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

Report: UN weakness on religious freedom undercuts its authority on human rights

Dressed in the saffron colour, groups such these are promoting the nationalist cause for India to be a Hindu-nation. (Photo: World Watch Monitor)
The UN cannot strengthen, promote and protect human rights if it does not prioritise religious freedom, a report published by the Washington-based human rights alliance, ADF International has argued. The 73-page report, titled “Anti-Conversion Laws and the International Response”, claims that “some UN entities, especially special rapporteurs, have highlighted the . . . Read More

Tunisia’s religious freedom curbed by societal pressure – UN Rapporteur

The Malik ibn Anas Mosque in Carthage, near the capital Tunis. (Photo: World Watch Monitor)
Old laws and societal pressure pose the greatest challenges to religious freedom in Tunisia, concluded the UN Special Rapporteur on Freedom of Religion or Belief, Ahmed Shaheed, after a ten-day visit. Though Tunisia’s 2014 Constitution guarantees religious freedom, there is still work to be done to align its laws and . . . Read More

Saudi school textbooks still ‘promote hatred toward religious minorities’ – USCIRF

A school complex in Medina, Saudi Arabia. (Photo by Ikhlasul Amal via Flickr; CC 2.0)
School textbooks in Saudi Arabia still include content “promoting violence and hatred toward religious minorities and others”, according to the United States Commission on International Religious Freedom (USCIRF). Even though the Saudi government has been “engaged in textbook reform for the last 15 years”, a new study by USCIRF found . . . Read More

Malaysian Federal Court refuses four people their right to affirm Christian identity

The Palace of Justice in Putrajaya, Malaysia. (Photo: World Watch Monitor)
Malaysia’s highest court dismissed an appeal today (27 February) against four appellants who wanted to be formally recognised as Christians. The five judges of the Malaysian Federal Court ruled that in matters of conversion away from Islam, it was necessary for them to consult the Islamic Sharia courts. The president . . . Read More

Saudi Arabia is modernising, but will this mean greater freedom for religious minorities?

Saudi Arabia is modernising, but will this mean greater freedom for religious minorities?
The political landscape in the strict Islamic Kingdom of Saudi Arabia is changing, and quickly. A charismatic crown prince seems determined to modernise his country and even speaks of a shift towards a more “moderate” Islam. But will the changes taking place in Saudi also ease the situation for members . . . Read More

­Maldives activist investigated for ‘blasphemy’ over ‘religions other than Islam’ tweet

Shahindha Ismail (Photo: Twitter)
An activist in the Maldives has received death threats and is being investigated for “blasphemy” after posting a tweet in response to President Abdulla Yameen’s comment that his government would not allow any other religion in the country than Islam. Shahindha Ismail, executive director of the Maldives Democracy Network, tweeted: . . . Read More

Freedom of thought ‘regressing on a global scale’

There are many Pakistani Christian women like Aasiya Noreen who live in fear of the Blasphemy law in their country and the (potential of) abuse. (Photo: World Watch Monitor)
The 2017 Freedom of Thought Report, presented yesterday (5 December), should be alarming “to all who care about freedom of thought and expression”, as it shows “a pattern of regression on a global scale”, says its editor, Bob Churchill. The report, published by the International Humanist and Ethical Union (IHEU) . . . Read More