religious minorities – Helviti http://helviti.com/ Fri, 25 Mar 2022 21:05:40 +0000 en-US hourly 1 https://wordpress.org/?v=5.9.3 https://helviti.com/wp-content/uploads/2021/10/icon-1-1-120x120.png religious minorities – Helviti http://helviti.com/ 32 32 Nahdlatul Ulama’s new leader promises not to mix religion and politics – Eurasia Review https://helviti.com/nahdlatul-ulamas-new-leader-promises-not-to-mix-religion-and-politics-eurasia-review/ Sat, 08 Jan 2022 00:21:56 +0000 https://helviti.com/nahdlatul-ulamas-new-leader-promises-not-to-mix-religion-and-politics-eurasia-review/ By Tria Dianti The new head of Indonesia’s largest Muslim mass organization has said he has no intention of getting into the political fray or being drawn into the communal politics that has divided people in that nation. religiously diverse in recent years. Yahya Cholil Staquf, nicknamed “Gus Yahya”, was elected chairman of influential group […]]]>


By Tria Dianti

The new head of Indonesia’s largest Muslim mass organization has said he has no intention of getting into the political fray or being drawn into the communal politics that has divided people in that nation. religiously diverse in recent years.

Yahya Cholil Staquf, nicknamed “Gus Yahya”, was elected chairman of influential group Nahdlatul Ulama in late December, when he defeated two-term holder Said Aqil Siradj and three other candidates in a vote at the 34th UN Congress .

“I have said from the start that I don’t want to run for president or vice-president, nor do I want anyone from NU to run for president or vice-president. This way, NU will not be involved in identity politics at all, ”Yahya told BenarNews in an interview last week.

By “identity politics” he was referring to a common divisive trend that has recently infiltrated politics in the predominantly Muslim nation. Indonesia has long been known for its moderate Islam and general tolerance for religious minorities.

NU, which claims to have 90 million members, for most of its existence, has been regarded as a moderate and more progressive faith-based institution.

On several occasions before the UN Congress, Yahya expressed his determination to restore to the group the idealism, the spirit of inclusion and the humanity embodied by the late Abdurrahman “Gus Dur” Wahid, who – as the centenary approaches from the birth of NU – remains one of the most revered figures in its history.

Gus Dur, a longtime president of NU, then served as president of Indonesia, Southeast Asia’s most populous nation, in 1999-2001, during the early years of its transition to democracy after decades of authoritarian rule. Yahya, 55, was the presidential spokesman under Gus Dur.

Most recently, Yahya remained close to the seat of power when he was appointed a member of the Presidential Advisory Council (Wantimpres) during President Joko “Jokowi” Widodo’s first term.

In his view, the UN should play a role in healing the scars and polarization in society resulting from identity politics, which have manifested themselves in the run-up to the 2019 presidential election.

Ma’ruf Amin was Jokowi’s running mate in that election, as was vice president.

But in 2017, Ma’ruf was among those who called for the impeachment of Basuki “Ahok” Tjahaja Purnama, governor of Jakarta who was a member of the Sino-Christian minority, for alleged blasphemous remarks Ahok allegedly made during the election. the electoral campaign for his re-election. . In 2017, Ma’ruf was president of NU and he sat on the Indonesian Council of Ulemas (MUI), the main group of Islamic clerics and scholars in the country.

A year before the Jakarta gubernatorial elections, the Islamic Defenders Front (FPI), a conservative Muslim group that the central government has since banned, carried out mass protests in the streets of the nation’s capital demanding arrest and the prosecution of “Ahok” for the alleged blasphemy.

In May 2017, a district court in Jakarta found Ahok guilty of blasphemy and sentenced him to two years in prison. Ahok then lost the 2017 gubernatorial election.

Some Indonesians viewed the verdict as politically motivated and suspected the judges had succumbed to pressure from conservative Islamic groups.

Yahya said fundamentalist Islamic groups such as the FPI and Hizbut Tahrir, a pan-Islamic political organization that dissolved in 2018, were not entirely responsible for wanting Indonesia as the most populous majority Muslim nation. of the world, respects the concept of caliphate. .

“We know they have political reasons for their choices to be radical or fundamental. We have to engage them, we have to try to make them understand that their political choices are no longer realistic, ”he told BenarNews in a 45-minute telephone interview on December 31.

“We can no longer impose a universal caliphate in the context of today’s modern reality.”

He also expressed optimism that NU could mediate in seeking a common framework to reduce, if not hold back, radicalism and fundamentalism in the country.

“Obviously the way to do it is to persevere and campaign as hard as possible to prevent identity politics. We need to encourage political actors to build consensus that they will not use identity, especially religious identity, as a political weapon, ”Yahya said.

Controversy in Israel

In 2018, Yahya sparked public controversy in his country when he accepted an invitation from the Israel Council on Foreign Relations (ICFR) to deliver a speech in Jerusalem on resolving religious conflicts.

At the time, Yahya was still a member of Wantimpres. The Indonesian public criticized him over the invitation because he was seen as having dampened Indonesia’s support for the Palestinian people.

But Yahya said he made the trip in his personal capacity and as an ordinary Muslim who yearns for an end to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, not as a representative of the government or the UN.

In early 2020, at a meeting of leaders of different faiths at the Vatican, Yahya said that the world’s religious leaders agreed to come together to reflect on how religion works and how it responds to conflict in the 21st century.

“Religion must also find its new function. This is the first and it requires a separate process, ”he told BenarNews.

