1

Notice: Undefined index: et_header_layout in /home/hrwfe90/domains/hrwf.eu/public_html/wp-content/plugins/pdf-print/pdf-print.php on line 1216

Notice: Trying to access array offset on value of type null in /home/hrwfe90/domains/hrwf.eu/public_html/wp-content/plugins/pdf-print/pdf-print.php on line 1216

Notice: Undefined index: et_header_layout in /home/hrwfe90/domains/hrwf.eu/public_html/wp-content/plugins/pdf-print/pdf-print.php on line 1217

Notice: Trying to access array offset on value of type null in /home/hrwfe90/domains/hrwf.eu/public_html/wp-content/plugins/pdf-print/pdf-print.php on line 1217

Notice: Undefined index: et_template in /home/hrwfe90/domains/hrwf.eu/public_html/wp-content/plugins/pdf-print/pdf-print.php on line 1218

INDIA: Indian Christians fear attacks or jail over conversions

Indian Christians fear attacks or jail over conversions

By Imran Qureshi

 

BBC (20.12.2021) – https://bbc.in/3petmxy – One Sunday in October, Pastor Somu Avaradhi got a shock when he entered his church in Hubballi city in the southern Indian state of Karnataka.

 

“There were people sitting inside, singing Hindu religious songs and shouting slogans,” he told the BBC.

 

He says he called the police, but when they arrived, the protesters accused him of abusing and forcing a Hindu man to convert to Christianity. The pastor was arrested – under charges of “outraging the religious feelings of any class” – and spent 12 days in prison before he was released on bail.

 

This isn’t an isolated incident – a report by the Evangelical Fellowship of India (EFI) listed 39 cases of threats or violence against Christians from January to November this year in Karnataka.

 

These include alleged attacks on pastors by members of right-wing Hindu groups, and even instances where they reportedly physically prevented them from holding religious services. Christians are a tiny minority in overwhelmingly Hindu India.

 

The frequency, Christian representatives say, has increased since October, when the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP), which is in power in Karnataka as well as nationally, said it was working on a “strong” law against religious conversion in the state.

 

Critics have described the current draft of the bill as “draconian” – it includes jail terms of up to 10 years for those who are found guilty of converting others by “force”, “fraudulent” methods or marriage, and possibly a denial of government benefits to those who convert from one religion to another.

 

Every such decision will be scrutinised since those who choose to convert will be required to notify local officials two months before – and officials will investigate the reasons before allowing it to happen.

 

Christian leaders are worried that the new bill will embolden Hindu radicals to further target the community. The fear is exacerbated, commentators say, by an increasingly polarising environment under Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s BJP in which minority communities feel targeted and threatened.

 

“Once the bill is passed, we will have to wait for more persecution and more difficulties,” Peter Machado, Archbishop of Bangalore, told BBC Hindi.

 

The bill is modelled on a law introduced last year in the northern state of Uttar Pradesh, also governed by the BJP. There, the law sought to target so-called “love jihad”, a popular Hindu right wing conspiracy that Muslim men lure Hindu women into converting by proposing marriage. State police have since registered more than 100 cases of alleged forcible conversion, the Print news website reported in November.

 

The Reverend Vijayesh Lal, general secretary of EFI, which runs 65,000 churches in India, alleged that the pattern in Karnataka was similar to what happened in Uttar Pradesh before the law was introduced.

 

“You push the community, you take them down, you level false allegations of conversion and then bring in a law which is unconstitutional,” he said.

 

Religious conversion is a controversial topic in India. Right-wing groups have long accused Christian missionaries of forcibly converting poor Hindus by offering them money or other support as bribes – a claim they deny.

 

But Dalits (formerly untouchables) have historically been known to convert to Christianity to escape a rigid Hindu caste hierarchy. Despite laws to protect them, the community is routinely the victim of not just discrimination but also violence.

