24 April, 2014 AsiaNews.it Twitter AsiaNews.it Facebook            

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





mediazioni e arbitrati, risoluzione alternativa delle controversie e servizi di mediazione e arbitrato
e-mail this to a friend printable version


» 10/07/2011 16:14
INDIA – MALDIVES
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
11/20/2013 INDIA - UNITED STATES
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
04/07/2014 INDIA
Christian leader wants to see a "new" democratic India that is against corruption and for the elderly
by Nirmala Carvalho

Editor's choices
ITALY - ASIA
Easter, victory over death and impotence
by Bernardo Cervellera
SYRIA
I will miss you Fr Frans, you inspired us all, says Syrian Jesuit
by Tony Homsy*A young priest from the Society of Jesus remembers the life and work of Fr Frans van der Lugt, who was killed in Homs after he refused to abandon residents beleaguered by hunger and war. "He gave and continues to give everything for the Church, Syria, and peace. His story and qualities made him an exceptional missionary and witness to the Gospel." Reprinted courtesy of 'The Jesuit Post'.
FRANCE - IRAQ
Chaldean Patriarch on the uncertain future of eastern Christians, a bridge between the West and Islam
by Mar Louis Raphael I SakoThe wars in Iraq, Libya and Afghanistan have made things worse for their peoples, especially minorities. As Western policies have been a failure, fundamentalism has grown with the Arab Spring losing out to extremism. Muslim authorities have a role in protecting rights and religious freedom. The presence of Christians in the Middle East is crucial for Muslims.

Dossier
by Giulio Aleni / (a cura di) Gianni Criveller
pp. 176
by Lazzarotto Angelo S.
pp. 528
by Bernardo Cervellera
pp. 240
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.