Rubric Freedom of religion

Freedom of religion
by Nirmala Carvalho

In the Indian state shaken by ethnic violence, the state government had announced that this Sunday, 31 March, would be a working day, using as a pretext the fact that it is the last day of the fiscal year. After protests by Christians (who are over 40 per cent of the local population), state authorities backtracked.

| 28/03/2024
| INDIA
by Fady Noun

The first chapel dedicated to the patron saint of the Swiss Confederation and his wife Dorothea was inaugurated over the weekend in the south of the capital. It is located in the convent of Notre-Dame de la Plaine, a retirement home belonging to the Greek Melkites. A 15th century hermit, he saved his homeland from civil war and instilled in it the founding value: neutrality. 

| 27/03/2024
| LEBANON
by Nirmala Carvalho

On the strength of their triumph in Ayodhya, nationalists linked to the BJP took the case of the Kamal Maula, an Islamic place of worship that allegedly stood where there was a temple of the goddess Sarasvati in the 11th century, to the local High Court. Local Muslims: we will continue to pray here five times a day.

| 23/03/2024
| INDIA
by Shafique Khokhar

In Faisalabad a distribution of basic necessities for 150 families who fled the violence of last August. The intervention coordinated by the Faisalabad diocese with Aid to Church in Need Germany. "We are still in the grip of physical and mental trauma," says Shazia Bibi, one of the victims. The desire to be able to 'celebrate Easter with joy'.

| 22/03/2024
| PAKISTAN
by Joseph Masilamany

A gesture by a car dealership saleswoman mirrors a society divided between tolerance and fundamentalism. Internet users divided between those who appreciate the acceptance of the Hindu blessing and those who attack her for committing a grave sin for a Muslim. The case of the team consisting of a Hindu surgeon, a Buddhist anaesthetist and Muslim nurses who operated on a Catholic priest. 

| 20/03/2024
| MALAYSIA

The victim, 47-year-old Nammye Hkun Jaw, was shot yesterday in his computer shop in Mogaung. Wounded in the stomach, he was finished off with a bullet in the head. A former leader of the Baptist Kachin Convention, he was active in the fight against drug trafficking.

| 19/03/2024
| MYANMAR

On the ninth anniversary of his death, a Eucharistic celebration marked the end of the local investigation towards the beatification of the young man who died protecting others during a deadly Islamist attack in Youhanabad. “We pray for this grace for all parents to raise peaceful youth strong in their faith,” Archbishop Shaw said.

| 15/03/2024
| PAKISTAN

The murder occurred yesterday at the monastery of St. Mark and St. Samuel the Confessor in Cullinan, 30 km east of Pretoria. The person arrested is said to be an Egyptian member of the Church. The condolences of the Cairo authorities, Pope Tawadros is also 'closely following' the affair. Grief and dismay in the Egyptian Coptic community.  

| 13/03/2024
| EGYPT - SOUTH AFRICA
by Dario Salvi

Over the weekend, the bells at Ibrahim Al-Khalil Church chimed for the first time. Its inaugural Mass will take place by Easter. Speaking to AsiaNews, the engineer who conceived and financed its construction calls for peace in Gaza, saying that the Church will be a place full of symbolism to "show the world" our Christian "identity”. Many now hope that it will draw pilgrims to “rediscover their land”.

| 12/03/2024
| GATEWAY TO THE EAST
by Shafique Khokhar

Kidnapped at the age of 13 and forced to marry a Muslim, a Christian girl from a brick kiln family suffered severe abuse. She was segregated when she rebelled over her husband’s second marriage. “I want to see my children. I want justice!” she said. For Joseph Jansen, this is “the true face of the reality” minorities continue to experience in Pakistan.

| 12/03/2024
| PAKISTAN

At least 4,000 suspected “terrorists” have been arrested since 7 October, pushing up the number of Palestinians in jail from about 5,200 to about 9,000 thanks to the widespread use of administrative detention. Clashes break out overnight between police and Muslims at the start of Ramadan near al Aqsa. Israeli police limit access to the holy site despite pledges to the contrary.

| 11/03/2024
| ISRAEL – PALESTINE

Celebrations were held yesterday for the diocesan Catholic weekly, a respected voice in India and beyond. In his speech, the cardinal recalled the commitment to promoting dialogue and the legacy based on quality information. Fr. Irudayasamy delved into the topic of artificial intelligence. An award to AsiaNews correspondent Nirmala Carvalho.

