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» 10/23/2008
ASIA
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.


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See also
11/25/2010 ASIA
The ACN Report on religious freedom in the world is released
01/13/2005 THAILAND
Threats against missioners come from Indonesia and Malaysia
by Dario Salvi
10/12/2006 INDIA
Hearings to determine full Dalit rights postponed . . . again
by Nirmala Carvalho
11/18/2009 INDIA
Thousands of Christian and Muslim Dalits march against discrimination
by Nirmala Carvalho
03/11/2005 INDIA
Christian and Muslim Dalits backed by fellow Dalits from other religions

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SAUDI ARABIA - ISLAM
For head of Al-Azhar, religious education reform is needed to stop Islamic extremismFor Ahmed al-Tayeb, it is urgent to come up with new educational programmes to avoid "corrupt interpretations" of the Qur'an and Sunnah. Islamic terrorism undermines the unity of the Muslim world. He blames Mideast tensions on a "new global colonialism allied to world Zionism". a speech by the Saudi king is read at the conference.
HONG KONG - CHINA - VATICAN
It looks like someone is trying to shout us down
by Card. Joseph Zen Ze-kiunThe widespread optimism concerning the dialogue between the Holy See and China is largely groundless. Some Chinese bishops unable to speak freely are asked "leading" questions. The key issues remain unresolved, namely episcopal appointments and the fate of the Chinese Catholic Patriotic Association. Benedict XVI's Letter to Chinese Catholics, also cited by Pope Francis, provides guidelines. No agreement is better than a bad agreement. What happened to Msgr. Cosma Shi Enxiang and Msgr. James Su Zhimin? Hong Kong's bishop emeritus, champion of religious freedom in China, delivers a vibrant reflection.

Dossier

by Giulio Aleni / (a cura di) Gianni Criveller
pp. 176
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