Religious Liberty Alert | Week ending Friday 18 July 2008

General July 18, 2008

* EGYPT: Bloomberg reports on the escalation of Muslim-Christian conflict in Egypt including forced conversions, stabbings, bombings and restrictions on building churches, as well as attacks on Christian businesses and a monastery.

EGYPT FACES RISING RISK OF LEBANON-LIKE MUSLIM-CHRISTIAN STRIFE
Bloomberg | 16 July 2008
http://www.bloomberg.com/apps/news?pid=20601085&sid=aGB2ohGaumjo&refer=europe


* INDIA: Religious Intelligence reports, 'The Justice Basudev Panigrahi Enquiry Commission yesterday began hearing victims of the violence that began on December 24, 2007 and lasted for a week in Orissa's Kandhamal district. At least four Christians were killed and 730 houses and 95 churches burned in the attacks that were allegedly incited by Swami Laxmananda Saraswati, who is close to a Hindu nationalist group, the Vishwa Hindu Parishad (World Hindu Council).'

OVER 100 CHRISTIAN VICTIMS TO INCRIMINATE HINDU 'SAGE' FOR ATTACKS
Religious Intelligence | 15 July 2008
http://www.religiousintelligence.co.uk/news/?NewsID=2307


* INDIA: Khaleej Times Online reports, 'The controversial Gujarat Freedom of Religion Act to check religious conversions achieved by force, lure, or deceit has come into force in the state ... What has surprised many is the fact that though the Act was passed by the legislative assembly last year amid protests and came into force from April 1, the rules have been notified and publicised only now.'

NEW ANTI-CONVERSION LAWS IN GUJARAT
Khaleej Times Online | 13 July 2008
http://www.khaleejtimes.com/darticlen.asp?xfile=data/subcontinent/2008/July/subcontinent_July405.xml§ion=subcontinent&col=


* INDONESIA (Papua Province): The World Council of Churches (WCC) will visit Indonesia from 17 to 24 July 2008, according to the UK-based organisation Ekklesia. Some members of the delegation will visit West Papua. 'Over the past years the WCC has also repeatedly expressed its concern over human rights violations against the indigenous people of Papua.'

CHURCHES' SOLIDARITY VISIT TO INDONESIA WILL FOCUS ON RECONCILIATION WORK
Ekklesia | 16 July 2008
http://www.ekklesia.co.uk/node/7514


* ITALY: Following on from last week's media alert and concern over the Italian government's proposition to fingerprint all Roma's (gypsies) residing in Italy, the Italian parliament has approved a decision to extend fingerprinting for a national identity card to all Italian citizens and foreigners living in Italy. The racial profiling previously suggested was strongly criticised internationally and by the European Union.

ITALY FINGERPRINT PLAN GETS INITIAL OK
Associated Press | Accessed 17 July 2008
http://news.yahoo.com/s/ap/20080716/ap_on_re_eu/italy_fingerprints;_ylt=AmTvDUDJJoyNp12pY81F4otvaA8F


* IRAN: US President George W Bush condemns the lack of religious freedom in Iran, reports Mission Network News and Voice of the Martyrs.

IRAN'S HUMAN RIGHTS ABUSES CONDEMNED
Mission Network News | 16 July 2008
http://www.mnnonline.org/article/11448


* IRAN: BBC reports that in Iran 'apostasy', to leave Islam or to convert to another religious, is punishable by execution under Iranian Sharia Law.

IRANIANS 'EXECUTE SIX IN PUBLIC'
BBC News | 14 July 2008
http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/middle_east/7505762.stm


* NEW ZEALAND: New Zealand media report that 'Swastikas and obscenities greeted a Myanmar (formerly Burma) family last Wednesday when they went out to use their car'. The Christian family left Burma to escape persecution. Mayor David Ogden plans to organise a meeting call for more tolerance in the community.

FAMILY FEELS PERSECUTED BY VANDALISM ATTACKS
Hutt News | 15 July 2008
http://www.stuff.co.nz/stuff/dominionpost/4619061a24118.html


* PAPUA NEW GUINEA: Radio New Zealand reports, 'The Governor of Papua New Guinea's Sandaun province says local people living along the border with Indonesia are in fear for their lives due to incursions by Indonesian military.' The people living along the border with Indonesia are a combination of local people and refugees from Papua. In response to a letter from Indonesian military officials the PNG Defence Force commander said, '"We must understand that Indonesia has an army that is hundred times bigger than ours and sometimes commanders have difficulties in controlling their younger soldiers," he said. "Indonesia is going through a political reform and they have problems in Aceh, West Papua and previously in Timor Leste." '

PNG'S SANDUAN GOVERNOR SAYS LOCALS LIVE IN FEAR
Radio New Zealand | 14 July 2008
http://www.rnzi.com/pages/news.php?op=read&id=40894

INDONESIA APOLOGIZES FOR PNG BORDER INCIDENTS
Pacific Magazine: 17 July 2008
http://www.pacificmagazine.net/news/2008/07/17/indonesia-apologizes-for-png-border-incidents


* SAUDI ARABIA: A new report from the Center for Religious Freedom at the Hudson Institute finds, '. . . that the Saudi textbooks are filled with the austere supremacism of the Wahhabi sect of Islam, despite promises from the Kingdom in 2006 to alter them. For example, a textbook for 10th graders on Islamic jurisprudence not only says it is permissible in Islam to murder a homosexual, but recommends the methods for doing so: burning alive, stoning, or throwing one off a high building ... Jews, Christians, and non-Wahhabi Sunni Muslims are described in many of the textbooks as enemies of the true faith and infidels.'

Despite Saudi Promises, Textbooks Filled With Hate
New York The Sun | 18 July 2008
http://www.nysun.com/foreign/despite-saudi-promises-textbooks-filled-with-hate/82163/


* ZIMBABWE: Reuters reports, 'Zimbabwe's Christian community on Tuesday rejected President Robert Mugabe's re-election last month as marred by violence and intimidation and said it would support a government of national unity. In a statement obtained by Reuters, the heads of all the churches in the predominantly Christian country said the contest between Mugabe and opposition leader Morgan Tsvangirai was marred by the worst violence since independence in 1980.'

ZIMBABWE CHRISTIAN CHURCHES REJECT MUGABE VICTORY
Reuters | 15 July 2008
http://africa.reuters.com/wire/news/usnL15600248.html

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