As he said, the Israeli-Palestinian conflict must be resolved fundamentally, including by clarifying the territorial borders in accordance with international law. Until the borders are clarified, it will be difficult for Israel to gain political recognition, including establishing diplomatic relations with Indonesia, he said.

“Many of these territorial borders are unilateral claims of Israel and surrounding Arab and Islamic countries. This must be resolved first. So if, for example, Indonesia says it is normalizing its relations with Israel, which [Israel] is it? The boundaries must be clear so as not to cause new problems, ”he said.

The interview with the new UN president came days after reports emerged that US Secretary of State Antony Blinken, in meetings with Indonesian officials in Jakarta last month, discussed the possibility that Indonesia normalizes its relations with the Jewish state.

Yahya has also proven himself in the international community.

In 2014, he was listed as one of the founders of Bayt Ar-Rahmah, a California-based religious institute that promotes Islam’s main message as a source of universal love and compassion.

He was tasked with serving as a member of the expert panel formulating the policies of the US-Indonesian Interfaith Executive Council, which was set up after an agreement signed between President Barack Obama and Jokowi in October 2015.

Yahya was also appointed envoy of the youth movement of Nahdlatul Ulama and the National Awakening Party (PKB), the political vehicle of NU, to forge political networks in the international community and in Europe.

He said he believed that Indonesia should contribute to the development of the world order in accordance with its constitutional mandate of 1945. He also expressed the hope that his activities could project the image of peaceful and moderate Islam. in Indonesia.

“I think the Indonesian government should take bolder action with a concrete program to solve the existing problems, to penetrate international politics,” he said.

“[T]o defend anyone who is treated unfairly, to seek a better future for all, including our brothers in Palestine or our brothers [the] Uyghurs in China. This even includes non-Muslim groups who also suffer persecution in predominantly Muslim societies. “

Yahya said that even though he is now president of the UN, Bayt Ar-Rahmah will continue to function as usual as he has yet to continue his Islamic humanitarian mission, which includes a campaign to eliminate the use of the term “kafir” (unfaithful) in modern Islamic doctrine.

“The status of non-Muslim or infidel is a symbolic object of hostility, discrimination and persecution,” he said.

“We can no longer tolerate or allow such vulnerability because the world has become an integrated neighborhood, and we have to live side by side,” Yahya told BenarNews.

“Needs to be supported”

Syafiq Hakim, senior lecturer in Islamic studies at the International Islamic University of Indonesia, praised Yahya’s stated intention to rekindle Gus Dur’s visions and missions, but said it would require the support of all parties. .

“If he does not want to get involved in politics by being a presidential or vice-presidential candidate, it seems that he really wants to reinstate the values ​​of Gus Dur. But of course, we don’t know if that would be applicable with NU. Because when it comes to NU it has so many layers and not all academics have an open perspective, ”Syafiq told BenarNews on Thursday.

According to Syafiq, if Yahya succeeds in reviving the old progressive values ​​of NU, other mass organizations with diverse perspectives and efforts will likely follow, including Muhammadiyah, Indonesia’s second largest Muslim organization.

“It’s a program of work that I think is difficult and needs support, although I have no idea how it’s going to end. However, I completely agree with the program proposed by Gus Yahya, and he must put it forward, as the leader of the largest mass organization that protects minority groups, ”he said. .

The PKB, the political party associated with Nahdlatul Ulama, was created to express the aspirations of the organization in response to a political crisis during the reform era, which began in 1998 with the fall of President Suharto, the dictator of long time.

Gus Dur initially refused the idea because he didn’t want NU to leave his khittah ”(original oath) by mixing religious and political matters. However, Gus Dur eventually gave in because he saw it as the only way to fight Golkar, the party associated with Suharto, the authoritarian ruler and former military leader.

According to another observer, it is fitting that Yahya wants to keep NU out of politics in Indonesia. Yon Machmudi, an expert on Islamic politics at the University of Indonesia, said he hoped Yahya would not be brought in to mobilize the great mass of NU in a political contest.

“If he stays on track with his program, it will be a major breakthrough … returning to NU’s core mandate as an Islamic religious organization beyond the struggle for political power,” Yon told BenarNews .

If NU is forced to get involved in politics, it will undermine the organization’s core values ​​and its mission to help strengthen society, he said.

“I think his statement that he would take NU away from politics is good and important, so that he can make sound decisions on political choices without having to run for president or vice president, which could potentially causing friction at the local level. I think it’s an ideal situation, ”Yon said.


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US under fire for attack on religious freedom: the Tribune India https://helviti.com/us-under-fire-for-attack-on-religious-freedom-the-tribune-india/ Sun, 21 Nov 2021 01:46:00 +0000 https://helviti.com/us-under-fire-for-attack-on-religious-freedom-the-tribune-india/ Tribune press service New Delhi, November 20 The United States, which ranked countries last week on the Religious Freedom Index, has come under attack for shortcomings in this regard. Estimates indicate that 617 people were killed in places of worship in the United States in 20 years, between 1999 and 2019. This includes the murder […]]]>


Tribune press service

New Delhi, November 20

The United States, which ranked countries last week on the Religious Freedom Index, has come under attack for shortcomings in this regard.

Estimates indicate that 617 people were killed in places of worship in the United States in 20 years, between 1999 and 2019. This includes the murder of six members of a gurdwara in Oak Creek, Wisconsin, and the murder of nine members. of Mother Emanuel AME Church in Charleston in 2015.

Two decades, 1,000 criminal incidents

  • American churches saw 19 fatal shootings between 2000 and 2020
  • Hate crimes reach their highest level in two decades, with more than 1,000 religious incidents

The places of worship of religious minorities were not the only targets between 2000 and 2020. American churches have seen 19 fatal shootings. According to official statistics, hate crimes reached their highest level in two decades in 2020, with more than 1,000 incidents of a religious nature.