 

These tensions have often translated into violence on the ground – in 1999, a spate of attacks on Christian institutions in the eastern state of Orissa (also known as Odisha) was followed by the horrific murders of an Australian missionary and his two young sons as they slept in a jeep.

 

Christian pastors and priests in Karnataka say they are fearful for the future. Initially, the attacks were limited to a few pockets in the state, but now 21 out of 31 districts have reported at least one violent incident.

 

“I have been here for 40 years but I don’t really know why these conversion allegations are coming now. We have a lot of friends among the Hindu community here,” said the Reverend Thomas T, president of the pastors’ association in Belagavi district.

 

Mr Thomas says that in November, local police informally told the association not to hold prayer meetings to avoid attacks by right-wing groups.

 

A police official, who spoke on condition of anonymity, told BBC Hindi that while individual police stations have advised priests to be careful, there was no “state-wide policy” on the issue.

 

Father Francis D’Souza, a priest at a local church in Belagavi, alleged last week that a man with a sword tried to attack him. The case is being investigated and top police officials have assured Father D’Souza that he will be protected.

 

“But that fear is still there in me,” he says.

Representatives from the community have questioned the need for an anti-conversion law, pointing out that India’s constitution gives the right to everyone to “propagate religion”.

 

There is no national law restricting religious conversion, and attempts in the past to introduce such bills in parliament have failed. But various states have enacted legislation over the years to regulate religious conversion.

 

BJP lawmaker Arvind Bellad, who led a massive protest against Pastor Somu, asked why only Christians are worried about the new bill.

 

“The interesting aspect is that other minority communities like Muslims or Sikhs or Jains are not worried about this new law,” he added.

 

State chief minister Basvaraj Bommai has said that only those who try to lure people into converting to a different religion need to fear the law.

 

But Archbishop Machado says that the attacks and the discourse around the bill are clearly aimed at Christians.

 

“It is not a good thing that the government is doing to us,” he said.

 

Social commentator and retired Maj Gen SG Vombatkere said that people should not take the law into their hands.

 

“If I have a complaint against you, I cannot come and beat you up,” he said. “I have no business to attack you, whatever you may have done. But the unusual is becoming the usual these days.”

 

Photo : Christians are a religious minority in India – Getty Images

Further reading about FORB in India on HRWF website





Notice: Undefined index: et_header_layout in /home/hrwfe90/domains/hrwf.eu/public_html/wp-content/plugins/pdf-print/pdf-print.php on line 1216

Notice: Trying to access array offset on value of type null in /home/hrwfe90/domains/hrwf.eu/public_html/wp-content/plugins/pdf-print/pdf-print.php on line 1216

Notice: Undefined index: et_header_layout in /home/hrwfe90/domains/hrwf.eu/public_html/wp-content/plugins/pdf-print/pdf-print.php on line 1217

Notice: Trying to access array offset on value of type null in /home/hrwfe90/domains/hrwf.eu/public_html/wp-content/plugins/pdf-print/pdf-print.php on line 1217

Notice: Undefined index: et_template in /home/hrwfe90/domains/hrwf.eu/public_html/wp-content/plugins/pdf-print/pdf-print.php on line 1218

FRANCE: Church sex abuse: Thousands of paedophiles in French Church, inquiry says

Church sex abuse: Thousands of paedophiles in French Church, inquiry says

 

BBC News (04.10.2021) – https://bbc.in/2YlkNWE – Thousands of paedophiles have operated within the French Catholic Church since 1950, the head of a panel investigating abuses by church members says.

 

Jean-Marc Sauvé told French media that the commission had found evidence of 2,900 to 3,200 abusers – out of a total of 115,000 priests and other clerics.

“That is a minimal estimate,” he added.

The commission is to release a lengthy report on Tuesday. It is based on church, court and police archives, as well as interviews with victims.

The inquiry was commissioned by the French Catholic Church in 2018, following a number of scandals in other countries.

 

Mr Sauvé, a senior civil servant, told France’s Le Monde newspaper that the panel had handed over evidence to prosecutors in 22 cases where criminal action could still be launched.

