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  • Myanmar Politician Preparing to Seek Legal Limits on Interfaith, Interethnic Marriage

  • Call for Religious Leaders to Teach Acceptance in Malaysia

  • Attacks on religion, liberty

  • Can Muslim lands learn to tolerate Christianity?

  • China vents anger over Dalai Lama's planned Norway visit

  • Militia attack Muslims in Central African Republic's capital

  • Egypt’s new charter stronger on personal freedoms

  • Pussy Riot members freed from prison

  • Frank Wolf, champion of religious freedom, will end congressional career

  • A Political Deal in a Deeply Divided Tunisia as Islamists Agree to Yield Power

  • Egyptian Christians Bridle at Prison Terms for Copts Only in Fatal Clash

  • The Central African Republic descending into ‘complete chaos’

  • French burqa ban challenged in top European court

  • Sharia in Sudan v. women and religious freedom

  • China aims to harness religious beliefs to promote harmony

  • Afghanistan Considers Reinstating Public Stoning for Adultery

  • Sunnis Close Baghdad Mosques to Challenge Religious Attacks

  • Modi campaign stirs religious divide in India's heartland

  • Aung San Suu Kyi, and Myanmar, faces an uncertain future

  • Syrian Christians flee persecution as Patriarch urges them to stay in war-torn country

  • Central African Republic on the verge of genocide, France warns UN

  • Myanmar rejects U.N. resolution on Rohingya Muslims

  • How the State Department Is Getting Religion

  • UN to Myanmar: Make Rohingya Muslims citizens

  • Our Failed Religious Freedom Policy

  • Turkey drops a screen over Christianity

  • Opinion: The oppression of Bahais continues in Iran

  • TAJIKISTAN: "The Law demands that all religious literature be checked by the State"

  • Sudan’s Enduring Question: The Role of Shari'ah in the Constitution and Law

  • The Role of the Hijab Is Becoming a National Problem for Russia

  • For Indian Christian leader, Narendra Modi is a threat to religious freedom

  • Commentary: The two faces of India

  • With 'loving kindness', Myanmar frees 69 political prisoners

  • New U.N. Rights Council Members Are Elected

  • Turkish court lifts headscarf ban for attorneys

  • Egypt's Christians close ranks as kidnappings spike

  • Hundreds of Buddhists in Myanmar protest Organization of Islamic Cooperation’s upcoming visit

  • Frank Wolf Renews Calls for Release of U.S. Pastor from Iranian Prison

  • Many Sunnis and Shias Worry About Religious Conflict

  • China paper blames blind faith of “uncultured” Uighur youth for Xinjiang unrest

  • Turkey's Alevis protest for greater freedoms

  • KAZAKHSTAN: "He was told not to sell religious literature"

  • Myanmar violence between Buddhists, Muslims threatens reforms

  • UZBEKISTAN: Baptist camp ordered seized, Protestant pressured to inform

  • Tibetans Call China’s Policies at Tourist Spot Tacit but Stifling

  • Violence against Muslims threatening Myanmar reforms: U.N. envoy

  • Putin says unnamed foreign foes use radical Islam to weaken Russia

  • Malaysia’s curbs on use of the term ‘Allah’ hurting its moderate Muslim image

  • Vietnamese Court Orders Two Parishioners of Vinh Diocese Jailed

  • Opinion:State Department stays mute on persecuted religious minorities worldwide

  • Turkey, Religious Freedom and the Current State of Christian-Muslim Dialogue (1895)

  • In Nigeria, Wedlock Seen as Terror Fix

  • Northern Iraq no longer safe for Christians

  • Clerics call on UN military force to secure Central African Republic

  • EU condemns Egypt church violence, urges end to religion-based attacks

  • Young Turkish Jews emigrating due to anti-Semitism, tensions with Israel

  • Egypt orders trial of four policemen over killing of Islamist detainees

  • Passion of Pakistani Sufis infuriates Taliban

  • Egyptian writer may face jail for accusations of defaming religion

  • UN expert hails “key breakthrough for religious freedom reached in Cyprus”

  • Kenneth Bae's mother tells of heartbreak after seeing, leaving imprisoned son

  • Conviction of Christians for Murder of Hindu Leader in India Biased, Unfounded, Attorneys Say

  • Opera Fights Hungary’s Rising Anti-Semitism

  • Buddhists and Christians denounce Hanoi for using law to control religions

  • ARMENIA: "Imprisoned conscientious objectors should be immediately and unconditionally released"

  • Bombs planted in confessional box of Syrian church

  • French court upholds Scientology fraud conviction

  • Suzan Johnson Cook to resign as religious freedom ambassador

  • BELARUS: Why is Catholic priest still detained by KGB secret police?