These attacks have led to requests for increases in the Nonprofit Security Grant (NPSG) program, which allows any at-risk nonprofit, including places of worship and other religious institutions, to seek financial support to protect themselves. violence.

MP Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez said increased funding for the NPSG program will allow other marginalized groups to secure their communities. Max Sevillia of the Anti-Defamation League estimates that 80% of Protestant pastors say their church has security measures in place. Recently, Congress allocated $ 90 million for this program this year and $ 180 million next year. “Even though the funds for the program have increased, the money available has not kept up with the scale of the problem,” Sevillia said.


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Religious mobs reproduce blasphemy laws, “threatening” freedom in a free country https://helviti.com/religious-mobs-reproduce-blasphemy-laws-threatening-freedom-in-a-free-country/ https://helviti.com/religious-mobs-reproduce-blasphemy-laws-threatening-freedom-in-a-free-country/#respond Sat, 23 Oct 2021 00:30:00 +0000 https://helviti.com/religious-mobs-reproduce-blasphemy-laws-threatening-freedom-in-a-free-country/ Nihangs, Lakhbir Singh By Ajit Singh * A Dalit, Lakhbir Singh, was mercilessly beaten and lynched to death near the farmer protest site in Haryana state, allegedly by Nihang Sikhs. It was alleged that he had committed blasphemy by desecrating the holy book guru Granth Sahib.The group sees themselves as a self-proclaimed guardian to protect […]]]>


Nihangs, Lakhbir Singh

By Ajit Singh *
A Dalit, Lakhbir Singh, was mercilessly beaten and lynched to death near the farmer protest site in Haryana state, allegedly by Nihang Sikhs. It was alleged that he had committed blasphemy by desecrating the holy book guru Granth Sahib.
The group sees themselves as a self-proclaimed guardian to protect their religion. In 2016, he played a leading role, under whose influence the Akali-BJP government in Punjab proposed the Blasphemy Law, which included criminal provisions for sacrilege of the Sikh holy book. The law was later rejected by the Center on the grounds that all religions should be treated equally.
Cynical behemoths always find refuge in all political parties, regardless of the ideological spectrum to which they adhere. In 2018, the Amarinder Singh government in Punjab attempted to pass a law that imposed life imprisonment on those who sacrileged the holy books of Hindus, Muslims, Sikhs and Christians.
The reach of blasphemy laws and the emergence of radical extrajudicial entities in democracies around the world are known to have taken a long time to serve their false pride. In a pluralist and multi-ethnic society, one avoids discussing the sensitive issue of blasphemy in the name of maintaining religious tolerance and peace in society. Our deadly silence has compounded the severity of the wound, allowing divisive leaders to ride the wave of community politics.

islamic nations

In many countries of the Middle East, North Africa and South Asia, blasphemy is a capital crime and this notoriously draconian law has become a tool to quell dissent against the political and military establishment.
A university professor in Pakistan, Junaid Hafeez, was arrested in 2013 for defaming Islam and for publishing material considered derogatory to the Prophet. He remained in solitary confinement for eight years pending the arrival of his death awarded to him in 2019 by a local court in Multan.
Soheil Arabi, a political activist in Iran, was jailed the same year for a double allegation of fierce criticism of the Islamic Republic and insulting the Prophet on social media. In 2017, he won the prestigious Reporters Without Borders award in the journalism category. He was praised for having protested in the Gandhian way by organizing hunger strikes to highlight the poor living conditions of the prisoners and the deprivation of any medical treatment for them.
Due to his open criticism of the theocratic regime, new fabricated cases have been opened against him, including propaganda activities against the government and turmoil in public opinion.

Intolerance in Europe

Western democracies are seen as an indicator of liberal ideas where individual freedom and free speech are put on the highest pedestal. Last year, in an act of cowardice, a social science professor Samuel Patty was beheaded by a Chechen immigrant in France for drawing a cartoon of Mohammad that was originally published by a satirical magazine “Charlie Hebdo” in 2011. As a result, 12 people, including the editor of the magazine, were shot dead by terrorists in 2015. Another thing, the French constitution does not prohibit insulting a religion, its figures and its symbols.
Countries that have repeatedly taken in victims of blasphemy accusations in Islamic countries are now adopting an increasingly conservative view of things. Some politicians, even those who take a center-left stance, advocate some sort of blasphemy law to flatter gullible minorities and gain their support in elections.
Take for example the UK, where Labor MP and shadow minister for Community Cohesion Naz Shah pleaded for 10 years in prison for those who vandalize or destroy religious cartoons. In Canada, Prime Minister Trudeau reiterated that freedom of expression is not without limits.
According to the report of the United States Commission for International Religious Freedom (Blasphemy Law Fact Sheet), about 20 percent of European countries formally criminalize blasphemy or religious insult. The demand for repressive laws in the name of protecting religious feelings and providing a safe space for religious minorities is a deeply flawed argument.

MF Husain, Salman Rushdie

A recent survey conducted by Ifop shows that 57% of Muslims under 25 prefer Sharia law to be incorporated into the French legal system. Will European lawmakers be prepared to implement those parts of the same Islamic law in which apostasy results in a death sentence or at least severe public and private censorship?
Redefining the concept of secularism to make everyone happy on the boat will destroy years of cultural progress Europe has made since the Renaissance movement when people began to question the unscientific rituals and dogmas of Christianity. .