He added that bishops and other senior church officials had been told of other allegations against people who were still alive.

Commission members included doctors, historians, sociologists and theologians. More than 6,500 victims and witnesses were contacted over two and a half years. The final report is 2,500 pages long.

 

Christopher Lamb, of the Roman Catholic publication The Tablet, told the BBC that abuse scandals had plunged the Church into “its greatest crisis in… 500 years”.

Earlier this year Pope Francis changed the Catholic Church’s laws to explicitly criminalise sexual abuse, in its biggest overhaul of the criminal code for decades.

The new rules make sex abuse, grooming minors, possessing child pornography and covering up abuse an offence under Canon Law.

 

RELATED NEWS

French Catholic Church inquiry finds 216,000 paedophilia cases since 1950

Pope Francis expresses ‘shame’ over French Church sex abuse scandal

French Catholic Church: Clergy have abused 216,000 children since 1950, says inquiry

French report: 330,000 children victims of church sex abuse

Photo : Getty Images

Further reading about FORB in France on HRWF website





Notice: Undefined index: et_header_layout in /home/hrwfe90/domains/hrwf.eu/public_html/wp-content/plugins/pdf-print/pdf-print.php on line 1216

Notice: Trying to access array offset on value of type null in /home/hrwfe90/domains/hrwf.eu/public_html/wp-content/plugins/pdf-print/pdf-print.php on line 1216

Notice: Undefined index: et_header_layout in /home/hrwfe90/domains/hrwf.eu/public_html/wp-content/plugins/pdf-print/pdf-print.php on line 1217

Notice: Trying to access array offset on value of type null in /home/hrwfe90/domains/hrwf.eu/public_html/wp-content/plugins/pdf-print/pdf-print.php on line 1217

Notice: Undefined index: et_template in /home/hrwfe90/domains/hrwf.eu/public_html/wp-content/plugins/pdf-print/pdf-print.php on line 1218

AFGHANISTAN: Taliban ban Helmand barbers from trimming beards

Taliban ban Helmand barbers from trimming beards

BBC News (26.09.2021) – https://bbc.in/2WjSbMO -The Taliban have banned hairdressers in Afghanistan’s Helmand province from shaving or trimming beards, saying it breaches their interpretation of Islamic law.

 

Anyone violating the rule will be punished, Taliban religious police say.

 

Some barbers in the capital Kabul have said they also received similar orders.

 

The instructions suggest a return to the strict rulings of the group’s past tenure in power, despite promises of a milder form of government.

 

Since taking power last month, the Taliban have carried out harsh punishments on opponents. On Saturday, the group’s fighters shot dead four alleged kidnappers and their bodies were hung in the streets of the western city of Herat.

 

In a notice posted on salons in southern Helmand province, Taliban officers warned that hairdressers must follow Sharia law for haircuts and beards.

 

“No one has a right to complain,” the notice, which was seen by the BBC, read.

“The fighters keep coming and ordering us to stop trimming beards,” one barber in Kabul said. “One of them told me they can send undercover inspectors to catch us.”

 

Another hairdresser, who runs one of the city’s biggest salons, said he received a call from someone claiming to be a government official. They instructed him to “stop following American styles” and not to shave or trim anyone’s beard.

 

During the Taliban’s first stint in power from 1996 to 2001, the hardline Islamists banned flamboyant hairstyles and insisted that men grow beards.

 

But since then, clean-shaven looks have become popular and many Afghan men have gone to salons for fashionable cuts.

 

But the barbers, who have not been named to protect their safety, say the new rules are making it hard for them to make a living.

 

“For many years my salon was somewhere for young people to shave as their wish and look trendy,” one told the BBC. “There is no point continuing this business.”

 

“Fashion salons and barbers are becoming forbidden businesses,” another said. “This was my job for 15 years and I don’t think I can continue.”

