Rubric Freedom of religion

Freedom of religion

Today's news: In Sumatra seven months in prison for a comedian for a joke about Mohammed; 21-year-old Afghan Manizha Talash, who fled the Taliban, at the Olympic Games in the refugee team; Hong Kong outlaws and withdraws passports from six activists who fled to the UK; Two Indians recruited by the Russian army killed in the war in Ukraine; New attack in Yerevan against synagogue. 

| 12/06/2024
| ASIA TODAY

The Protestant community, with more than 170 communities scattered throughout the country and 8,000 adherents, was in the crosshairs. For the judges, expelling or banning entry on the basis of intelligence reports does not constitute a violation of religious practice. A majority decision, opposed by the former president. In the meantime, there is renewed talk of a possible reopening of the Greek Orthodox seminary in Halki in the near future. 

| 10/06/2024
| TURKEY
by Santosh Digal

The election during the 2024 general assembly which took place in Lima, Peru. He succeeds Irish priest Fr. Tim Mulroy and will remain in office for the next six years. A priest since 2009, he has carried out his ministry in Taiwan and also in China and the Philippines. Founded in 1918, today they are present in 15 countries.

 

| 07/06/2024
| PHILIPPINES - ASIA

The Buddhist leader had become famous for walking from the north to the south of Vietnam for rights. According to the authorities - who have him on file - he purposely interrupted his march. A version that does not convince activists and pro-human rights groups. A US congressman appeals to the Commission on Religious Freedom. 

| 06/06/2024
| VIETNAM
by Shafique Khokhar

The mob that attacked the victim on 25 May also set his home and business on fire. The rest of the family miraculously escaped. Doubts are being raised over the timing of his death, with some believing the government delayed the announcement to avoid international censure. Activists accuse the authorities of knowingly covering for the groups who use the law to kill indiscriminately.

| 03/06/2024
| PAKISTAN

The first World Children's Day is being celebrated over the weekend, at the initiative of the Holy Father. Bishop Martinelli met with a group of children, answering their questions, and inviting them to put "their joy, their enthusiasm" at the service of the Church. About a hundred young people met in Hong Kong to share experiences and expectations.

| 25/05/2024
| ASIA – VATICAN

The raid took place on 19 May, Pentecost Sunday. Two men on a motorbike threw a grenade during the service. Marybel Atis, 40, and Rosita Tubilo, 65, were hit by the shrapnel, sustaining several injuries. Card. Quevedo: 'dastardly' attack and 'sacrilegious act'. Appeal to the authorities for justice to be done.

| 22/05/2024
| PHILIPPINES
by Dario Salvi

Bishop Aldo Berardi, head of the vicariate that includes Bahrain, Kuwait, Qatar and Saudi Arabia, comments on Pope Francis' decision to grant the Syro-Malabar Church jurisdiction over Indian migrants. "This is not a secondary element, it concerns areas that go beyond rituals" and will have to be defined. The problem of places of worship, relations with the State and interlocution with the Muslim world. "Too many voices" can create "confusion".

| 16/05/2024
| GULF - VATICAN - INDIA

The building is accessible to the public and the faithful after the official inauguration ceremony. The former Christian place of worship was converted by presidential decree in August 2020. President Erdogan extols the thousands of 'ancestral heritage sites' to which he would 'breathe new life', but makes no mention of its origin as a basilica. 

| 08/05/2024
| TURKEY
by Dario Salvi

The German-born Benedictine who leads the Dormition Monastery stigmatises the ‘fanatical’ attitude while ‘people are suffering, dying’. The opposing front seen as ‘monster’ or ‘animal’ to justify the violence. The rise to power of the ultra-right Ben-Gvir government has led to an escalation in anti-Christian attacks in the Old City. Like Jesus prayer and forgiveness in response to hatred, the way to reconciliation.

| 07/05/2024
| GATEWAY TO THE EAST

Reconstruction work lasted over a year. The entire Christian community, from Greek Melkites to the Evangelicals, gathered for a day of celebration. The service was led by Primate Youssef Absi. Caught between warrying Armenians and Azerbaijanis, the historic church of St John the Baptist in Shushi has been destroyed.

| 27/04/2024
| SYRIA – AZERBAJIAN

The Christian lawyer turned 60 on 20 April, but Chinese authorities have refused to provide any information about his fate. Repeated appeals from his wife, human rights NGOs, and UN agencies have been ignored. He is among the many victims of enforced disappearances by China’s communist regime.

| 27/04/2024
| CHINA

While the country is getting ready to welcome Pope Francis in September, amendments have been proposed to assert the country’s Christian identity. For the Catholic Bishops' Conference, this is a “dangerous” step that “obscures and even erases our unique Melanesian identity [. . .] rather than acknowledge, celebrate and perfect it through the Gospel”. The backers of the constitutional changes are the same groups that got the King James Bible inside parliament in 2015, promising “blessings and riches”.

| 24/04/2024
| PAPUA NEW GUINEA
by Dario Salvi

Layan Nasir, a 23-year-old native of Birzeit, is the only Christian woman under "administrative detention". She was taken, blindfolded and handcuffed, overnight by a military patrol without an arrest warrant or charges against her. The Bethlehem Lutheran leader: Israel enjoys "impunity" and “feels entitled to destroy the lives of millions of people.”

| 19/04/2024
| ISRAEL – PALESTINE
by Shafique Khokhar

Bishop Indrias Rehmat chose Fr Abid Tanvir, former diocese vicar general, as parish priest. Two catechists were also appointed to work with him. Admired and visited by Muslims, the church named after Saint Anthony was inaugurated last year. The bishop urged the faithful “to make this beautiful church stronger in spirituality.”

