India: 16 more Christians detained under Jharkhand’s ‘anti-conversion law’

A number of the Christians who were arrested by police, after they held a prayer service at the house of a Christian family in Phulpahari, India. (Photo: World Watch Monitor)
A group of 16 Indian tribal Christians who visited another tribal family in the eastern state of Jharkhand to talk to them about Christianity are in police custody after the local village head accused them of “conversion by inducement”. Last year, Jharkhand became the seventh Indian state to introduce a . . . Read More

Kazakhstan: 69 punished for practising faith in first half of 2018

Inside an Orthodox Church in Almaty
Courts in Kazakhstan prosecuted at least 69 individuals, religious communities or organisations for religious activities in the first half of this year, according to Oslo-based news service Forum 18. Punishments included fines of up to four months’ average salary (US$1,400) and three-month bans on activities such as distributing religious literature or . . . Read More

Foreign Christian students targeted by Russia’s security services

Foreign Christian students targeted by Russia’s security services
Foreign students of Pentecostal churches in Russia’s Nizhny Novgorod region have become a particular target for the authorities under the so-called “anti-missionary” law introduced two years ago, Forum 18 reports. The vague definition of “missionary activity” in the law, officially titled the Yarovaya Law after one of its authors, has meant that law . . . Read More

Indian state’s ‘anti-conversion law’ to be repealed

Indian state’s ‘anti-conversion law’ to be repealed
Christian groups have welcomed a surprise announcement by a nationalist chief minister of a state in north-east India that he will ensure that a law preventing conversions from one faith to another is repealed. Pema Khandu, a Buddhist who heads the nationalist BJP-led state government in Arunachal Pradesh, told an . . . Read More

Russia: new ruling could reduce prosecutions under ‘anti-missionary’ law

Russia's Constitutional Court
Lawyers working for Christian and other minority religious organisations in Russia have welcomed a Constitutional Court ruling over the country’s so-called “anti-missionary law”, reports regional news agency Forum 18. The March ruling helps to partially clarify what is missionary activity. It stated that “giving information about religious events would constitute . . . Read More

North Korea: US citizens set for release ahead of Trump-Kim talks

The three Americans have been detained on charges ranging from committing "hostile acts" against the regime to spying for a foreign country. (Photo: World Watch Monitor)
Three American citizens detained in North Korea seem set to be released ahead of a meeting between the two countries’ leaders next month. The BBC reported that the three men had been “relocated to a Pyongyang hotel and are receiving good food and medical care”. US President Donald Trump tweeted . . . Read More

Russia’s religious communities face ‘unclear’ requirements

Russia’s religious communities face ‘unclear’ requirements
Legal requirements applied to the expression of freedom of religion in Russia impose a significant burden on religious communities not recognised by the state – in the shape of fines, legal costs and bureaucracy – reports regional news agency Forum 18. The requirements are “unclear” and applied “inconsistently”, Forum 18 . . . Read More

On trial for terrorism and espionage in a Turkish court

On trial for terrorism and espionage in a Turkish court
Just one prisoner, slightly built, came through a side door, escorted on either side by armed gendarmerie soldiers, walking him past rows and rows of empty seats. Dressed in a dark suit and white shirt, he glanced up at the impressive state-of-the-art courtroom, built to accommodate 650 people. Its walls . . . Read More

Christian missionaries a ‘threat’ to India’s unity, says MP

Houses were vandalised during an attack on four Christian families in Katholi village, Chhattisgarh state, while members of the ruling Hindu nationalist party seek to "sow discord among religious communities". (Photo: World Watch Monitor, 2016)
Christian missionaries are a threat to India’s unity, a Hindu-nationalist parliamentarian told reporters on Saturday (21 April). “Christian missionaries control the Congress,” said Bharat Singh, an MP for the ruling Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP). “Sonia Gandhi, the mother of Congress president Rahul Gandhi, works on the directions of these missionaries. . . . Read More

North Korean explains growing up under Kim dynasty, and how his perception of Christianity changed

North Korean explains growing up under Kim dynasty, and how his perception of Christianity changed
Every year, for the birthdays of North Korea’s Kim dynasty founder, Kim Il-sung, and his son and successor, Kim Jong-il, John Choi* would receive a large pack of sweets from his parents. So would all his primary-school peers. However, before unpacking his present, John was told to follow the ritual . . . Read More