» 10/23/2008, 00.00
Asia, world leader in religious freedom violations
According to the 2008 Report on Religious Freedom Worldwide that was released today by Aid to the Church in Need, 10 of the 13 countries with “serious limitations” to religious freedom and 15 of the 24 countries with “limitations” to religious freedom are found in Asia.
Rome (AsiaNews) – Asia is by a wide margin the continent with the most violations of religious freedom. Ten of the 13 countries with serious limitations to religious freedom are in Asia, this according to Religious Freedom Worldwide – Report 2008 published by Aid to the Church in Need (ACN), which was released today in Rome. These countries are: Saudi Arabia, Yemen, Iran, Turkmenistan, Pakistan, China, Bhutan, Myanmar, Laos and North Korea. The other three are Nigeria and Sudan in Africa, and Cuba in the Americas. Religious freedom is also limited in 15 other Asian countries; 9 in the rest of the world.
This year the ACN Report goes international. Translated in seven languages it was released at the same time in Italy, France, Spain and Germany.
Freedom to change one’s religion, to display and practice one’s religious beliefs in private and public, to develop one’s religious life, to pass on one’s creed and spread one’s values are but some of the issue the Report analyses. With sometime alarming data and figures the survey looks at every nation in the world insofar as religious freedom is allowed or not.
ACN President Fr Joaquín Alliende, AsiaNews Editor Fr Bernado Cervellera, Camille Eid and Marco Politi presented the report in a press conference coordinated by Paola Rivetta.
The study of violations of religious freedom ranges from Saudi Arabia, which sees itself as “fully” Islamic and bans all public display of any religion other than Islam (including the possession of Bibles, wearing a crucifix, carrying a rosary or praying in public), to Bhutan, where non-Buddhist missionaries are proscribed and the construction of non-Buddhist buildings is limited or outlawed and where everyone is required to adhere to the dress code of the predominantly Buddhist Ngalop ethnic group, whether in public buildings, monasteries, schools or during public ceremonies.
The book also looks at Myanmar with its bloody repression of monks; North Korea, a country that has banned all religious practices, that has no priest or monk and where 300,000 Christians have likely perished over the past few decades; India, now infamous for its anti-Christian pogroms; China which systematically oppresses Churches, Tibetan Buddhists and Muslim Uyghurs, with prisons full of priests and pastors; and the Maldives, a tourist paradise whose constitution reserves all political, judicial and administrative posts to Muslims, where Sharia law is enforced and all public display by other religions are banned.
As visual support the book includes a map that shows where people are still suffering today because of their faith.
The ACN Report on religious freedom in the world is released
The situation appears to be very bad in large parts of the world, especially in Asia where violence against minorities, especially Christians, is up. The situation is particularly worrisome in China, where it is also difficult to get information.
Threats against missioners come from Indonesia and Malaysia
Fr Bruno Rossi, whose name appeared on an al-Qaeda-linked website, said inter-religious cooperation is good. AsiaNews sources warn against foreign fundamentalist groups operating in Thailand.
Hearings to determine full Dalit rights postponed . . . again
Supreme Court adjourns hearings till April 2007. Frontline Christian leaders are "frustrated" their campaign to have rights cover all Dalits has to wait further.
Thousands of Christian and Muslim Dalits march against discrimination
A demonstration is held in New Delhi against rule that grants status and rights only to Hindu, Buddhist and Sikh outcastes. For New Delhi’s archbishop, Mgr Concessao, India cannot afford to carry on this discrimination.
Christian and Muslim Dalits backed by fellow Dalits from other religions
VATICAN - USA
Pope to Trump: America’s greatness is measured by its attention to the poor
Pope Francis exalts the "rich spiritual and ethical values that have shaped the history of the American people” and the nation’s “commitment to the advancement of human dignity and freedom worldwide ". Concerns " for the poor, the outcast and those in need who, like Lazarus, stand before our door ". The oath Trump preceded by various prayers of Catholic, Protestant, Jewish Representatives. The slogan "America first" will guide political choices. String criticism of the establishment. China’s caution and the enthusiasm of the president of Taiwan.
CHINA - UNITED STATES
The Trump era begins: The China-US relationship and the risk of war
As the inauguration ceremony of the Trump presidency approaches, the Propaganda Bureau of the Chinese Communist Party has banned all journalists from “unauthorized criticism" of Trump’ words and deeds. According to the great dissident Wei Jingsheng there is a chance that Trump will force China into fair trade deals, possibly leading to political and legal reforms. A trade war is an option.
AsiaNews IS ALSO A MONTHLY!
AsiaNews monthly magazine (in Italian) is free.