Afghanistan: Radical Islamist groups recruit at universities

The Taliban continues to launch deadly attacks, most recently on Wednesday in the capital Kabul where at least 15 people were killed in a suicide attack.(Photo: Getty Images)
While the Afghan government is engaged in peace talks with the hard-line Taliban movement, radical Islamist groups are spreading their ideology at universities. Basira Akhtar, a 22-year-old student, was beaten up twice earlier this year, at her university in the capital Kabul, when her headscarf slipped from her head. In . . . Read More

Christians matter least in Pakistani politics

Pakistan elections (Getty)
As Pakistan prepares for elections later this month, the country’s minorities – particularly its Christians – have expressed dismay at their lack of representation among the candidates. Among the thousands of candidates contesting hundreds of provincial and national constituencies across the country, not a single Christian is nominated by any . . . Read More

USCIRF wants 6 more countries on US Govt’s religious-freedom watch list

USCIRF wants 6 more countries on US Govt’s religious-freedom watch list
The US Commission on International Religious Freedom (USCIRF) wants six more countries to be added to the US State Department’s religious-freedom watch list. The Central African Republic, Nigeria, Pakistan, Russia, Syria, and Vietnam should become ‘Countries of Particular Concern’ (CPCs) – a designation the US government uses to describe countries . . . Read More

Youhanabad dead remembered as Pakistan Senate wants terrorism charges dropped

A candlelit vigil is held on March 17, 2015, to commemorate those killed in the suicide attacks on the Roman Catholic Church and Christ Church in Lahore's Youhanabad area. (Photo: Anadolu Agency/Getty Images)
Hundreds attended a commemoration service on Thursday, 15 March, for those killed and injured in the 2015 Easter suicide attacks on two churches in Youhanabad – the main Christian district in Lahore, Pakistan. The twin suicide bombings, which killed 17 and injured another 80, were claimed by a splinter group . . . Read More

Could Pakistan’s place on US ‘Watch List’ create more problems for minorities?

Could Pakistan’s place on US ‘Watch List’ create more problems for minorities?
The US State Department last week placed Pakistan on a ‘Special Watch List’ for “severe violations of religious freedom”. The US did not, however, go as far as adding it to its ten ‘Countries of Particular Concern’* – for countries where “governments have engaged in or tolerated systematic, ongoing, and . . . Read More

Pakistan’s anti-blasphemy protests showcase minorities’ plight

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)
Anti-blasphemy protests in Pakistan have once again highlighted the fragile position of the country’s religious minorities. Life in various parts of Pakistan virtually came to a halt on Saturday (25 November) after the police, paramilitary and other law enforcement agencies clashed with rioters in the capital, Islamabad, resulting in protests . . . Read More

Pakistani Christians face discrimination in prisons too

Pakistani Christians face discrimination in prisons too
Pakistani Christians, often discriminated against because of their faith and standing as members of Pakistan’s lowest caste, find that discrimination follows them in prisons as well. The justice system is extremely slow in Pakistan and, as a result, thousands of Pakistanis languish in overcrowded jails, having yet to face trial. . . . Read More