Indonesia: Christian politician accused of blasphemy for opposing Sharia-based bylaws

Twitter @grace_nat
A young Christian politician has been accused of blasphemy in Indonesia after criticising Sharia-based bylaws, Catholic news agency UCAN reports. Grace Natalie, 36, the chairwoman of the Indonesian Solidarity Party (PSI), was reported to police by a conservative Muslim organisation after delivering her speech at her party’s gathering in Tangerang, near . . . Read More

Pakistan PM appeals for calm after Christian woman acquitted of blasphemy

Khan calls for calm (Getty)
Pakistan’s prime minister, Imran Khan, this evening urged the nation not to let a fraction of people incite them to take the law into their own hands over the decision of the Supreme Court to release a Christian woman who had been facing the death penalty for blasphemy. The security . . . Read More

Religious minorities fear backlash as Sunni Islam declared state religion of Comoros

Religious minorities fear backlash as Sunni Islam declared state religion of Comoros
On Monday 30 July, the “Yes” vote recorded an overwhelming victory in the referendum on constitutional reforms in the southeast African island nation of Comoros, declaring Sunni Islam the “religion of the state”. “The state draws from this religion the principles and rules of Sunnite observance,” the amended constitution reads. . . . Read More

Syria: Christians and Yazidis among 250,000 displaced in Afrin

Turkish-backed Syrian rebels walk past a burning shop in Afrin on 18 March. (Photo: BULENT KILIC/AFP/Getty Images)
Significant numbers of Christians and Yazidis have fled their homes in northern Syria’s Afrin enclave, World Magazine reports, ever since Islamist militants joined with the Turkish military this past January to oust Syrian Kurdish fighters from the region along Turkey’s border. Turkey considers the Kurdish YPG (People’s Protection Units) to . . . Read More

Malaysian bishops: ‘We need leaders who truly care for the people’

Malaysian bishops: ‘We need leaders who truly care for the people’
For the first time in six decades, several high-profile Malaysian church leaders have publicly called for a change of government. On 24 April the Catholic Bishops’ Conference of Malaysia issued a pastoral letter, saying: “We need to choose leaders who truly care for the rakyat [people], promote justice and equality, stand . . . Read More

Tunisia’s religious freedom curbed by societal pressure – UN Rapporteur

The Malik ibn Anas Mosque in Carthage, near the capital Tunis. (Photo: World Watch Monitor)
Old laws and societal pressure pose the greatest challenges to religious freedom in Tunisia, concluded the UN Special Rapporteur on Freedom of Religion or Belief, Ahmed Shaheed, after a ten-day visit. Though Tunisia’s 2014 Constitution guarantees religious freedom, there is still work to be done to align its laws and . . . Read More

Iran: do non-Muslims have the right to hold elected public office or not?

Iran: do non-Muslims have the right to hold elected public office or not?
In Iran, which is 90-95 per cent Shia Muslim, the passing of a date set for a decision over whether a non-Muslim can hold an elected public office is significant for the country’s religious minorities and their rights. The date, April 5, passed without that decision being made for a . . . Read More

Brunei takes another step towards full implementation of Sharia

Parliament building in Brunei's capital, Bandar Seri Begawan. (Photo: World Watch Monitor)
Brunei’s Sultan and his Islamic Religious Council have approved a draft Criminal Code that brings the country another step closer to the full implementation of Sharia (Islamic law), the Borneo Bulletin reports. The draft outlines procedures for investigation, prosecution and the judiciary, and would facilitate the introduction of harsher punishments . . . Read More

Pakistan Senate seeks same sentences for blasphemy offenders and those who falsely accuse

In November there were widespread anti-blasphemy protests in Islamabad and other cities in reaction to proposed changes to an election law. (Photo: World Watch Monitor)
Pakistan’s Senate Special Committee on Human Rights has recommended that those who falsely accuse someone of blasphemy should receive the same punishment as those convicted of blasphemy. The Committee also said registration of a blasphemy case should include a minimum of two witnesses who support the charges. Right-wing political parties . . . Read More