 

 

Another barber in Herat said that although he had not received an official order, he had stopped offering beard trims.

 

“Customers don’t shave their beards [because] they don’t want to be targeted by the Taliban fighters in the streets. They want to blend in and look like them.”

 

Despite slashing his prices for a cut, his business has dried up. “Nobody cares about their style or hair fashion,” he said.

 

Photo : GETTY IMAGES image caption,After the Taliban left power, hair salons became increasingly popular among Afghan men

Further reading about FORB in Afghanistan on HRWF website





Notice: Undefined index: et_header_layout in /home/hrwfe90/domains/hrwf.eu/public_html/wp-content/plugins/pdf-print/pdf-print.php on line 1216

Notice: Trying to access array offset on value of type null in /home/hrwfe90/domains/hrwf.eu/public_html/wp-content/plugins/pdf-print/pdf-print.php on line 1216

Notice: Undefined index: et_header_layout in /home/hrwfe90/domains/hrwf.eu/public_html/wp-content/plugins/pdf-print/pdf-print.php on line 1217

Notice: Trying to access array offset on value of type null in /home/hrwfe90/domains/hrwf.eu/public_html/wp-content/plugins/pdf-print/pdf-print.php on line 1217

Notice: Undefined index: et_template in /home/hrwfe90/domains/hrwf.eu/public_html/wp-content/plugins/pdf-print/pdf-print.php on line 1218

CANADA: More churches burn down on Canada indigenous land

More churches burn down on Canada indigenous land

 

 

BBC News (27.06.2021) – https://bbc.in/3gYXiJP – Two more Catholic churches burned down in indigenous communities in western Canada early on Saturday.

The fires at St Ann’s Church and the Chopaka Church began within an hour of each other in British Columbia.

 

Officers said both buildings were completely destroyed, and they were treating the fires as “suspicious”.

 

Last Monday two other Catholic churches in the province were destroyed in fires, as Canada marked National Indigenous People’s Day.

 

“The investigations into the previous fires and these two new fires are ongoing with no arrests or charges,” Royal Canadian Mounted Police Sgt Jason Bayda said.

It comes after hundreds of unmarked graves were discovered at sites of former residential schools in Canada.

 

The government-funded compulsory schools were run by religious groups in the 19th and 20th centuries with the aim of assimilating indigenous youth.

 

Indigenous groups have demanded a nationwide search for more graves.

 

Lower Similkameen Indian Band Chief Keith Crow told public broadcaster CBC he had received a call early in the morning saying that the Chopaka Church was on fire. It had burned to the ground by the time he arrived half an hour later.

 

“I’m angry,” the chief told CBC. “I don’t see any positive coming from this and it’s going to be tough.”

 

Many in the community are Catholic Church members and are very upset about the blaze, he said.

 

In May, the Tk’emlups te Secwepemc First Nation announced the discovery of the remains of 215 children at a school in British Columbia.

 

They found them at the Kamloops Indian Residential School, which was opened under Roman Catholic administration in 1890 and closed in 1978.

 

And on Thursday, the Cowessess First Nation said it had found 751 unmarked graves at a former residential school in Saskatchewan. The Marieval Indian Residential School was also operated by the Roman Catholic Church.

 

Deaths in Canada’s compulsory boarding schools were due in large part to the squalid health conditions inside. Students were often housed in poorly built, poorly heated, and unsanitary facilities.

 

Between 1863 and 1998, more than 150,000 indigenous children were taken from their families and placed in these schools throughout Canada.

 

A commission launched in 2008 to document the impact of this system found that large numbers of indigenous children had never returned to their home communities. The commission’s landmark report said the practice had amounted to cultural genocide.

 

The Canadian government has formally apologised for the system.