| 11/03/2024
| INDIA

The victim is the Chaldean Hanna Saka, who died while returning to Baghdad after the Swedish expulsion order. The fatal illness on board the plane, but problems had already emerged before boarding. For his brother, his condition worsened after the rejection of his asylum application. Iraqi Christians and migration, an ever-present issue.

| 09/03/2024
| IRAQ - SWEDEN

There has been no definite news about their fate since 4 March. The arrest took place without a warrant or explanation of the reasons. They are relatives of Pastor Y Khen Bdap, who was also sentenced in 2004 to four years for 'disturbing public order' for religious activities. The community had already been subjected to sectarian violence and persecution in the past.

| 09/03/2024
| VIETNAM
by Steve Suwannarat

The government blames US-based Montagnard Support Group Inc and Montagnard Stand for Justice for attacks on Communist Party headquarters in the Dak Lak area. Despite recent overtures, Vietnam’s Christian minority is still victimised and persecuted.

 

| 08/03/2024
| VIETNAM

AsiaNews publishes a reflection for the Lenten season by a Capuchin friar from Lahore. The situation in the country mirrors "the negative impact" of global conflicts and general tension. Prayer "a glimmer of hope" in the midst of chaos. The renunciation of food a practice that "brings one closer to God". Almsgiving a material representation of mercy.

| 07/03/2024
| PAKISTAN
by Dario Salvi

On 20 February, the Chaldean Patriarch took part in the Saudi government's third forum on the media as "bridges" of peace, the Kaiciid a partner in the event. The relationship between Christians and Muslims in a nation in "evolution". The call for a form of 'synodality' also for Islam. The "wise" position of Riyadh in the war in the Holy Land. And to the Holy See: "We must dialogue, discuss" with the Saudis.

 

| 05/03/2024
| GATEWAY TO THE EAST
by Shafique Khokhar

On Monday, the Pakistani Senate voted on the Christian Marriage (Amendment) Bill 2023. For Christians, the legal age of marriage goes from 16 to 18 years of age. The battle to protect young women and girls from the practice of child brides and forced conversion began in November 2022. Now many hope it can be extended to all religions.

| 01/03/2024
| PAKISTAN
by Mathias Hariyadi

Indonesia’s Religious Affairs Office is becoming more inclusive, Religious Affairs Minister Qoumas announced, with services available to "all Indonesian citizens”, not only Muslims. Its premises will be open for weddings of members of religious groups that do not yet have places of worship.

| 26/02/2024
| INDONESIA

The community is appealing to the courts to assert its rights over the 'Garden of Cows' at the centre of an opaque real estate transaction that threatens to distort their historic neighbourhood. The land is held in trust with a waqf fund established 400 years ago. The objective is the annulment of the sale agreement. Pro Terra Sancta" collection: the Custodian calls for "prayer, pilgrimages and sharing of resources" from Christians around the world.

| 26/02/2024
| HOLY LAND

The appeal contained in the final declaration of the Peace Round Table that brought together Buddhists, Christians, Hindus, Muslims and Jews in Tokyo on the initiative of Religions for Peace. "We pray and offer solidarity to those who suffer the brunt of ongoing wars and violence. Let us work together to promote the common good'.

| 24/02/2024
| JAPAN

The authorities have completed the transformation of one of the most symbolic places of Chinese Islam. The minarets have been torn down, while a sentence at the entrance invites obedience and gratitude to Beijing. A change that also affects other mosques in the area, where a large Hui Muslim community lives. As for the churches, children are forbidden to enter.

| 23/02/2024
| CHINA

Founded in 1951 to help recently independent India’s social and economic development, the Indian Social Institute has long been in the government's crosshairs. The think tank, with which Fr Stan Swamy collaborated, has never been involved in evangelisation activities, its current executive director told AsiaNews, but it has openly criticised the Hindutva ideology.

 

| 22/02/2024
| INDIA

The government set the deadline for 31 December. For some, the date leaves the federal parliament too little time to legislate in such a sensitive matter. Two visions confront each other as to the place of state secularisation and Islamisation.

| 20/02/2024
| MALAYSIA

Victims often do not report for fear of further harassment. In 2023, at least 166 arrests were made, but only a fraction were made public. Pressure and repression continue even after release. In Turkey, an Iranian Christian who fled in 2013 risks deportation and, in case of repatriation, imprisonment.

| 19/02/2024
| IRAN - TURKEY
by Nirmala Carvalho

The Assam Christian Forum issued a statement, saying that the bill violates religious freedom. It is based on "misconceptions” about healing practices, the role of "faith and prayer" in illness, and fails to respect religious "diversity". Christian leaders also express concerns about "threats" to educational establishments and calls for the "removal of Christian symbols”.

