Tajikistan: Christian convert’s burial delayed as relatives call for husband to return to Islam

Tajikistan: Christian convert’s burial delayed as relatives call for husband to return to Islam
When an elderly Christian woman from a Muslim background died last week in a Tajikistan hospital, her husband Mihrab* and children – all of them Christians – organised a funeral ceremony and invited people from their church. But Mihrab’s Muslim relatives also invited local Muslims, including a cleric, who demanded . . . Read More

Tajikistan’s new Religion Law ‘represents total control’

Tajikistan’s new Religion Law ‘represents total control’
Amendments to Tajikistan’s Religion Law, which came into force in January, have given the state a “total control” over religious freedoms, reports regional news agency Forum 18. “Instead of improving the Law, the amendments worsened it and made it more restrictive. The Law represents total control and is unjust,” human . . . Read More

‘Unprecedented’ persecution of Egypt’s Christians heads 2018 World Watch List

‘Unprecedented’ persecution of Egypt’s Christians heads 2018 World Watch List
More Christians abused in India than in all other countries combined; Nepal enters list Islamic extremists driven out of Iraq and Syria are behind a new intensity of Christian persecution in surrounding countries, says global charity Open Doors in its latest annual survey of countries where it is most difficult . . . Read More

US State Department adds Pakistan to religious-freedom watch list

Burial of victims of a suicide attack on the Methodist Bethel Church in Quetta, Pakistan, on Sunday 17 December in which at least 9 people were killed. (Photo: World Watch Monitor)
The US State Department has placed Pakistan on a “Special Watch List” for severe violators of religious freedom, it announced yesterday (4 January) with the publication of its annual list of ‘Countries of Particular Concern’. The announcement comes as the US government cuts security aid to Pakistan, saying the country . . . Read More

Kazakhstan’s new restrictions to ‘flagrantly’ violate religious rights

At the facility of one of the presbyterian Churches in Kazakhstan
Kazakhstan is set to pass a new set of restrictions on freedom of religion or belief that violate international human rights obligations, according to regional news service Forum 18. The proposed amendments to Kazakhstan’s religion law are currently with the Prime Minister and are expected to be signed into law . . . Read More

Tajik pastor placed in solitary confinement in prison 350km from home

Bahrom and Gulnora Kholmatov
A Tajik Protestant church leader serving a three-year sentence for “singing extremist songs in church and so inciting religious hatred” has been moved to a prison 350km from his home and placed in solitary confinement. Bakhrom Kholmatov, 42, was sentenced in July under the Tajik Criminal Code Article 189 (“inciting . . . Read More

More than 80 countries ‘favour’ one religion over others – Pew Research Center

More than 80 countries ‘favour’ one religion over others – Pew Research Center
Over 80 countries favour a specific religion, either officially as a state religion or tacitly through special treatment, according to a new report by the US-based Pew Research Center. Islam is the most common state religion – 27 countries have it as their official religion, including 16 of the 20 . . . Read More

Tajikistan: three-year sentence for pastor for ‘singing extremist songs’

Bahrom Kholmatov
A Protestant church leader in Tajikistan has been handed a three-year sentence for “singing extremist songs in church and so inciting religious hatred,” reports regional news agency Forum 18. The agency reports that the Tajik authorities have also threatened family, friends and other church members if they reveal any details . . . Read More