| 18/04/2024
| PAKISTAN

At least 12 people are under investigation, six of whom are currently in jail. At the centre of the investigation is a cell based in Başakşehir and responsible for the attack on the Franciscan parish at the end of January. Other operations targeting the parliament, military barracks and police stations are under investigation. 

| 18/04/2024
| TURKEY
by Dario Salvi

Chaldean Patriarch calls for joint efforts to "ease" an escalation with "devastating" consequences. The Iraqi premier in Washington for a strenuous search for stability. The cardinal's satisfaction at returning to the capital after months of voluntary exile in protest against the withdrawal of the presidential decree. The promise of an inter-religious prayer for peace. 

| 16/04/2024
| GATEWAY TO THE EAST
by Shafique Khokhar

In the village of Gujranwala, a family row became the pretext for a video accusing a pastor of burning the Qur'an. The authorities and the local community acted quickly to quell religious tensions. Fr Rashid Asi hopes this case will set a “precedent for the entire nation to properly investigate any allegations brought against anyone.”

| 13/04/2024
| PAKISTAN

An Evangelical NGO, ChinaAid, reports that a Chinese Christian who tried to use an automatic online translator to read information about the Protestant Reformation was flashed an ominous warning from China’s Internet agency that every “religion must adapt to Chinese socialist society.” China’s repression against house churches not compliant to the patriotic movement face digital scrutiny.

| 13/04/2024
| CHINA

After months in Erbil, the cardinal is back at the patriarchal seat in the Iraqi capital. His voluntary departure was triggered by the decision of the Iraqi president to repeal a decree recognising patriarchal authority, a controversy linked to a militia led by a self-styled Christian leader eager to grab Church-held assets. On social media, Iraqi Christians (and Muslim leaders) express joy and satisfaction at the patriarch’s return.

| 11/04/2024
| IRAQ

Pictures, images, and activities that undermine national unity or promote a "separatist ideology" are banned. The Chinese government has long sought to control the choice of Tibet’s next spiritual leader. For his part, 88-year-old Tenzin Gyatso says he is in good health and wants to “live for more than 100 years.” Meanwhile, the fate of the Panchen Lama remains an unsolved mystery.

| 11/04/2024
| RED LANTERNS
by Sumon Corraya

The prelate, who chairs the Episcopal Commission for Christian Unity and Interreligious Dialogue, released a statement to mark the end of Ramadan. In it, he says that promoting “social fraternity and world peace” is a shared task. In addition to Eid celebrations, preparations are underway for Bengali New Year on 14 April.

| 10/04/2024
| BANGLADESH
by Nirmala Carvalho

The Bishops' Conference sets guidelines for the thousands of Church-run educational establishments, with suggestions on how to promote respect for all faiths, such as reciting the Preamble of the country’s constitution every morning. The goal is to rediscover “justice, liberty, equality and fraternity” as “the essence of India’s core values.”

| 09/04/2024
| INDIA

Inaugural mass of the Church of Our Lady of Perpetual Help, in the al-Dawasa district. The place of worship had been conquered and devastated by jihadists, then turned into a police barracks of the Islamic State. The joy of the more than 300 Christians who attended the service. 

| 06/04/2024
| IRAQ

This morning Francis received in audience the participants in the first meeting between the Dicastery for Interreligious Dialogue and the Congress of Leaders of World and Traditional Religions. In his address, he underlined three "aspects" to focus on, namely respect for diversity, environmental commitment to the common home, and the promotion of peace.

| 04/04/2024
| VATICAN

Disputed properties in the area known as the 'Cows Garden', which has long been at the centre of a legal dispute, were targeted. The police, without presenting any warrants, supported the attackers in their attempt to evict them. The Patriarchate in a note asks "Christians around the world" to defend and support the battle of the Holy Land community.

| 04/04/2024
| HOLY LAND
by Fady Noun

Led by Mohammed Sammak and Fayçal Sinno, the delegation visited the Holy See for the first time. The meeting with Card. Parolin and the greeting to Pope Francis. The aim is to develop a cooperation agreement at the level of Christian and Muslim educational institutions. A meeting with Fr. Youssef Nasr, secretary of the Lebanese Catholic schools, is planned for the end of Ramadan. 

| 03/04/2024
| LEBANON - VATICAN
by Nirmala Carvalho

The official charitable organisation of the Catholic Church is also in the crosshairs of an 'anti-conversion' campaign promoted by an organisation linked to fundamentalists. A complaint was sent to the Ministry of the Interior. Fr D'Souza: "Unfounded accusations against a work that serves everyone. This only fuels prejudice and fear'.

| 02/04/2024
| INDIA

After waiting in vain for asylum in Malaysia where she converted to Christianity, Laleh Saati, 45, returned to Iran. A local court found her guilty of acting "against national security” based on alleged links to " Zionist Christian organisations". The video of her baptism was entered as “evidence” of her “crime”.

| 30/03/2024
| IRAN – MALAYSIA
by Dario Salvi

The Custos of the Holy Land speaks to AsiaNews: the Palestinian issue is a long unresolved problem that must be addressed "with realism". The UN vote on the truce has a "moral value", but we need the "courage" to recognise and legitimise ourselves. The Roman centurion "an example of mature faith". The Collection is a "special communion" and fundamental resource today, with a thought for all persecuted Christians in the world. 

 

| 29/03/2024
| HOLY LAND
Editor's choices
 
by Alessandra De Poli
Kim Aris, 47, has accepted on his mother’s behalf the honorary citizenship awarded to her by the town of Abbiategrasso (Italy). Her family does not know where the 79-year-old is being detained nor her health conditions. According to her son, the ...
| 17/06/2024
| MYANMAR
 
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
“L’Asia: ecco il nostro comune compito per il terzo millennio!” - Giovanni Paolo II, da “Alzatevi, andiamo”