Landmark judgment on Pakistani religious minorities yet to be honoured by the state

Landmark judgment on Pakistani religious minorities yet to be honoured by the state
When a bomber killed 127 people at a Pakistan church, the country’s Supreme Court issued a list of instructions to the government to protect religious minorities. Four years later, the government has yet to follow most of them. As with the religious freedom guaranteed in Pakistan’s constitution, the government’s lacklustre . . . Read More

Four-year sentence for Indonesian pastor who evangelised a taxi driver

Four-year sentence for Indonesian pastor who evangelised a taxi driver
A Protestant pastor has been sentenced to four years in prison for religious defamation after discussing Christianity with a Muslim taxi driver in Indonesia, the Jakarta Post reports. The Tangerang District Court in Banten also ordered that Rev. Abraham Ben Moses, 52, pay a fine of 50 million Rupiah (US$3,565) . . . 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

Gunman shoots Pakistan minister over blasphemy law

Gunman shoots Pakistan minister over blasphemy law
Pakistan’s interior minister, who has championed the country’s minority communities, has survived an assassination attempt by a gunman protesting against the country’s blasphemy laws. Ahsan Iqbal was shot in the arm before police overpowered his suspected attacker, 21-year-old Abid Hussain, the BBC reported. Iqbal was shot on Sunday (6 May) . . . Read More

Iran: appeal heard by judge with ‘poor track record in dealing with Christians’

Iran: appeal heard by judge with ‘poor track record in dealing with Christians’
Four Iranian Christians each sentenced to at least ten years in prison had their first appeal hearing yesterday (25 April). In the hearing, initially scheduled for February but postponed, a judge heard the case of Christian converts Hadi Asgari, Amin Afshar-Naderi, Kaviyan Fallah-Mohammadi and Assyrian pastor Victor Bet-Tamraz. At least . . . Read More

Pakistan’s top judge says he’ll hear Asia Bibi’s appeal personally – and ‘soon’

Aasiya Noreen, a Pakistani Christian woman, has been on death row for over eight years for alleged blasphemy. (Photo: World Watch Monitor)
Pakistan’s chief justice says he will decide, “soon,” the fate of Aasiya Noreen, a Christian woman whose 2009 conviction on blasphemy charges has fixated world attention on the country’s treatment of religious minorities. Chief Justice Saqib Nisar told Noreen’s lawyer, Saif-ul-Malook, on 21 April that he would hear the woman’s . . . Read More

Coptic teacher cleared of contempt of religion for questions about Muhammad

Coptic teacher cleared of contempt of religion for questions about Muhammad
A Coptic teacher has been found not guilty of contempt of religion, after he was charged last month for including wordplays in a set of questions about Islam’s prophet, Muhammad. During the hearing on 19 April, both the headmaster of the school and a local MP defended the teacher, Magdy Farag . . . 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

‘Extremists given a free hand’ – Human Rights Commission of Pakistan

Pakistani Christians experience an increase in violence such as a suicide attack on the Bethel Methodist Church in Quetta in December last year that killed more than ten and injured dozens of people. (Photo: World Watch Monitor)
Two Pakistani Christians were killed and at least three injured in a drive-by shooting on Sunday (15 April) in Essa Nagri, a Christian-majority area in Quetta, capital of the impoverished Balochistan province in the southwest. The victims, aged 19 and 28, had just left a church service when they were . . . Read More

‘Finally my father is home’ – Slimane Bouhafs released after 18 months in jail

Slimane Bouhafs has been released after 18 months in prison for alleged blasphemy on Facebook. (Photo: World Watch Monitor)
The daughter of Slimane Bouhafs, an Algerian Christian who has spent the last 18 months in prison for insulting Islam and its prophet, has announced her father’s release. “Finally my father … has been allowed back to us,” his daughter, Tilelli, wrote on her Facebook page on Easter Saturday. “Thank . . . Read More