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

South Sudan’s Christians return to Sudan, despite pressures

Village church in Goli, South Sudan. (Photo: World Watch Monitor)
Many of the Christians who fled Sudan after the South’s independence in 2011 have returned, even though the authorities continue to close churches and harass Christians there, a Catholic priest told The Economist. Prayer centres that were closed have been reopened, Father Juma Charles of St Matthew’s Catholic Cathedral in . . . Read More

Indonesia: Christians cancel event Muslims say would have been ‘arena of apostasy’

Gelora Joko Samudro
Indonesian Christians planning to celebrate the 500th anniversary of Protestant Christianity were forced to abandon a stadium event following threats from Muslim hardliners. “For the sake of interreligious harmony … and to avoid acts of intolerance, the committee decided to call off the national prayer service to mark 500 years . . . Read More

EU ‘wilfully blind’ to risks of deporting Christian converts back to Afghanistan

EU ‘wilfully blind’ to risks of deporting Christian converts back to Afghanistan
European countries and the EU are “wilfully blind” to the risks facing Afghans who fail in their asylum claims and are sent home, according to a new report by Amnesty International. “All returnees face a real risk of serious human rights violations,” says Amnesty, but some, such as religious minorities . . . Read More

More than 80 countries ‘favour’ one religion over others – Pew Research Center

More than 80 countries ‘favour’ one religion over others – Pew Research Center
Over 80 countries favour a specific religion, either officially as a state religion or tacitly through special treatment, according to a new report by the US-based Pew Research Center. Islam is the most common state religion – 27 countries have it as their official religion, including 16 of the 20 . . . Read More