Religious Liberty Alert | Week ending Friday 13 June 2008

General June 12, 2008


* AZERBAIJAN: Nine Jehovah's Witnesses were 'beaten, threatened with rape and pressured to renounce their faith' in Azerbaijan after police raided their allegedly 'illegal' meeting. This is not the first raid that Azerbaijan's Jehovah's Witness community has faced. Other religious communities face persecution from authorities and are pressured to renounce their faith. Forum 18 reports:

~ Seventh-day Adventist communities were raided in December 2007;

~ the 'Azeri-language Baptist congregation' report raids, Baptists have difficulties meeting 'without state registration' and Baptist Pastor Zaur Balaev, previously jailed, has 'been threatened with reimprisonment because local Baptists continue to meet for worship';

~ The Assemblies of God congregation in Baku 'has been denied state registration since May 2006' and police halted their worship the last time the church met.

~ Muslims have been arrested for involvement with 'an unapproved Muslim group'.

AZERBAIJAN: Beatings, rape threats and pressure to renounce faith Forum 18 News Service | 9 June 2008
http://www.forum18.org/Archive.php?article_id=1140


* CANADA: Reports and analysis on Islam by non-Muslims are increasingly attacked by Muslims as discriminatory and Islamophobic and they are turning to the courts to enforce their view. In another example, the Canadian Islamic Conference (CIC) claim Muslims have been discriminated against in an article 'The future belongs to Islam' by Mark Steyn in the Canadian news magazine Maclean's
<
http://www.macleans.ca/culture/books/article.jsp?content=20061023_134898_134898 >. This recent case before the British Columbia Human Rights Tribunal, awaiting final decision, sparks debate over freedom to speak, write and publish one's opinion on religion.

BC RIGHTS TRIBUNAL HEARS MUSLIM DISCRIMINATION CLAIM AGAINST MAGAZINE Jurist | 3 June 2008
http://jurist.law.pitt.edu/paperchase/2008/06/bc-rights-tribunal-hears-muslim.php

* ERITREA: Mission Network News reports, 'It has been difficult to get confirmation on the future of Full Gospel Church leaders Dr Kifle Gebremeskel and Haile Naizghi and Pastor Tesfatsion Hagos of the Rema Evangelical Church. They've been imprisoned and isolated since May 2004. The government has already gone after churches and religious groups on "grounds that they allegedly encouraged insurrection and supported networks of deserters".' Compass Direct News reports that 34 evangelicals were arrested last week in Keren, Eritrea. Christians face arrest and torture without representation and fair trial in Eritrea.

ERITREAN GOVERNMENT STEPS UP CAMPAIGN AGAINST BELIEVERS Mission Network News | 9 June, 2008
http://www.mnnonline.org/article/11311

ERITREA: AUTHORITIES JAIL 34 MORE CHRISTIANS IN HOUSE CHURCH RAID
Compass Direct | 2 June 2008
http://www.compassdirect.org/en/display.php?page=news&idelement=5397&lan


* INDONESIA: After months of speculation the Indonesian government has decreed that members of the Muslim sect 'Ahmadiyah' will face imprisonment if they do not 'return to mainstream Islam'. Persecution of Ahmadiyah members in Indonesia from Muslim 'hard-liners' has escalated alongside protests to have the sect banned.

INDONESIAN OFFICIALS ORDER SECT TO RETURN TO MAINSTREAM ISLAM
The Associated Press | 9 June 2008
http://www.iht.com/articles/ap/2008/06/09/asia/AS-GEN-Indonesia-Islamic-Sect.php

Background articles from previous RLAs:

INDONESIAN MILITANTS ATTACK INTERFAITH MARCHERS
Reuters | 1 June 2008
http://in.reuters.com/article/worldNews/idINIndia-33850520080601?sp=true

INDONESIANS DEMAND BAN ON SECT
BBC | 20 April 2008
http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/asia-pacific/7357021.stm


* INDONESIA (West Papua): Will Australian Prime Minister Kevin Rudd raise the human rights abuses in West Papua (where the indigenous population are predominantly Christian Melanesians) with the Indonesians on his state visit this week? Australia has typically avoided West Papua issues with Indonesia and limited comments to affirming Indonesia's sovereignty over West Papua. The Australian West Papua Association (Sydney) has called on PM Rudd to address West Papua human rights abuses with Indonesia as he raised Tibet with Chinese Leadership during his recent visit.

JAKARTA STANDS FIRM OVER TIGHT GRIP ON PAPUA
The Sydney Morning Herald | 12 June 2008
http://www.smh.com.au/news/world/jakarta-stands-firm-over-tight-grip-on-papua/2008/06/11/1212863734478.html


* IRAN: A Christian House Church Leader 'previously held and tortured for religious activity' has been detained by police without reason. Iran's Islamic Laws restrict Christian activity and conversion to Christianity is illegal. Converts or 'apostates' are frequently arrested and tortured.

IRAN: CHRISTIAN ARRESTED WITHOUT CHARGES
Compass Direct | 9 June 2008
http://compassdirect.org/en/display.php?page=news&lang=en&length=long&idelement=5421

----------------------

World Evangelical Alliance (WEA) Religious Liberty Commission (RLC) has selected this digest of significant articles as a resource for the informed concern, prayers, support and advocacy of the Christian Church on behalf of its sisters and brothers who are suffering for their faith in Christ.

Contact email: <
[email protected] >

PLEASE NOTE: All URL links were active at the time this email was issued but may have since been removed by the respective owners. Whilst the RLC considers the items included are credible, the RLC has not necessarily verified them. Therefore anybody quoting an item should satisfy themselves about its accuracy as well as attribute its original source to fulfil copyright law.