Pimping in India

The policy of appeasement in India is just as destructive and dangerous as the policy of polarization. In 1989, India was the first non-Muslim country to ban Salman Rushdie’s book “The Satanic Verses”. In 2006, artist MF Husain suffered a similar fate when he was forced to leave India due to the depiction of Hindu goddesses in his seemingly obscure paintings.

Intolerance in India is not a new phenomenon and if we try to correlate the murder of the Dalit man with the above incident, we can come to this sad conclusion that our collective conscience is dead and the assertion society’s deliberate rule for the rule of the crowd left no room for creativity of any kind.
Any demand for blasphemy laws in India will only act as a catalyst to turn it into an ultra-Orthodox state engulfed in the reign of endless terror. Democracy will die the day we restrict free speech. This can be best explained in a quote from Osho where he discussed the destruction of creative minds and individuality by society which promotes machines like obedience and discourages the rebellious nature of humans.

“Mankind will only truly be born when an individual is respected in his rebellion. Mankind has still not been born, it is still in its mother’s womb. What you see as humanity is just that. a very random phenomenon, ”he said.

* Amateur writer, graduate in economics, second year student of the B Ed program


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How the Chinese Communist Party views organized religion – Catholic Telegraph https://helviti.com/how-the-chinese-communist-party-views-organized-religion-catholic-telegraph/ https://helviti.com/how-the-chinese-communist-party-views-organized-religion-catholic-telegraph/#respond Tue, 19 Oct 2021 18:47:36 +0000 https://helviti.com/how-the-chinese-communist-party-views-organized-religion-catholic-telegraph/ by Matt Hadro Washington DC, Oct 18, 2021 / 15:01 pm The Chinese Communist Party is targeting organized religion as a threat – even seeking to “change” or “transform” it into a loyal party apparatus, a panel of foreign policy experts said on Monday. The party, which “historically ruled religion” in China, is now taking […]]]>


by Matt Hadro

Washington DC, Oct 18, 2021 / 15:01 pm

The Chinese Communist Party is targeting organized religion as a threat – even seeking to “change” or “transform” it into a loyal party apparatus, a panel of foreign policy experts said on Monday.

The party, which “historically ruled religion” in China, is now taking a much harsher approach and “trying to change or destroy it,” said Nury Turkel, vice chairman of the US Commission on International Religious Freedom, said during a panel. from the Hudson Institute on Monday. Turkel, a Uyghur-American human rights defender, was born in a re-education camp in China.

For the party, any organized religion “is seen as a threat,” Turkel said, adding that the party was trying to “create a new kind of religion”. Panelists noted that Chinese President Xi Jinping called for the “sinicization of religion” in a 2016 speech, warning that his party is actively seeking to change religious practice to promote its socialist interests.

The panel referred to developments such as the mass internment of predominantly Muslim Uyghurs in the northwestern province of Xinjiang, as well as allegations of forced organ harvesting from ethnic and religious minorities, including Falun Gong practitioners, Uyghurs, Tibetans, Muslims and Christians.

The United States and other countries should pay attention to what the Chinese Communist Party says about Xinjiang, Turkel said, citing President Xi Jinping’s words of “showing absolutely no mercy” to the Uyghurs. Xinjiang Communist Party secretary Chen Quanguo ordered “to assemble all those who should be assembled,” Turkel noted.

According to the US State Department, more than one million Uyghurs and other predominantly Muslim ethnic minorities have been placed in internment camps, while two million others are subjected to forced training in ” rehabilitation ”during the day.

Although the party does not hold massive amounts of Christians like Uyghurs, many Christian leaders have been detained without trial for failing to follow the party’s demands, said Nina Shea, senior fellow and director of the Center for Religious. Freedom at the Hudson Institute.

Cardinal Joseph Zen, the retired bishop of Hong Kong, likened the erosion of religious freedom to “being put in a small bird cage,” she noted.

Xiaoxu Sean Li, communications director of the Falun Dafa Association, noted the June 2021 statement by 12 United Nations human rights experts that there was “credible evidence” that religious and ethnic minorities in China were targeted for organ harvesting. Inmate medical data is collected for a large database that identifies potential donor matches. Detainees are then killed and their organs harvested and shipped, he said.

Robert Destro, a law professor at the Catholic University of America and a former assistant secretary of state for democracy, human rights and labor in the Trump administration, said the party is now carrying out everywhere what ‘he’s been doing in Tibet for years. The party has extracted the region’s natural resources and set up monitoring systems while eradicating religious practice, he said.

“Basically they will sell, they will monetize everything from natural resources to your liver,” he said of the party, “and anything in the way – especially religion. “

Shea also raised concerns that Catholic leaders may be vulnerable to blackmail or surveillance from the Chinese Communist Party.

“The Vatican has technology that can and has been easily penetrated,” she said. In 2020, just months before the renewal of the Vatican-China deal, researchers from a US-based cybersecurity firm reported that computer networks in the Vatican and the Catholic Diocese of Hong Kong were being targeted by hackers. computer systems sponsored by the Chinese state.

Former Cardinal Theodore McCarrick, secularized in 2019 after the Vatican determined he was guilty of abusing minors and vulnerable adults, visited China eight times and stayed at a seminary there. government sanctioned church. “There’s a lot of blackmail potential out there,” Shea said.

Panel members also expressed concern over the agreement between the Vatican and China on the ordination of bishops, initially concluded in 2018 and renewed for a further two years in 2020.

