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

‘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

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

India: Police slow to register case after church burnt down by suspected Hindu extremists

India: Police slow to register case after church burnt down by suspected Hindu extremists
A church in Puducherry in southern India was set ablaze recently, after upper-caste Hindu neighbours had objected to worship services in the area. Puducherry, formerly Pondicherry, was a French colonial settlement until 1954. Pastor David Santosham and members of the Bible Presbyterian church in Karaikal District left for home after . . . 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

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

‘State-sponsored repression’ behind Eritrea’s refugee epidemic

Eritrea remains “one of the worst examples of state-sponsored repression of freedom of religion or belief in the world”, says USCIRF Commissioner.  (Photo: World Watch Monitor)
“State-sponsored repression” is the reason Eritrea is one of the world’s main sources of refugees, a US human rights commission has heard. The East African country is not at war, nor does it suffer from terrorism, but some estimate that as many as 10 per cent of Eritreans have fled . . . Read More