‘Eliminate’ blasphemy laws, says US commission chief on International Blasphemy Day

In some countries blasphemy is a very sensitive topic and often leads to riots and violence, like in Islamabad, Pakistan, in November 2017.(Photo: World Watch Monitor)
Blasphemy laws are “dangerous” and should be “eliminated”, the chair of the US Commission on International Religious Freedom (USCIRF) told Newsweek yesterday on International Blasphemy Day. The freedom to criticise or mock religion should not be decided by governments and their interpretation of laws, said Dr. Tenzin Dorjee. And it . . . Read More

Kurdistan elections: Christian parties want ‘real needs’ of minority to be heard

The site of Mar Elia Church in Erbil, the capital of Iraqi Kurdistan region, where hundreds of Christians camped, displaced by Islamic State. (Photo: World Watch Monitor)
The Christian minority in Iraqi Kurdistan is hoping for its “real” representatives to be voted into the Kurdish regional parliament this Sunday, 30 September, reports Kurdish news service Rudaw. The presidential and parliamentary elections in the semi-autonomous region in northern Iraq are the first after a referendum last year in . . . Read More

Religious freedom a prerequisite for sustainable development, expert says

Poverty cannot be eradicated through government intervention alone but it needs the help of "innovative faith-based initiatives", says Brian Grim. (Photo: World Watch Monitor)
As half a million people in 900 cities around the world campaign today for “sustainable” development goals, Brian Grim, president of the Religious Freedom and Business Foundation, argues that this cannot be achieved without religious freedom. “There is a strong and positive relationship between religious freedom and sustainable development as . . . Read More

Nepal’s criminalisation of conversion a ‘direct infringement’ of religious freedom

Nepal’s criminalisation of conversion a ‘direct infringement’ of religious freedom
The clause in Nepal’s constitution that prohibits religious conversions was added to “protect Hinduism at the expense of other religions”, says advocacy group CSW, on the third anniversary of the amended constitution. As World Watch Monitor reported, Nepal’s Christian minority feared that the so-called “anti-conversion” measure, which came into force . . . Read More

‘Not all incidents are religiously motivated’ – Pakistan professor

Sabir Michael (YouTube / Academy for Cultural Diplomacy)
A Pakistani professor has warned that some social media activists and religious leaders are falsely portraying incidents as religiously motivated to stoke intolerance, reports UCAN. Sabir Michael, assistant professor at the Shaheed Zulfikar Ali Bhutto Institute of Science and Technology in Karachi, cited three recent incidents that he said were reported . . . Read More

Fall in Christian refugee admissions ‘suggests Trump has no real interest in religious persecution’

Iraqi Christians who fled Islamic State have found shelter in a church yard in Erbil, Iraq. (Photo: World Watch Monitor)
The United States, under President Trump, has admitted 40 per cent fewer Christian refugees in the past year, US broadcaster NBC News has reported. As the Trump administration has implemented stricter policies on immigration and refugees, almost 11,000 Christians looking for a safe place to go were reportedly refused entry to . . . Read More