Shea mentioned the case of Bishop Vincent Zhan Silu of Mindong / Funing in Fujian Province, who was consecrated under the agreement following the withdrawal of Bishop Joseph Guo Xijin from the Underground Catholic Church. Zhan reportedly led a delegation of 33 priests to participate in a “training course” at the Central Institute of Socialism, in collaboration with the United Front of Fujian Province, where they listened to presentations on the “sinization of religion. “.

“To carry out the sinicization of religion with determination, we will continue to follow a path consistent with socialist society,” Zhan said in August 2019.

“He really embodies the [party’s] model of a new Christian leader, ”Shea said of Zhan.


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Activists continue fight against French anti-religious law https://helviti.com/activists-continue-fight-against-french-anti-religious-law/ https://helviti.com/activists-continue-fight-against-french-anti-religious-law/#respond Wed, 21 Apr 2021 07:00:00 +0000 https://helviti.com/activists-continue-fight-against-french-anti-religious-law/ Opponents of a bill that restricts religious freedoms are winning a small victory as they seek to overturn the widely condemned law. A Canadian court struck down elements of a controversial law that restricted the religious rights of public sector employees wearing religious clothing in French Quebec. A Canadian scholar of Sikh origin called the […]]]>


Opponents of a bill that restricts religious freedoms are winning a small victory as they seek to overturn the widely condemned law.

A Canadian court struck down elements of a controversial law that restricted the religious rights of public sector employees wearing religious clothing in French Quebec.

A Canadian scholar of Sikh origin called the decision “A small victory in the fight to eliminate one of the most discriminatory and xenophobic laws in Canada.

The Superior Court of Quebec ruled that the law on secularism in the region violated the fundamental rights of minorities, but it still maintained the main tenants, to the dismay of opponents.

The ruling overturned a contentious part of the law – according to which government employees are prohibited from wearing religious symbols – which she says cannot be applied to English schools.

But the detractors of the Quebec law on secularism were surprised by the judge’s decision to recognize the discrimination and to affirm it.

“Welcome to Canada, a country where a judge ruled that the # Quebec the government has the right to restrict religious symbols worn by public sector employees, including teachers, police and lawyers ”, noted a militant.

Bill 21, which is the official name of the law on secularism in the predominantly French-speaking region of Quebec, has been widely criticized since its adoption in 2019.

It is considered discriminatory against religious minorities who wear conspicuous religious symbols, especially Muslim women and Sikhs.

Quebec is a predominantly Catholic region of Canada and has adopted a rigid form of secularism – an import from France.

The 240-page decision comes as the Quebec government was on the defensive in explaining why the bill was needed.

The government believes that without the bill, the French version of secularism in the region, known to be rigid and restrictive, would be threatened by the increasingly multicultural face of Quebec.

Supporters of the bill were also disappointed with the court’s ruling that English schools were exempt from applying religious restrictions on their staff. The verdict effectively creates parallel laws along linguistic lines in the region.

“The fact that the law is unconstitutional as applied to minority language schools … shows how irrational the law is and should be repealed”, noted a law professor.

Although the court did not change the rest of the bill much, opponents say the ruling asserted that the law is discriminatory.

“As a Muslim woman of color living in # Quebec, today’s announcement on # Bill21 and the #GeorgeFloydverdict are tiny glimmers of hope and reminders of the work that remains to be done, ”said one campaigning against the bill.

Many Canadian politicians have also spoken out against the law, which does not apply to the rest of the country.

The country’s Prime Minister, Justin Trudeau, also spoke out against the bill as an imposition on the rights of religious minorities.

Following the ruling, local politician Patrick Brown urged activists to continue their fight against the bill.

“Today’s decision by the Superior Court of Quebec was a step forward in overturning certain aspects of # Bill21 But we must go further. Bill 21 should be deemed unconstitutional in its entirety, ”he said.

“In Canada, it doesn’t matter which God you worship. Everyone should have the same opportunities, regardless of their faith. No one should have to hide their identity,” Brown added.

A to study in 2018 revealed that the Quebec City area has some of the most negative attitudes towards Muslims in Canada.

Although there are anti-Muslim views in the rest of the country, the French-speaking Quebec region stood out with over 57 percent of respondents having negative views of Muslims.

According to a 2017 survey, more than 32 percent of people living in Quebec believe Muslims should be banned from entering the country, compared to 23 percent of the general population.

The regions’ increasingly anti-Muslim hostility culminated in the mass shooting in the Quebec mosque in 2017, which left 6 worshipers dead and five injured. The shooter’s motives were motivated by Islamophobia.

Source: TRT World



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India’s religious freedom law destroys interfaith marriage https://helviti.com/indias-religious-freedom-law-destroys-interfaith-marriage/ https://helviti.com/indias-religious-freedom-law-destroys-interfaith-marriage/#respond Thu, 18 Mar 2021 07:00:00 +0000 https://helviti.com/indias-religious-freedom-law-destroys-interfaith-marriage/ 03/18/2021 Washington, DC. (International Christian Concern) – Since the passage of the Religious Freedom Bill (FoR) on March 1, 2021, in Madhya Pradesh, India, Christian residents have started to see a worrying increase in daring physical violence and church closures. Right-wing religious nationalists threaten Christians in this region on a daily basis. International Christian Concern […]]]>


03/18/2021 Washington, DC. (International Christian Concern) – Since the passage of the Religious Freedom Bill (FoR) on March 1, 2021, in Madhya Pradesh, India, Christian residents have started to see a worrying increase in daring physical violence and church closures. Right-wing religious nationalists threaten Christians in this region on a daily basis.

International Christian Concern (ICC) recently interviewed a man suffering from the new anti-conversion law.

