Pakistan’s new cardinal says government unable to stop religious extremism

Newly-appointed Pakistani Cardinal Joseph Coutts during a courtesy visit of relatives following the ceremony for the creation of new cardinals at St. Peter's Basilica in the Vatican on 28 June. (Photo: TIZIANA FABI/AFP/Getty Images)
Pakistan’s first cardinal in nearly a quarter of a century says his country’s government is unable to control Islamic extremism. “Our government is not strong enough to control the kind of extremism that has developed in the country,” Joseph Coutts, Archbishop of Karachi since 2012, said, adding: “It is enough to accuse . . . Read More

India: 15 Christians accused of ‘conversion’ in Jharkhand

Seven Indian states have an “anti-conversion law”; the Hindu nationalist BJP is the ruling party in six of them. (Photo: World Watch Monitor)
Police in the eastern Indian state of Jharkhand have arrested four and are investigating 11 other Christians on charges of conversion, reported Christian Solidarity Worldwide (CSW). The arrest of the four in the village of Podkher, Simdega district, on 29 May is the first reported case since Jharkhand introduced anti-conversion . . . Read More

Four Iranian Christians set to begin ten-year prison sentences

From left: Saheb Fadaie, Youcef Nadarkhani, Yasser Mossayebzadeh and Mohammad Reza Omidi.
The four Iranian Christians who saw their ten-year prison sentences upheld by an appeal court earlier this month are expecting to have to report to prison any day now. Pastor Youcef Nadarkhani, and fellow Church of Iran members Yasser Mossayebzadeh, Saheb Fadaie and Mohammad Reza Omidi could receive a call . . . Read More

Maldives to EU: ‘Islam shall be the basis of all laws’

Only Muslims can be citizens of the Maldives is Muslim, and citizenship is revoked if one chooses another faith. (Photo: World Watch Monitor)
The Maldives government has told the European Union it will not consider amending its constitution to allow for religious freedom in the country, reports Maldives-based news site Avas Online. A report by the EU’s Electoral Follow-up Mission (EFM), published last week, said the Maldives had implemented none of the 22 . . . Read More

What makes Pakistan’s small religious minorities so significant?

What makes Pakistan’s small religious minorities so significant?
Pakistan conducted its first census in 19 years in July. All the results have now been released, except those on religious minorities. The government has provided no explanation. On 22 November a small group of protesters, mostly Christians, gathered outside the Press Club in Lahore, the major city in Pakistan’s . . . Read More

Religious freedom in Nepal ‘teetering on the edge’

Within less then 24 hours after the provisions on religion were approved by the Constituent Assembly in September 2015, 3 churches in the eastern Jhapa district were bombed. (Photo: World Watch Monitor)
Nepali president Bidhya Devi Bhandari last week signed into law a bill criminalising religious conversion and the “hurting of religious sentiment”, as two parliamentarians warn religious freedom in the country is “teetering on the edge”. Nepali MP Lokmani Dhakal and Canadian MP David Anderson expressed their concerns after an international . . . Read More

Georgia set to pass Constitutional amendments that ‘violate’ religious freedom

Georgia set to pass Constitutional amendments that ‘violate’ religious freedom
Georgia’s parliament is tomorrow (26 September) set to sign into law changes to the country’s Constitution, including restrictions to freedom of religion or belief, which, human rights defenders say, will be used to “legitimise” violations. The proposed amendments would restrict religious freedom on the basis of “state [national] security or . . . Read More