  • Q&A: What Court Decision on Use of ‘Allah’ Means for Malaysia

  • The Surprising Story Of 'Thomas Jefferson's Qur'an'

  • Religious tension runs deep for Vietnam’s minorities

  • Malala Yousafzai wins EU's Sakharov human rights prize

  • Religious liberty takes center stage in diplomacy with Iran

  • Turban row: Sikh NGO wins case against France at UN

  • Vietnam Lets Churches Thrive, but Keeps Control

  • KAZAKHSTAN: Pastor to be transferred from prison to house arrest

  • Kenya Salvation Army Church Torched; Four Killed

  • Chinese activist Chen Guangcheng gets U.S. platform to promote human rights

  • Orthodox leader calls for end Christians' persecution

  • Jewish groups slam Council of Europe Assembly resolution on circumcision

  • Opinion: Quebec’s coup d’etat against religious freedom

  • Small town, big impact: Supreme Court case could define religion’s role in public

  • European council passes anti-ritual circumcision resolution

  • Council of Muftis complain to U.S. reps about disrespect for Muslims in Russia

  • Woman, 94, killed as Buddhist rioters attack Muslim villages in western Myanmar

  • RUSSIA: What's wrong with "extremist" Koran translation?

  • Persecution against Christians increases in many parts of the world

  • How Promotion of Religious Freedom Can Help Prevent Extreme Violence

  • RUSSIA: Muslims rush to challenge Koran "extremism" ruling

  • Judge Ordered Sikh to Remove 'That Rag' from Head, Says ACLU

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    Sudan Cracks Down on Christian Churches PDF Print E-mail
    Written by Mary Henkin   
    Monday, 06 May 2013 18:01

    Sudan banning the construction of Christian churches raises the specter of a country-wide government crackdown on religious freedom for Christianity. Sudanese Minister of Guidance and Endowments, Al Fatih Taj El-sir, announced April 17 that no more licenses will be issued to build churches. He stated a growing number of abandoned churches and lack of worshippers since South Sudan seceded in 2011 as the reason, the Sudan Tribune reported. sudan flag

    Since June 2012 authorities have reportedly destroyed several churches in and around Khartoum, including two churches belonging to the St John’s Episcopal Church. The two churches, located in Khartoum, were bulldozed under the order of the Ministry of Planning, who claimed they lacked permits. In April 2013, several Presbyterian churches were looted. Many other churches have been raided and had their books confiscated for content-checking.

    Simultaneously, since December 2012 there has been “an increase in arrests, detentions and deportations of Christians and of those suspected of having links to them, particularly in Khartoum and Omodorum, Sudan’s largest cities,” Christian Solidarity Worldwide reported.

     

    Last Updated on Wednesday, 08 May 2013 14:07
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    Egypt: Religious Differences in a Post-Mubarak State PDF Print E-mail
    Written by Mary Henkin   
    Wednesday, 24 April 2013 21:40

    Human rights activists are growing increasingly concerned about religious persecution in Egypt. A new President assumed power in June 2012. However, religious violence continues, and in some cases has escalated, since. Censorship is also still at large.coptic_orthodox_cathedral_abbasyia_cairo

    Coptic Orthodox Pope Tawadros II gave an “unprecedented condemnation” of the Islamist president on April 9 after two people were killed exiting a funeral service at Coptic St Mark Cathedral. Four Coptic Christians were being remembered at the service, the National Review reported. The four Copts were killed during a clash between Muslims in northern Cairo.

    Coptic Christians make up the majority of Christians in Egypt and are an estimated 10 percent of the Egyptian population. Although Christianity is noted as one of the “divine religions” in Egypt’s penal code, Coptic Christians receive the most persecution of any religious group.

    A mob of 200 Muslims “hurled fire bombs, live ammunition, tear gas, and rocks” at the Copts as the exited the evening funeral service, the National Review reported. Dozens of Copts were wounded. One Muslim died after “reportedly falling from a ladder, which he had climbed in order to destroy the Cathedral’s security camera.”

    Last Updated on Wednesday, 08 May 2013 14:22
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    Missing Japanese Woman Is Suspected Victim in String of Human Rights Crimes
    Tuesday, 02 April 2013 19:11

    By Dan Fefferman

    A 26 year-old Hiroshima woman missing since March 29 may be the latest victim of a string of human rights crimes in Japan, in which relatives abduct and confine adult females in order to force them to abandon their chosen religion and leave their spouses or fiancés. Shockingly, local police may be cooperating with the perpetrators.chains

    To protect her privacy, the woman has been identified on as “Ms. M.M.” Human rights organizations say hundreds of women in similar circumstances have been abducted, confined against their will and forced to renounce their religion and break their marriages or engagements. According to a U.S. Commission on International Religious Freedom (USCIRF) report March 26, Japanese “families and ‘professional deprogrammers’ have abducted thousands of adult individuals to force them to renounce their chosen beliefs.” http://www.uscirf.gov/reports-and-briefs/did-you-know/3959.html

    “M.M.’s” family had attempted once before to break her faith, in 2012, said a spokesman for the Unification Church in Japan, of which “M.M.” is a member. “She feared she could be abducted and confined so she always carried a GPS device to help locate her in case of a problem.” After becoming concerned when she did not return to her residence on March 29, local church members traced the GPS signal to her parents’ house on March 30, but found no one home when they visited.

