Afghanistan – Central Asia – Egypt – India – Somalia – United Nations – Vietnam

General March 13, 2009

Religious Liberty Alert | Week ending Friday 13 March 2009 

http://www.ea.org.au/ReligiousLiberty/Alerts.aspx   

AFGHANISTAN 

'BRITISH officials are helping to establish informal Sharia courts in southern Afghanistan to discourage Afghans from turning to the Taliban for justice ... British officials helping the Afghan Government set up the justice councils acknowledge the new bodies compromise international plans to deliver a modern, largely secular, legal system.' 

British foster sharia courts to counter Afghan extremists
WA Today | 9 March 2009
http://www.watoday.com.au/world/british-foster-sharia-courts-to-counter-afghan-extremists-20090309-8t9v.html
 

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CENTRAL ASIA 

Radio Liberty reports despite constitutions that guarantee religious freedom, 'restrictions on religious practices by non-Muslims in Tajikistan, Kyrgyzstan, Uzbekistan, or Kazakhstan' continue and 'in practice governments do everything they can to impose stricter control over religious groups, including so-called traditional religions' such as Christianity.  

Religious Intolerance Persists In Central Asia, Despite What Constitutions Say
Radio Free Europe Radio Liberty | 11 March 2009
http://www.rferl.org/content/No_Matter_What_The_Constitutions_Say_Religious_Intolerance_Persists_In_Central_Asia/1508070.html
 

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EGYPT 

Wagih Maurice Barzi (28) was found murdered and floating in the Nile. The accused have confessed to torturing and killing the young man because he allegedly abused a Muslim girl.  

Another Christian in Egypt Murdered on Pretext of Harassing Muslim Female
AINA | 11 March 2009
http://www.aina.org/news/20090311174022.htm
 

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Voice of the Copts reports on the murder of a second Christian man in Egypt this week. Shihata Sabri (25) was set on fire and eventually died. His father was murdered and his younger brother wounded by a Muslim man after Sabri allegedly had a relationship with the Muslim man's sister. 

Egypt Muslim Burns a Young Copt Alive and Murders His Father Because of a Rumor
Europe News | 11 March 2009
http://europenews.dk/en/node/20973 

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INDIA 

Archbishop Raphael Cheenath reports on the displaced Christians in refugee camps in and outside Orissa and discusses 'The politically motivated indifference of the government has emboldened the Sangh Parivar to go on with their nefarious plans of total elimination of Christians from Kandhamal district, Orissa and from India itself in order to realize their Hindutva ideology.' 

Christians continue to be harassed in Orissa
Indian Catholic | 5 March 2009
http://www.indiancatholic.in/news/storydetails.php/11394-1-1-Christians-continue-to-be-harassed-in-Orissa
 

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SOMALIA 

Somalia is one step nearer to Sharia law after the country's government approved the adoption of the Islamic law as the official legal system. The decision awaits ratification by the parliament. If the measure is made law all citizens in Somalia, regardless of religion, would be bound by the restrictions of Islamic law. 

Somalia one step nearer to Sharia law
Jerusalem Post | 11 March 2009
http://www.jpost.com/servlet/Satellite?cid=1236764155359&pagename=JPost%2FJPArticle%2FShowFull 

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UNITED NATIONS 

A press release from UN Watch 'denounced a new U.N. resolution circulated today by Islamic states that would define any questioning of Islamic dogma as a human rights violation, intimidate dissenting voices, and encourage the forced imposition of Sharia law.' 

Proposal at U.N. rights council to criminalize 'defamation of Islam'
UN Watch | 11 March 2009
http://www.unwatch.org/site/apps/nlnet/content2.aspx?c=bdKKISNqEmG&b=1316871&ct=6829271 

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Spokespeople from the US Commission on International Religious Freedom 'called attempts to protect religion (specifically Islam) from criticism' as 'The lofty-sounding principle is, in fact, a cleverly coded way of granting religious leaders the right to criminalize speech and activities that they deem to insult religion. Instead of promoting harmony, however, this effort will exacerbate divisions and intensify religious repression.' 

Obama should condemn the UN anti-blasphemy resolution
Examiner | 11 March 2009
http://www.examiner.com/x-4275-DC-Secularism-Examiner~y2009m3d11-Obama-should-condemn-the-UN-antiblasphemy-resolution
 

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VIETNAM 

The lawyer, Mr Le Tran Luat and his firm who are defending the parishioners of Thai Ha have been harassed by police. 'The parishioners of Thai Ha ... were sentenced in December for "damaging state property" and "disorderly conduct" because they participated in prayer vigils calling for "justice" and the restitution of land confiscated from the church, and of their request that the state media correct the false reporting on their trial ...' 

Hanoi: Catholics held Candlelight Vigil for defense lawyer
VietCatholic News - 8 March 2009
http://www.vietcatholic.net/News/Html/64893.htm
 

New defamation campaign by Hanoi media against Catholics of Thai Ha
Asia News | 11 March 2009
http://www.asianews.it/index.php?l=en&art=14700
 

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Digest compiled by World Evangelical Alliance (WEA) Religious Liberty Commission (RLC). All URL links were active when the digest was issued. Whilst the RLC has taken every care in selecting the items included, their authenticity depends on the original source.  

Contact email: <owner-religious-liberty@hub.xc.org