bombs exploded outside at least five Christian churches in Iraq on Sunday, killing more than a dozen people and wounding many more in an apparently coordinated attack timed to coincide with evening prayers.
An Interior Ministry source said there had been four blasts at churches in Baghdad and two in the northern city of Mosul. These attacks are the first attacks on churches during the 15-month insurgency -- echoing concerns among Iraqis that they aimed to inflame religious tensions.
Edmund Blair and Maher al-Thanoon, Reuters, August 2, 2004