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

Kazakh ‘sting operation’ to catch out Christian backfires

Kazakh ‘sting operation’ to catch out Christian backfires
A Kazakhstan court has acquitted a Christian women accused of “missionary activity” after she was caught in an “apparent sting operation”, reports regional news agency Forum 18. Police officers arrested Dilobarkhon Sultanova in January after she helped Elmira Inibekova download a Bible app to her mobile phone. The two women . . . Read More

US agency accuses Russia of abusing anti-extremism laws

US agency accuses Russia of abusing anti-extremism laws
Russia’s anti-extremism laws are being used to crack down on peaceful religious minorities such as Protestants, Jehovah’s Witnesses and Hare Krishnas, the top US religious-freedom watchdog says. A report commissioned by the US Commission on International Religious Freedom (USCIRF) found that “vague and problematic definitions of ‘extremism’ in Russian law . . . Read More