Mr. Kaluram, a young Christian from a remote village in Madhya Pradesh, married his wife Kesar, a Hindu woman, three years ago, despite their different religious practices. Until recently, they had a peaceful and happy marriage. This law now criminalizes religious conversions, including interfaith marriages.

“EEverything was going well until the enactment of the new anti-conversion law that the Madhya Pradesh government recently passed in the state. I only have two options in front of me. One, deny my faith and keep my wife, or two, keep my faith but leave my wife, then go to jail. “

Kaluram’s life changed dramatically on February 27. Acting on the January 7 directives to end illegal religious conversions, a group of right-wing RSS members threatened Kaluram. The men told Kaluram to stop her Christian prayers or face serious consequences and demanded proof that he did not marry Kesar to convert her to Christianity.

A week later, two days after the ForR passed, the RSS members returned with Kesar’s parents. “We are not going to keep our daughter with you because we come from different religions and the marriage is not valid, ”they said. Kesar’s father went with members of the RSS to the local police station and filed a complaint against Kaluram, claiming he tricked Kesar into marrying her.

Police informed Kaluram he had 30 days to convert to Hinduism or face up to 10 years in prison and lose his family.

I don’t know what to do. Everything seems to be going against me. My family and I are worried about the weather. “

Christians and congregations feel strangled by pressure and harassment from religious nationalists who use the FoR law as a legal means to attack and destroy religious minorities in India.

For interviews, please contact Alison Garcia: press@persecution.org


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Religion law puts “thousands of people in a vulnerable position,” says Spanish EA to Bulgarian ambassador, Evangelical Focus https://helviti.com/religion-law-puts-thousands-of-people-in-a-vulnerable-position-says-spanish-ea-to-bulgarian-ambassador-evangelical-focus/ https://helviti.com/religion-law-puts-thousands-of-people-in-a-vulnerable-position-says-spanish-ea-to-bulgarian-ambassador-evangelical-focus/#respond Mon, 15 Jun 2020 07:08:36 +0000 https://helviti.com/religion-law-puts-thousands-of-people-in-a-vulnerable-position-says-spanish-ea-to-bulgarian-ambassador-evangelical-focus/ Bulgarian evangelical Christians have received support from several international organizations, after the Bulgarian Evangelical Alliance warned against drafting a new law on religion that would severely restrict religious freedom. After the reactions of the European Evangelical Alliance, of the Global Evangelical Alliances, and the Baptist World Federation, national alliances also began writing to political representatives. […]]]>


Bulgarian evangelical Christians have received support from several international organizations, after the Bulgarian Evangelical Alliance warned against drafting a new law on religion that would severely restrict religious freedom.

After the reactions of the European Evangelical Alliance, of the Global Evangelical Alliances, and the Baptist World Federation, national alliances also began writing to political representatives.

“We have learned of the adoption on first reading of a law on religious freedom in the Parliament of the Republic of Bulgaria (…) which restricts the exercise of religious freedom,” said one letter to the Bulgarian Ambassador to Spain, signed by the Secretary General of Spanish Evangelical Alliance (AEE).

The bill, the letter said, would control foreign funds received by religious minorities, interfere in theological teaching and establish state controls over ministers. If the law is passed, “the Bulgarian state would inadequately assume power over the internal life of religious communities,” writes the Spanish Evangelical Alliance.

“Almost all of the articles in these new legislation imposes political authority over religious life wrongly, ”says the letter signed by EEA Secretary General Jaume Llenas.

As a result of the proposed law, “thousands of citizens would be placed in a situation of fragility and the exercise of one of their fundamental human rights would be restricted: religious freedom”.

Spain has a past in which religious minorities have been persecuted, explains the EEA in the letter. “As a religious minority in our country, we know how fundamental and vital this freedom is, and how much suffering and injustice the denial of this essential right has caused in the past. We believe religious freedom is the foundation of a prosperous and open society”.

The letter sent to the Bulgarian Ambassador to Spain, Ivan Kondov, ends by saying: “We ask the Bulgarian Embassy in Spain to intercede with its government to stop the approval of this bill, and promote a more just law, which guarantees the religious freedom of all citizens. , whatever religion they adhere to”.

The Spanish Evangelical Alliance sent a similar message letter To Members of the European Parliament.

Posted in: Evangelical focus – europe
Law on religion puts “thousands of people in a vulnerable position”, says Spanish EA to Bulgarian ambassador


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Bulgarian parliament passes new law on religion https://helviti.com/bulgarian-parliament-passes-new-law-on-religion/ https://helviti.com/bulgarian-parliament-passes-new-law-on-religion/#respond Thu, 20 Dec 2018 08:00:00 +0000 https://helviti.com/bulgarian-parliament-passes-new-law-on-religion/ Bulgaria will have a new law on religious denominations on Friday, December 21, but the threat of severe restrictions on the fundamental freedoms of evangelical Christians and other religious minorities in the countries could be ruled out. Wednesday, December 19, just 24 hours before the start of the vote, a lengthy meeting of the parliamentary […]]]>


Bulgaria will have a new law on religious denominations on Friday, December 21, but the threat of severe restrictions on the fundamental freedoms of evangelical Christians and other religious minorities in the countries could be ruled out.

Wednesday, December 19, just 24 hours before the start of the vote, a lengthy meeting of the parliamentary committee for religion and human rights with representatives of the country’s faith groups made major changes to the text that responded to objections from evangelical Christians and other religious groups like Muslims and Roman Catholics.

