Here are a few noteworthy news stories from the past week or so:
– In what is being called an unprecedented move, Norway is refusing to return asylum seekers to Greece for fear that their basic human rights are being ignored or even violated. A law common throughout the EU states that asylum cases should be determined by the nation through which a refugee enters the EU. Thus, a refugee cannot pass through Greece in order apply for asylum in Germany, for example. In this case, the asylum case will not be heard by Germany and the refugee will be returned to Greece for processing (note also that Greece has a less than 1% acceptance rate – by far one of the lowest in the EU). This law effectively protects many of the northern European nations that do not directly boarder non-EU states. At the same time, the law places a greater burden on boarder nations such as Greece and Spain. Anyway, Norway has announced that it will no longer return refugees to Greece because of numerous reports of human rights abuses here. Read the article here.
– Although it has been practiced through the court system (as an interpretation of Sharia Law), the government of Iran is seeking to make apostasy (converting from Islam) punishable by death as a part of the criminal code. The long and short of it is this, capital punishment for conversion would be easier and faster – effectively normalized within the state (i.e. not requiring special court hearings). Please pray for our Christian brothers and sisters in Iran. I don’t know what is happening spiritually within in Iran proper, but Persians/Iranians outside of Iran are experiencing a spiritual awakening; across Europe and America the Persian church is growing. Not only is there a large believing Persian community here in Athens, we regularly meet refugees who have fled from Iran due to their faith (i.e. they became Christians in Iran). Read the article here.