    When a church staff member called the hospital where she works on April 30, the hospital told him that they got a phone call from M.M.’s mother saying “My daughter needs some time off from work.” M.M. had been working as hospital care-giver in Hiroshima since her graduation from high school in 2005. She had become engaged to her fiancé in a church ceremony earlier this year.

    Having confirmed the likelihood of her abduction, friends and co-religionists reported her disappearance to the Hiroshima police on April 1. They showed a police official a note from M.M. explaining that she had been put under “house arrest” for 7 days in January of 2012. They also reported their call the hospital, their visit to her home, and why she carried a GPS device.

    Instead of committing to help, the officer replied that “An application to search for a missing person can be submitted only by family members or someone asked by the family members. If this is not the case, we cannot really investigate on it.”

    The unwillingness of police to investigate is part of an ongoing problem noted recently by the Brussels-based organization Human Rights Without Frontiers. "One cannot state that there is Freedom of Religion in Japan,” concluded HRWF director Willy Fautre after a fact-finding investigation in 2011. “The failure to provide the victims of such kidnappings with equal protection under the law, and the impunity of those responsible, constitute a serious violation of the Japanese people's constitutionally guaranteed rights and the international human rights standards to which Japan is legally bound. In a related case, the civil trial of 12-year confinement victim, Toru Goto, is continuing in Tokyo. Mr. Goto alleges that he was imprisoned in a small room in an apartment, subjected to frequent “faith-breaking” sessions, denied fresh air and exercise, and starved into severe malnutrition by his captors during this period.

    In a related case, the civil trial of 12-year confinement victim, Toru Goto, is continuing in Tokyo. Mr. Goto alleges that he was imprisoned in a small room in an apartment, subjected to frequent “faith-breaking” sessions, denied fresh air and exercise, and starved into severe malnutrition by his captors during this period.

     
    U.S. Government Responds to Iran Imprisoning Christian Pastor PDF Print E-mail
    Written by Mary Henkin   
    Friday, 05 April 2013 17:05

    Saeed Abedini, an American Christian pastor and dual Iranian-American citizen, has been imprisoned in Iran’s Evin Prison since September 2012. Abedini was visiting Iran helping build an orphanage when the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps detained him. He is facing an eight-year prison sentence for practicing Christianity in Iran, which the Iranian government claims is a threat to national security. On March 21st the U.S. government finally began speaking out against Abedini’s detainment.

    Abedini has endured multiple beatings that left him unable to recognize himself, he wrote to his family. He did not receive medical attention because the nurse assigned to him refused to touch a Christian. The U.S. government spoke out after intensive pressure from Congress and the media, along with a petition containing 500,000 signatures calling for Abedini’s release.

    On March 21st Ambassador Eileen Chamberlain Donohue addressed Abedini’s case at the United Nations Human Rights Council in Geneva, stating, “We repeat our call for the Government of Iran to release Mr. Abedini, and others who are unjustly imprisoned, and to cease immediately its persecution of all religious minority communities.” Secretary John Kerry stated March 22nd that he is “disturbed by reports that Mr. Abedini has suffered physical and psychological abuse in prison” and that his mistreatment “violates international norms as well as Iran’s own laws.” Read Secretary Kerry’s full statement here.

    Abedini’s wife, Naghmeh, and two children reside in Boise, Idaho.    

    Last Updated on Friday, 05 April 2013 21:25
     

    Women’s Group Leader Condemns Forced Conversion in Japan

    Angelika Selle

    Washington , DC – Wealthy, democratic Japan is not ordinarily thought of as an abuser of human rights. But in that nation today, literally thousands of adults – 80 percent of them women -- have been kidnapped by their family members and subjected to forced conversions because of their chosen faith. The abuse of human rights and dignity embodied in these kidnappings cries out for our attention -- and must end! The victimizations are going unpunished by the authorities because the Japanese government views them as "family matters."

     

    "The institutions of the Japanese legislature, courts, and media must be brought to bear to halt the immediate intolerable abuses," said Angelika Selle, president of the Women's Federation for World Peace USA (WFWP). "However, to achieve a true long-term, sustainable solution to the problem, the institution of the Japanese family must be addressed," she added.

     

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