The Evangelical Community of Bulgaria was represented by Pastor Rumen Bordjiev (President of the EBA), Greta Ganeva (Secretary of the Bulgarian Evangelical Alliance), Vlady Raichinov (Vice-President of the EBA), as well as Viktor Kostov and Nevena Stefanova (legal rights group “Freedom for all”)). They had a voice, but only lawmakers had a vote on proposed changes to the provisions.

The an open discussion of the changes in the law led to what appear to be very significant changes. “In a word, almost all annoying issues have been dropped by the legislators of this committee. Apparently all international pressure has yielded results, “said an evangelical representative Evangelical focus.

These last minute concessions came after seven weeks of protests and prayer by evangelical Christians across Bulgaria.

Members of the European Parliament, members of the Council of Europe, nonprofit religious freedom organizations and organizations such as the World Evangelical Alliance and the World Baptist Alliance, among others, had sent letters to the Bulgarian government calling for the end of a new law on religion which would have severely restricted the freedoms of religious groups representing less than 1% of the population.

THE LAW TO BE PROPOSED ON DECEMBER 21

On Thursday, December 20, the National Parliament in Sofia began to pass the law on religious denominations.

Iskren Veselinov, deputy of a nationalist party at the origin of many restrictive provisions, tries to defend his ideas while the Parliament rejects them.  / Vlady Raichinov

Vlady Raichinov, said the vice-president of the Bulgarian Evangelical Alliance Evangelical focus: “A small part of the law has already been voted. The parliamentarians stopped working today and returned home for the evening. tomorrow [Friday 21 December] morning, lawmakers plan to discuss the rest of the provisions. So far they have followed exactly what the religious The Denominations Committee came to an agreement yesterday. It means that most troublesome aspects are dropped one by one during their plenary session. Hopefully the same trend will continue tomorrow “.

“At 8 o’clock tomorrow morning, Evangelical Christians will gather outside the Parliament building with Christmas flags and posters and music. They will pray that the hand of God will be on the legislators. Start of parliamentary deliberations at 9 a.m., and will probably be pushed quite quickly. God is in control”.

Bulgarian evangelical Christians also expressed their gratitude towards all those in the world who “stand in prayer with us“.

Posted in: Evangelical focus – europe
– Bulgarian parliament passes new law on religion – most articles restricting freedoms should be dropped


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Bulgarian evangelicals alarmed by religious law “threatening the rights and freedoms of churches”, Evangelical Focus https://helviti.com/bulgarian-evangelicals-alarmed-by-religious-law-threatening-the-rights-and-freedoms-of-churches-evangelical-focus/ https://helviti.com/bulgarian-evangelicals-alarmed-by-religious-law-threatening-the-rights-and-freedoms-of-churches-evangelical-focus/#respond Fri, 09 Nov 2018 08:00:00 +0000 https://helviti.com/bulgarian-evangelicals-alarmed-by-religious-law-threatening-the-rights-and-freedoms-of-churches-evangelical-focus/ Bulgarian evangelicals called on international bodies to respond to new legislation that could severely restrict religious freedom and the rights of religious minorities. “The Bulgarian state wrongly takes power in the internal life of religious communities”, Evangelical Alliance Bulgaria (EAB) denounced in a letter sent this week to the European Evangelical Alliance. “Almost all the […]]]>


Bulgarian evangelicals called on international bodies to respond to new legislation that could severely restrict religious freedom and the rights of religious minorities.

“The Bulgarian state wrongly takes power in the internal life of religious communities”, Evangelical Alliance Bulgaria (EAB) denounced in a letter sent this week to the European Evangelical Alliance.

“Almost all the articles of the newly proposed bills wrongly and unjustly claims political authority over religious life», Writes the pastor Roumen Bordjiev.

In the last few months, parliament discussed new legislation that will allow a “state policy of interference in church affairs,” the EAB president said.

WHAT DOES THE NEW LEGISLATION SAY?

Here are the main issues with the new legislation:

Only Bulgarian citizens may exercise liturgical activity if they have followed a theological training in Bulgaria or if their foreign school is accredited.

– Only Orthodox and Muslim believers in the East will be able to to train the clergy and run schools.

– A foreigner will only be able to preach if he does so with an ordained Bulgarian minister.

Foreign donations will only be allowed for building construction or social assistance and will require government approval. No pastor’s salary, for example, could be paid from abroad.

No religious activity can take place outside the buildings designated for them.

– Only religious groups of +300 people will have legal status.

ALL RELIGIOUS GROUPS OPPOSE THE LAW

After receiving the “Green light” at first reading in parliament on October 4, a deadline for possible objections and discussions has been opened. Parliament authorized a interim period for possible objections which will end on November 16. In the meantime, a working group made up of politicians and religious representatives is supposed to work on the drafting of the proposed articles. At present, however, the working group has not yet started its work.

After carefully analyzing the law, the Bulgarian Evangelical Alliance declared that the legislation “is so flawed, amendments cannot solve the problems – Instead, it should be scrapped ”.

“Literally, no religious community has expressed its agreement with the proposed changes,” said the Bulgarian evangelical body. In fact, the The Eastern Orthodox Church, the Muslim religion, all Protestant faiths, the Armenian community, the Jewish community and the Catholic Church have all issued statements of protest.

EVANGELICS RISE IN DEFENSE OF THE EXPRESSION OF FAITH

Evangelical Christians are one of the minority faith groups that would see their rights and freedoms affected. This is why the Bulgarian Evangelical Alliance “insisted on being invited to the committee to discuss the amended articles of the law (…) We also have requested a special meeting with the Prime Minister of the country, Mr. Boyko Borisov in order to express our explicit refusal to accept such government intervention in religious affairs ”.

