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Japanese Unification Church Member Missing PDF Print E-mail
Wednesday, 01 May 2013 00:33

"T.I.” (whose name is protected for privacy) was apparently abducted against his will. He had three cell phones, an unusually high number for a college student, even in technology-rich Japan. One was for everyday use, one was a back-up phone, and one’s specific purpose was its GPS locator. T.I. knew about cases involving parents kidnapping their adult child to reverse their decision to join the Unification Church. He was prepared for this possibility.

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A senior in the College of Science and Engineering at Kanazawa University, 21-year-old T.I. is an adult under Japanese law, which guarantees his right to religious freedom, including the right to adopt a religion which is different from one’s family of origin. T.I. joined the Unification Church’s Collegiate Association for the Research of Principles (CARP) in April, 2011. He then moved into a CARP dormitory that summer.


T.I. informed his family about his affiliation with CARP in June, 2012. His mother reportedly became distraught and asked him to leave the dormitory as soon as possible. His father also opposed to his choice of religion, but did not pressure him about it. While T.I. continued living in the CARP dormitory, he maintained regular communication with his family and informed them that he had received a solid job offer from a non-church company to employ him after his graduation.


Unification Church member Mr. S. lives in the same neighborhood as T.I.’s family. When T.I. visited home last New Year’s Day, he asked Mr. S. for help in case T.I.’s parents were to kidnap him.


Last Updated on Wednesday, 08 May 2013 15:51
Sudan Cracks Down on Christian Churches PDF Print E-mail
Monday, 06 May 2013 23:01

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 19:07
U.S. Government Responds to Iran Imprisoning Christian Pastor PDF Print E-mail
Friday, 05 April 2013 22:05

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 Saturday, 06 April 2013 02:25
Egypt: Religious Differences in a Post-Mubarak State PDF Print E-mail
Thursday, 25 April 2013 02:40

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 19:22
Missing Japanese Woman Is Suspected Victim in String of Human Rights Crimes
Wednesday, 03 April 2013 00:11

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.”

“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.


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