 

Photo : TORONTO STAR VIA GETTY IMAGES





Notice: Undefined index: et_header_layout in /home/hrwfe90/domains/hrwf.eu/public_html/wp-content/plugins/pdf-print/pdf-print.php on line 1216

Notice: Trying to access array offset on value of type null in /home/hrwfe90/domains/hrwf.eu/public_html/wp-content/plugins/pdf-print/pdf-print.php on line 1216

Notice: Undefined index: et_header_layout in /home/hrwfe90/domains/hrwf.eu/public_html/wp-content/plugins/pdf-print/pdf-print.php on line 1217

Notice: Trying to access array offset on value of type null in /home/hrwfe90/domains/hrwf.eu/public_html/wp-content/plugins/pdf-print/pdf-print.php on line 1217

Notice: Undefined index: et_template in /home/hrwfe90/domains/hrwf.eu/public_html/wp-content/plugins/pdf-print/pdf-print.php on line 1218

Pakistan blasphemy: Gunman shoots accused dead in court

A man accused of blasphemy in Pakistan has been shot dead in a courtroom during his trial in the northern city of Peshawar.

 

By Secunder Kermani

 

BBC News (29.07.2020) – https://bbc.in/2D999UM – He had been facing charges for allegedly claiming to be a prophet.

 

Blasphemy is legally punishable by death. No-one has been executed for it by the state but accusations can often lead to violent attacks.

 

The victim, Tahir Ahmad Naseem, was accused of blasphemy in 2018 by a teenager.

 

He was killed at a trial hearing on Wednesday morning. Video shared on social media shows his body slumped over the court’s seats.

 

His attacker was arrested at the scene. Another video shows him in handcuffs, shouting angrily that his victim was an “enemy of Islam”.

 

Mr Naseem was first accused of blasphemy by Awais Malik, a madrassa student from Peshawar. Mr Naseem had struck up an online conversation with him whilst living in the United States.

 

Mr Malik told the BBC he had then met Mr Naseem in a shopping mall in Peshawar to discuss his views on religion, after which he filed a case against him with the police.

 

He said he had not been present at court, and had no knowledge of the shooting. The suspect arrested for the killing has been named as Khalid. It is not clear how he managed to bring a weapon into the court premises.

 

Mr Naseem was born into the persecuted Ahmadi sect, according to a spokesman for the community. But he added that he had left the sect and claimed to be a prophet himself.

 

The community leader suggested Mr Naseem had been mentally ill – he had uploaded videos to YouTube claiming to be a messiah.

 

Human rights groups say Pakistan’s hardline blasphemy laws disproportionately target minority communities and encourage vigilante attacks. Dozens of people accused of being blasphemers have been killed by angry mobs or militants in recent years.

 

In an unrelated development, a hashtag campaign accusing a user of committing blasphemy has been trending on Twitter in the country.

 

But other users, concerned about the individual’s safety, have been actively trying to drown out the accusations, using a separate hashtag -#btsarmypakistan – a reference to fans of the extremely popular Korean pop group BTS.

 

One of those involved in the counter-trend told the BBC it was an attempt to “resist right-wing trolls taking over the internet and possibly killing someone in the process”.

 

Hashtags related to BTS were also used during recent Black Lives Matter protests in the US to drown out racist online counter-campaigns.


Notice: Undefined index: et_footer_layout in /home/hrwfe90/domains/hrwf.eu/public_html/wp-content/plugins/pdf-print/pdf-print.php on line 1261

Notice: Trying to access array offset on value of type null in /home/hrwfe90/domains/hrwf.eu/public_html/wp-content/plugins/pdf-print/pdf-print.php on line 1261

Notice: Undefined index: et_footer_layout in /home/hrwfe90/domains/hrwf.eu/public_html/wp-content/plugins/pdf-print/pdf-print.php on line 1262

Notice: Trying to access array offset on value of type null in /home/hrwfe90/domains/hrwf.eu/public_html/wp-content/plugins/pdf-print/pdf-print.php on line 1262

Notice: Undefined index: et_template in /home/hrwfe90/domains/hrwf.eu/public_html/wp-content/plugins/pdf-print/pdf-print.php on line 1263