Modi speaks out against ‘menace’ of mob attacks for first time

Attacks on Christians in India by Hindu extremists are on the increase and often their church buildings are destroyed as well, like this one in central India.
India’s prime minister Narendra Modi has for the first time condemned violence against minorities, saying that everyone has a duty to fight the “menace” of mob lynchings. But his critics say that, after four years in power at the head of a Hindu nationalist government, the comments have come too . . . Read More

Non-state actors behind most religious freedom violations in Indonesia – report

Young people join protests against the former Christian Jakarta governor Ahok who was convicted of blasphemy in May last year. (Photo: World Watch Monitor)
The number of religious freedom violations in Indonesia grew again in 2017 and for the first time non-state actors were the worst offenders, reports the Jakarta Globe. Last year 213 incidents were reported, 4% more than the year before, according to the annual report of the human rights group Wahid . . . Read More

‘Only jihadists want to see Christians leave the Middle East’

Around 300 Christians went to Bartella during the Easter weekend of 2017, to have the very first Easter celebration in three years in their home town. A convoy of about 15 buses travelled from Erbil, crossing several Kurdish and Iraqi army checkpoints to reach the church. The people still live in Erbil and cannot go back to Bartella to live or to rebuild. But for this day many take the chance to celebrate Easter in their own church again. (Open Doors International)
“The only people that want to see all Christians leave are some of the violent jihadists,” concludes a new book. “Everyone else, including some we might term as Islamists, desires their continued presence. They recognise that it is Christians who are the leaven that permeates the whole of society.” The . . . Read More

‘When religious freedom is protected, women’s rights are strengthened’ – US ambassador

‘When religious freedom is protected, women’s rights are strengthened’ – US ambassador
There is a strong link between religious freedom and the facilitation of women’s rights, according to the US Ambassador to the Vatican, Callista Gingrich. In an article for Fox News, Gingrich argues that “when religious freedom is protected, women’s rights are strengthened and societies flourish”. “Female victims of religious discrimination . . . Read More

Indonesia’s religious minorities protest against closure of worship places

Indonesia’s religious minorities protest against closure of worship places
Indonesian Christians and Ahmadiyya Muslims gathered together in West Java over the weekend to protest against the closure of several of their places of worship, Catholic news agency UCAN reports. Over 100 people took part in a range of events, including the sharing of personal stories of discrimination. The participants . . . Read More

Malaysia’s new chief justice is a Catholic

The Palace of Justice in Putrajaya, Malaysia. (Photo: World Watch Monitor)
A Catholic has been appointed as the new chief justice in majority-Muslim Malaysia, reports the Catholic news agency UCAN. The appointment of Richard Malanjum, 65, from Sabah state on the predominantly Christian island of Borneo, follows elections in May in which the Barisan Nasional coalition government was ousted. It “signifies . . . Read More

‘Total impunity’ in India, as Muslims and Christians ‘bear brunt of ruling ideology’

‘Total impunity’ in India, as Muslims and Christians ‘bear brunt of ruling ideology’
Frequent reports of violent attacks against India’s religious minorities show the “total impunity” enjoyed by their Hindu nationalist attackers, says one civil rights activist. In one recent attack, a pastor, his wife and their congregation were attacked at their ‘house church’ in India’s southern Tamil Nadu state on Sunday (8 . . . Read More