International Institute for Religious Freedom
Bonn – Brussels/Geneva – Cape Town – Colombo – Brasília
Tuesday 16 February was North Korean president 'Dear Leader' Kim Jong- il's birthday. As very little news makes it out of the 'Hermit Kingdom' to 'trigger' a prayer bulletin, we will take this opportunity to focus on the unsurpassed suffering in North Korea.
Global Council of Indian Christians (GCIC) recorded 72 attacks on Christians in India's southern state of Karnataka in 2009, the most of any Indian state. According to Compass Direct (CD), this year's record is 'keeping pace'.
Eritrea is a highly repressive totalitarian state with an estimated 20,000 political prisoners. In September 2001 President Isaias Afewerki launched a campaign of severe repression. He banned foreign journalists, closed independent media and arrested and 'disappeared' hundreds of critics, including journalists and politicians.
By 1998-99, al-Qaeda-linked jihadists had totally hijacked the separatist struggle, a common jihadi strategy. They aim to establish an Islamic state of high geo-strategic significance stretching from the Caspian Sea to the Black Sea, through Abkhazia, an ethnically cleansed, Abkhaz Muslim, self- declared independent province in Georgia.
The violent militant and communal persecution that continues to plague India is fuelled by the unchecked propagation of this toxic, dangerous ideology of Hindutva and because justice is routinely perverted by politicians, police, investigators and judges with Hindutva sympathies.
The awakening and spiritual reform that Wilberforce launched turned the tide in the UK. But today nearly 500 years on from Luther and some 250 years on from Wilberforce, the UK is in trouble again and is desperately in need of a fresh awakening. Moreover religious liberty is fading fast.
In 1986 a Catholic self-proclaimed 'prophetess' named Alice Lakwena founded an ethnic Acholi militia in northern Uganda in response to what she believed was the voice of the Holy Spirit ordering her to overthrow the Government of Uganda (GoU).
In July 2002, with a very powerful and angry post-9/11 USA breathing down its neck, Sudan's ruling National Islamic Front (NIF) somewhat reluctantly signed the historic Machakos Protocol, putting Sudan on the path towards a Comprehensive Peace Agreement (CPA).
Hundreds of policemen are mopping up in search of 'unwanted elements' as part of a preventative anti-terror operation 'Tozalash-Antiterror'. The families of political prisoners and religious groups are under special surveillance.
In Hanoi, some 10,000 Catholics came onto the streets to sing hymns and pray for religious liberty. They held flowers and crosses, and candles on dark nights and umbrellas on rainy days. The Hanoi prayer vigils for religious liberty have been the largest public demonstrations Vietnam has seen since the Communists came to power.