International Institute for Religious Freedom
Bonn – Brussels/Geneva – Cape Town – Colombo – Brasília
In 1683, centuries of Islamic advance through military conquest came to a halt at the gates of Vienna. Islam then went into almost 300 years of decline. In the early 1770s, an Arab named Muhammad ibn Abdul Wahhab embraced the teachings of Ibn Taymiyya denouncing idolatry and syncretism in Islam.
Islam's founder, Muhammad, once decreed: 'Whoever changes his Islamic religion, kill him.' (Sahih Al-Bukhari Vol. 9:57) This hadith (saying of Muhammad) is the basis for Islam's law that deems apostasy (leaving Islam) a capital offence. Islamic states generally do not execute apostates but they do tolerate 'honour killings' and the Sharia-enforcing violence of Islamic vigilantes.
Early on 1 July, armed masked men broke into the Salesian mission complex in Sirsiya, which is close to the Indian border and due south of Kathmandu.
Basilan Island is the northern-most island in the Southern Philippines Sulu Archipelago, lying just south of western Mindanao's Zamboanga Peninsula. Except for its capital city, Isabela, Basilan is part of the Autonomous Region of Muslim Mindanao (ARMM). Basilan is also a base of the al-Qaeda-linked militant Islamic group, Abu Sayyaf, a militarily weak but barbaric terrorist outfit that funds and sustains its 'jihad' (Islamic 'holy war') through crime.
On 18 June Yemeni news source Sahwa Net reported that political security forces in the west coast city of Hodaiha arrested seven members of a 'missionary cell' and charged them with promoting Christianity and distributing the Bible.
In February 1998 India's Hindu nationalist Barantya Janata Party (BJP) rose to power on a platform of hard-line Hindu nationalism. The BJP's election slogan was 'One People, One Nation, One Culture' (i.e. Hindu culture). Systematic, violent persecution of Christians escalated nationwide under BJP rule.
A crude but powerful bomb exploded outside Zamboanga's large modern metropolitan Cathedral of the Immaculate Conception at 4:20am on Sunday 13 April. While it caused no injuries, that was not the intention of the bombers.
Xinjiang Autonomous Region is the western-most province of China. Covering 16 percent of China's land mass it is resource-rich with oil, gas, gold, jade and minerals. The indigenous people of the region are Turkic-Muslim Uighurs (pronounced wee-gurs). Like indigenous Christians in all Muslim-majority totalitarian states, Uighur Christians in Xinjiang are targeted from all sides.
On Tuesday 1 July the Jakarta Post reported: "All factions in the House of Representatives have agreed to pass legislation giving a legal basis for the implementation of special autonomy in the new province of West Papua."
International Crisis Group (ICG) has just released an informative and significant report on the escalating ethnic and religious tensions in Papua (eastern Indonesia).