1 December, 2015 AsiaNews.it Twitter AsiaNews.it Facebook            

Help AsiaNews | About us | P.I.M.E. | | RssNewsletter | Mobile

mediazioni e arbitrati, risoluzione alternativa delle controversie e servizi di mediazione e arbitrato

e-mail this to a friend printable version

» 10/07/2011
Indian Catholic jailed in the Maldives over a Bible and a rosary
by Nirmala Carvalho
Shijo Kokkattu, a 30-year-old teacher, was betrayed by his colleagues because he accidentally left a picture of Our Lady and some Marian songs on a school computer. Islam is state religion in the Maldives, where there is no freedom of worship. For Sajan K George, president of the Global Council of Indian Christians, religious intolerance and injustice are the “worst form of persecution”.

Mumbai (AsiaNews) – Shijo Kokkattu, an Indian Catholic from Kerala, has been languishing in a Maldives prison for more than a week because he had a Bible and a rosary at his home. Both items are banned on the archipelago.

“The lack of justice and the degree of religious intolerance” on the islands “are reflected by the actions of the Maldives government,” said Sajan K George, president of the Global Council of Indian Christians (GCIC). “This is the worst form of religious persecution. The Indian government should demand an apology for the shabby treatment inflicted on one of its citizens.”

Islam is state religion in the Maldives. There is no freedom of worship. In 2008, a constitutional amendment denied non-Muslims the right to obtain Maldivian citizenship.

Shijo, 30, has taught at Raafainu School on Raa Atoll for the past two years. Recently, whilst transferring some data from his pen drive to the school laptop, he accidentally copied Marian songs and a picture of Mother Mary into the system. Some teachers reported the matter to the police who raided his home and found a Bible and a rosary in his possession.

Shijo Kokkattu’s case shows the paradox of the Maldives, a nation that “claims to be a major tourist destination, yet arrests innocent people,” George said. “This shows its intolerance and discrimination towards non-Muslims as well as its restrictions on freedom of conscience and religion.”

“Religious freedom remains a taboo on the archipelago,” the GCIC president explained. “Muslims refuse all other forms of worship other than the one approved by the state. Doing the opposite means arrest. Kneeling, folding one’s hands or using religious symbols like crosses, candles, pictures or statues can lead to government action.”

For George, “All this is a clear violation of universal human rights. If Muslims living in non-Muslim countries can enjoy religious rights, the spirit of reciprocity should apply to countries like the Maldives and Saudi Arabia.”

e-mail this to a friend printable version

See also
Christian leader: religious freedom is central to the dialogue between Washington and New Delhi
by Nirmala Carvalho
12/16/2009 INDIA
New attack against a church in Karnataka, the fourth in four days
by Nirmala Carvalho
02/11/2012 INDIA
Karnataka: Jesuits and schools targeted by Hindu nationalists
by Nirmala Carvalho
06/07/2011 INDIA
Karnataka: police arrest Pentecostal pastor on false charges
by Nirmala Carvalho
Christian leader thanks to Obama for defending freedom of religion
by Nirmala Carvalho

Editor's choices
Paris Massacre highlights the failure of Muslim integration in Europe
by Catherine FieldThe attack in the heart of France highlights the crisis of Europe’s model of coexistence. Social unrest, poverty and marginalisation feed youth extremism and radicalisation. A New Zealander journalist, expert on expertise in religion and interfaith dialogue, talks about it after undertaking a journey through the French Muslim world.
For Nîmes imam, Islam should not be held hostage by extremists
by Hochine DrouicheFrench imams condemn the Paris terrorist attacks and disassociate themselves from violence committed in "the name of our religion." At the same time, they ask Muslim communities to dare leading a life of dialogue and friendship with Europeans, without fear or arrogance. For centuries, Muslims have ruled out reason from their religious life. The vice president of French imams bears witness.
AsiaNews marks 12 years: Persecution and hope
by Bernardo CervelleraDespite a worldwide increase of ignorance, indifference and superficiality, many signs of love and hope resist even in the most gloomy situations: the Iraqi mother who gives birth to her child in a refugee camp and smiles even though she has nothing; the Indonesian Muslim mother who blesses her son who became a Christian and a priest; the Chinese Christian families that welcome children thrown away because of the one-child law.


Copyright © 2003 AsiaNews C.F. 00889190153 All rights reserved. Content on this site is made available for personal, non-commercial use only. You may not reproduce, republish, sell or otherwise distribute the content or any modified or altered versions of it without the express written permission of the editor. Photos on AsiaNews.it are largely taken from the internet and thus considered to be in the public domain. Anyone contrary to their publication need only contact the editorial office which will immediately proceed to remove the photos.