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Increase in religious harassment globally – Pew

Increase in religious harassment globally – Pew
Restrictions on religion around the world continued to climb in 2016, as more governments tightened controls on religious practices, populist parties increasingly used rhetoric to attack religious minorities, and the harassment of religious groups increased. A 138-page report by the Washington-based Pew Research Center into global restrictions on religion in . . . Read More

China’s ‘underground’ churches told to seek ‘guidance’ from state-approved bodies

A house church meeting in China in 2005. (Photo: World Watch Monitor)
A newly implemented directive from the Chinese government forces Protestant ‘house churches’ and Catholic ‘underground’ communities to seek “guidance” from recognised religious organisations. A notification from the State Administration for Religious Affairs, issued earlier this month, requires organisers of religious activities at temporary sites to also apply for a permit . . . Read More

UN chief ‘personally concerned’ about return of Christians to Iraq and Syria

Tree and Arabic painting on the wall in Bashiqa, a town near Mosul in Iraq where Christians are slowly returning, saying: "Tomorrow will be more beautiful." (will be better) (Photo: World Watch Monitor)
The UN’s Secretary General has stressed the importance of Christians returning to the areas from which they fled in Iraq and Syria. “I am fully convinced that after the stability of the situation in Iraq and Syria and the adoption of a certain political decision, it is very important to . . . Read More

Tajikistan: Christian convert’s burial delayed as relatives call for husband to return to Islam

Tajikistan: Christian convert’s burial delayed as relatives call for husband to return to Islam
When an elderly Christian woman from a Muslim background died last week in a Tajikistan hospital, her husband Mihrab* and children – all of them Christians – organised a funeral ceremony and invited people from their church. But Mihrab’s Muslim relatives also invited local Muslims, including a cleric, who demanded . . . Read More

What churches can do to help victims of sexual violence in conflict to stay ‘part of us’

Women affected by violence in the Central African Republic, have formed self-help groups in the capital Bangui and run a small shop where they sell their products. (Photo: Open Doors International)
Adrienne* survived a brutal sexual attack during a conflict with ex-Seleka militants in Central African Republic (CAR), only to be ostracised from her own community. Adrienne was alone in her greatest time of need, and the baby born to her nine months later bears the same vulnerabilities, and a label: a . . . Read More

India: Police slow to register case after church burnt down by suspected Hindu extremists

India: Police slow to register case after church burnt down by suspected Hindu extremists
A church in Puducherry in southern India was set ablaze recently, after upper-caste Hindu neighbours had objected to worship services in the area. Puducherry, formerly Pondicherry, was a French colonial settlement until 1954. Pastor David Santosham and members of the Bible Presbyterian church in Karaikal District left for home after . . . Read More

A ‘dire time for human rights in Russia’ as World Cup begins

The 2018 FIFA World Cup started today with a kick-off at the Luzhniki stadium in the capital Moscow. (Photo: Sandra Montanez - FIFA/FIFA via Getty Images)
“This is a very dire time for human rights in Russia,” according to the Russia programme director for Human Rights Watch, Tanya Lokshina, speaking ahead of the start of the 2018 Football World Cup, which kicked off in Moscow earlier today. Since Vladimir Putin became Russia’s president again in 2012 . . . Read More