 

| 17/02/2024
| INDIA

Stephen Chen Yueli was arrested as he entered mainland China on charges of "illegal business operations" for his involvement in printing children’s Sunday school materials. According to China Aid, he is in solitary confinement and cannot even see his lawyers. With him, eight other Christians were also arrested.

| 16/02/2024
| CHINA

The Middle East’s largest Hindu place of worship is in a country that is home to 3.6 million Indian workers. Its ruler, Mohammad bin Zayed, wants to make it a crossroads for interfaith dialogue. During his visit to the Gulf country, Modi also said laid the foundation stone of Bharat Mart, a huge "Indian market" in Dubai, hosting logistics services for exports from India to Europe and Africa.

| 14/02/2024
| INDIA – UNITED ARAB EMIRATES
by Shafique Khokhar

A mob attacked an Ahmadi place of worship in Kotli district, sending the caretaker to hospital with serious injuries. Previously, they had given the authorities an ultimatum to demolish the Ahmadi mosque. Despite CCTV footage, police have yet to make any arrests. “We want justice,” Ahmadi leader told AsiaNews.

| 14/02/2024
| PAKISTAN

For Card Sako, the time of fasting and prayer offers a “new horizon" that invites us to let "the Holy Spirit change us from within." The vicar of southern Arabia speaks of a "path" of hope, mercy and forgiveness. The Maronite patriarch asks the faithful to pray for the "divisions, conflicts, hatred" in Lebanon. Mar Younan mentions the "process of repentance through the Holy Spirit.”

| 14/02/2024
| IRAQ – MIDDLE EAST
Editor's choices
 
Francis spoke at the expanded session of the summit underway in Puglia under Italy’s presidency. This is the first time a pontiff sits among the world’s top political leaders. In his address, he focused on artificial intelligence, an “exciting ...
| 14/06/2024
| VATICAN – ITALY
 
by Gianni Criveller
The great German Reformed theologian, who passed away a few days ago at the age of 98, nurtured dialogue with cultural Christians in Hong Kong and Beijing. He recognised the dignity and sincerity of another theological journey in China, however controversial, ...
| 09/06/2024
| ECCLESIA IN ASIA
 
by Sumon Corraya
Caritas Secretary General Alistair Dutton visits the refugee camps where Caritas Bangladesh has been active since 2017 together with the Government of Bangladesh. Global food aid has fallen to US$ 10 per person per month, which has serious consequences. ...
| 08/06/2024
| BANGLADESH
 
According to Prof Sebasti L. Raj, the BJP lost some key constituencies because it focused on religious issues rather than solve people’s real problems. The opposition is not a single bloc; to succeed, it must remain united. New undercurrents within ...
| 07/06/2024
| INDIAN MANDALA
 
by Dario Salvi
Yesterday at the Centro PIME in Milan, the nun spoke about the six months of brutality she experienced in Gaza. The war came on suddenly, with violence greater than in the past, which “removed the veil of human rights". Christians too are among ...
| 05/06/2024
| ITALY – GAZA
 
For years he has travelled the country barefoot, from north to south, feeding on alms and sleeping in the forests. A eulogy of religious devotion through the 13 ascetic practices of ‘Dhutanga’. Hostilised by official Buddhism, the monk is ...
| 01/06/2024
| VIETNAM
 
by Gianni Criveller
AsiaNews’s editorial director looks at the conferences that marked a hundred years since the Council of Shanghai. While acknowledging past mistakes, he insists that most missionaries were committed to the good of the Chinese people. The nationalism ...
| 23/05/2024
| RED LANTERNS
 
by Giorgio Bernardelli
The bishop of Shanghai is in Rome for the conference marking the centennial of the first meeting of all Chinese bishops. The Church is one, but its development in China must "be in line" with the "great rebirth of the Chinese nation”. Communion ...
| 21/05/2024
| VATICANO-CHINA
“L’Asia: ecco il nostro comune compito per il terzo millennio!” - Giovanni Paolo II, da “Alzatevi, andiamo”