1. Iranian girl, 13, beheaded by father in reported honor killing
Location: Talesh, Iran
2. Trump Declares Churches 'Essential,' Demands Governors Let Them Reopen Despite COVID-19 Lockdowns
3. Whatever You Do on TikTok, Don’t Twerk to a Quran Prayer
4. Girls in Somalia suffering FGM in coronavirus lockdown 'with cutters traveling from door to door'
5. Dalit Boy and His 2 Friends Killed in Nepal by Family of Upper-caste Girl He Wanted to Marry
Location: Kathumandu, Nepal
6. Not just sins, 'Ganga water can end coronavirus too'
7. 107 COVID Cases Have Been Traced Back to One Church Service in Germany
Location: Frankfurt, Germany
8. Louisiana House Passes Bill Allowing Concealed Weapons in Church
Location: Louisiana, USA
9. Atheist “A” Logo Found Near Graffiti at Site of Burned Down Mississippi Church
Location: Holly Springs, Mississippi
10. Pakistan's Asia Bibi's Brother-In-Law's Body Found With Throat Slit
1. A 13-year-old Iranian girl was beheaded in her sleep by her father on Thursday May 21st. The victim, Romina Ashrafi, had run away from home following her father’s opposition to her marrying a 35 year old man she had “fallen in love with.” Ashrafi was handed over to her father despite her repeated warnings that she would be in danger. After being found and returned home by the police, Ashrafi’s father killed her in her sleep using a sickle.
2. On May 22nd, President Donald Trump declared houses of worship as “essential” and called on governors nationwide to let them reopen, even though some areas remain under coronavirus lockdown. “Governors need to do the right thing and allow these very important essential places of faith to open right now — for this weekend,” Trump said. Following the announcement, the Centers for Disease Control & Prevention released new guidelines for communities of faith on how to safely reopen, including: limiting the size of gatherings, and holding services outdoors or in well-ventilated areas. “Some governors have deemed liquor stores and abortion clinics as essential” but not churches, he said. “It’s not right. So I’m correcting this injustice and calling houses of worship essential.”
3.17 year old Nessa Barrett came under fire last month for posting a TikTok video of her and a friend dancing to the sound of a man reciting the quran. The backlash across social media was swift, with many calling for a suspension of her account, where she has over 8 million followers. She issued multiple apologies, and stated, “You can be upset that what I had done was ignorant, but you cannot be upset at me for being hateful, as there is just no hate in me.” She added that she used this audio because she saw a clip of the “cute old man” and had no idea it was something “so sacred.” On May 28th she stated on Twitter that her and her family have been doxxed, and people have been coming to her home, banging on the door, and taking videos.
4. Somalia’s coronavirus lockdown has led to a huge increase in female genital mutilation (FGM), with circumcisers going door to door offering to cut girls stuck at home during the pandemic, according to the humanitarian organization Plan International. The crisis is undermining efforts to eradicate the practice in Somalia, which has the world’s highest FGM rate, where around 98% of women have been cut. Nurses across the country reported a surge in requests from parents wanting them to carry out FGM on their daughters while they were off school because of the lockdown. The United Nations Population Fund said the spike was also linked to Ramadan, which is a traditional time for girls to be cut.
5. A 19-year-old Dalit boy and two of his friends were killed allegedly by the family members of an upper caste girl he wanted to marry in western Nepal. The murders took place on Saturday May 23rd, when Nabaraj Bika, along with a number of relatives and friends went to the house of his 17-year-old girlfriend, Sushma Malla, who was supposed to get married to another man the next day. The girl’s relatives chased and attacked the group, where he and his friends died on the spot, 5 more were injured, and 3 others are still missing. 12 people have been arrested for their involvement in the incident.
6. Prof. U.K. Choudhary, founder of Ganga Research Centre at Banaras Hindu University said: "The Ganga water contains a significantly higher proportion of bacteriophages - a kind of virus that kills bacteria. Our ancient scriptures like Vedas, Puranas and Upanishads say that Ganga jal is medicinal water. Scientists later found that Ganga water has bacteriophages capable of killing pathogens.” He suggested that the idea is to preserve the medicinal value of Ganga water and to use it to fight corona. “With increasing diffusion of bacteriophages in water and soil, the spread of coronavirus will be impacted and reduced. This methodology and technique can also help maintain the quality of Ganga water late when the problem of corona ends,” he said.
7. In Germany, on May 10th the Evangelical Christian Baptist Congregation in Frankfurt gathered in person. They observed social distancing, disinfected the entire place, and limited the number of people who could be inside the building. At least 107 people have been found to be infected with the new coronavirus after some of them attended Sunday services at this church. About 40 people tested positive shortly after the service. The rest of the 107 include people who tested positive later on or people they came into contact with. Even when taking all recommended precautions, dozens were still infected.
8. Louisiana House Bill 334 recently passed through the state house after a 72-24 vote. If passed through the state senate, the new law would allow anyone with a concealed carry permit to bring a gun inside a house of worship without anyone else in the congregation knowing about it, unless said house of worship says otherwise. Currently, state law allows individual churches to authorize members to bring concealed weapons into the building, and the congregation must be informed about it.
9. On May 20th, First Pentecostal Church in Holly Springs, Mississippi was burned to the ground shortly after the church sued the city over its stay-at-home orders. The lawsuit was prompted by police breaking up Bible studies and Easter services after members of the congregation refused to comply with the city's strict social distancing guidelines. The arsonist is alleged to have left graffiti on the parking lot reading “Bet you stay home now you hypokrits.” A photograph of the graffiti also appears to show an atomic symbol with an “A” in the center, a symbol commonly associated with atheist groups. So far, no suspect has been identified in relation to this crime.
10. Younus, the brother-in-law of Asia Bibi, a Christian woman previously sentenced to death in Pakistan over allegations of blasphemy, was found dead with his throat slit on the morning of May 25th. Previously in 2011, governor Salman Taseer and Shahbaz Bhatti minister were both assassinated for speaking out against the blasphemy laws that imprisoned Bibi. No changes have been made to the blasphemy laws, as government officials in Pakistan fear deadly backlash.