International Institute for Religious Freedom
Bonn – Brussels/Geneva – Cape Town – Colombo – Brasília
Twelve months ago the world's media was transfixed by the sight of thousands of courageous, marching, anti-junta Buddhist monks in Rangoon, Burma. It has been both astounding therefore and sad that the largest public demonstrations to occur in Vietnam since the Communists took power have attracted only the most minimal attention. But the Hanoi demonstrations, which are taking the form of mass prayer vigils attended by candle, cross and flower-holding, singing, praying Catholics, are immensely significant. So WEA RLC will be following the situation, which is escalating week by week.
Apostasie (das Verlassen des Islams) ist in jedem islamischen Land ein enorm riskantes, zuweilen sogar tödliches Unterfangen. Das ist nichts Neues für die Betroffenen und auch nicht für jeden, der sich ernsthaft mit Religionsfreiheit beschäftigt.
That apostasy (leaving Islam) is an enormously risky even deadly business in any Muslim country is not news to any apostate or to any serious religious liberty observer. That the United Nations High Commission on Refugees (UNHCR) does not always share this view however is news to many.
A violent anti-Christian Hindu pogrom erupted in Orissa (northeast India) on 23 August that has claimed dozens of lives, including that of a 20-year-old nun burned to death in an orphanage. Numerous others have been injured, many seriously, including another young nun who was pack raped. Casualties are mounting daily in the wake of ethnic-religious cleansing.
While the president is empowering and appeasing Islamists for personal political gain, the new Chief Justice of the Constitutional Court is courageously striking out against unconstitutional Sharia bylaws. The battle for Indonesia is heating up and the 2009 elections could prove decisive.
In 1969 a Hindutva (Hindu nationalist) proselytiser named Swami Laxmanananda Saraswati established an Ashram (Hindu religious centre) in Kandhamal district, Orissa state, north-east India, and committed himself to countering the work of Christian missionaries.
On Thursday 7 August, President Maumoon Abdul Gayoom ratified Maldives' new Constitution to much fanfare from the Western media which is applauding the government for its embrace of democratic reforms.
The provincial government of North Cotabato, a predominantly Christian province of Mindanao, Southern Philippines, has petitioned the Supreme Court to issue a Temporary Restraining Order to stop the Philippine government signing a secret deal with the Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF) on 5 August that would expand the Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao and give the Muslim entity all the elements of a state.
On 18 June Yemeni news source Al Sahwa reported that Yemeni political security forces in Hodiada province had arrested a "missionary cell" of seven people and charged them with promoting Christianity and distributing the Bible. One of those arrested, Hadni Dohni, stands accused of converting to Christianity.
On 8 May, media across the world ran with the news: "Malaysian woman can leave Islam." (BBC headline) Jurist, which reports legal news, commented: "Religious rights groups hailed the decision as a landmark ruling for interfaith relations."