In addition, “various NGOs are also considering joining forces and possibly even taking legal action, led by the unanimous opinion that the the law is discriminatory, unconstitutional and unfair”.

PEACEFUL RALLIES AFTER SUNDAY WORSHIP SERVICES

Evangelical churches organize peaceful gatherings in several cities.  / VAE

It happens Sunday afternoon November 11, Evangelical Christians across the country will take to the streets after worship at peaceful gatherings for their right to practice their faith. Churches of various denominations in the towns of Sofia, Ruse, Bourgas, Silistra, Dobrich, Kotel (among others) mobilize their members to join the street demonstration.

They will wear signs, saying New Religion Bill Takes Us Back to Communism!, and Religious freedom in Bulgaria is in danger!

‘WRITING LETTERS TO THE BULGARIAN GOVERNMENT’

The Bulgarian Evangelical Alliance also called on believers to take the following actions: “pray” for the situation; “Alarm” other Evangelical Covenants about the situation in Bulgaria, contact “the European institutions, MEPs and international organizations for the defense of human and religious rights”; write letters to the Bulgarian government.

EEA: THE SITUATION IN BULGARIA IS “ALARMY”

In response to the letter from the Bulgarian Evangelicals, the European Evangelical Alliance Express his concern at the “alarming developments in Bulgaria”.

The European Evangelical Alliance has called for writing to MEPs on the situation in Bulgaria.

According to the body representing millions of evangelical Christians across the continent, the new legislation would give “enormous and unnecessary power to the Bulgarian state to interfere with all religious communities”. Therefore, “If the Parliament wishes to continue the discussions, then the representatives of the churches should be involved”.

The AEE calls “to pray and encourage others to pray” and to “contact the Bulgarian Embassy in your nation and write to politicians in Sofia. Write a short letter / email explaining the main issues of the proposed legislation as stated above. Ask politely but firmly why Bulgaria would introduce legislation so excessive and so harmful to all religious communities. Demand that the legislative proposal be abandoned ”.

For those in European Union Member States, the EEA encourages them to ‘write a short letter to MEPs in your country, explaining the main issues of the proposed legislation and asking them to speak urgently to their Bulgarian colleagues to ask them why Bulgaria would introduce such legislation. excessively controlling and would cause great hardship to all faiths. Click on here to find MEPs from your nation”.

WORLD EVANGELICAL ALLIANCE: STRENGTHENING RELIGIOUS FREEDOM

The Global Evangelical Alliance‘s also reacted to the letter of the Bulgarian evangelicals.

general secretary Efraim Tendero said: “At a time when governments around the world face the challenge of strengthening freedoms while maintaining security, we call on Bulgaria and other democratic countries to lead by example and strengthen the right to religious freedom rather than weaken it”.

The EAJ statement added: “We call on the Bulgarian authorities to reconsider their bill to amend the law on religious denominations (…) and we call on evangelicals around the world to accompany our brothers and sisters in Bulgaria in prayer as ‘they engage with their political leaders to identify the best way forward”.

Posted in: Evangelical focus – europe
– Bulgarian evangelicals are alarmed by religious law “threatening the rights and freedoms of churches”


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Global religion studies encourage tolerance – Mill Valley News https://helviti.com/global-religion-studies-encourage-tolerance-mill-valley-news/ https://helviti.com/global-religion-studies-encourage-tolerance-mill-valley-news/#respond Wed, 14 Dec 2016 08:00:00 +0000 https://helviti.com/global-religion-studies-encourage-tolerance-mill-valley-news/ Teaching world religion enables students to see history in its entirety Since the dawn of time, religion has played a big role in dictating historical and current events. Religion often shapes our view of the world, influences our choices, and determines key points in our lives, making it an educational subject to study in high […]]]>


Teaching world religion enables students to see history in its entirety

Since the dawn of time, religion has played a big role in dictating historical and current events. Religion often shapes our view of the world, influences our choices, and determines key points in our lives, making it an educational subject to study in high school.

While some believe that teaching about all of the world’s religions persecutes Christians, program standards require teachers to be objective and historical, like any other subject. Learning about world religions helps students understand their peers, keeping them informed rather than spreading hatred.

In the United States today, the lack of religious diversity can sometimes pave the way for the emergence of intolerance. Derogatory slurs or hate speech can be emotionally damaging and do not promote the inclusive environment we strive to create. Learning about different religions here at school educates majority religious students about important elements of current world history and issues in a positive, well-controlled setting that encourages discussion and rejects hatred. In turn, this can help reduce discrimination later in life, by providing a bridge between people of different faiths instead of a wall.

Learning about world religion helps minority students feel part of history.

Likewise, the benefits for students of religious minorities are also evident. It is a well-known fact that representation is important, and teaching world religion allows these students to see their culture and history represented equally among their peers. For some, this is their first time studying religion with their peers, and this recognition encourages participation and helps minority students feel like they are part of history.

However, not everyone sees the value in learning about all religions. In 2013, a magnetic school in Osawatomie, Kansas was criticized by parents who opposed an educational visual presentation of the Five Pillars of Islam. State Representative Dennis Hedke said he was “appalled” by the display because it did not represent violent aspects of Islam.

In response to Hedke and other opponents of inclusive religious education, there are aspects of violence in every religion, but these individual actions do not represent an entire group of people. Including a balanced religious curriculum will help students see past current violent events and hopefully prevent intolerance from developing in the first place.

With religion being such an important aspect of world events, the need for healthy religious discussion in school is more important than ever. Education fosters tolerance, and the world always needs a few more tolerant people to really make a difference.

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