Persecution and the Pope

Pope Francis I must build on the work of his two predecessors.
By Nina Shea
The newly-elected Pope Francis I greets the crowd at St. Peter's Square.Pope Francis I should be a strong defender of persecuted religious believers of all faiths. The world is in dire need of such leadership.Religious persecution is the gravest human-rights abuse of our day, both in its global reach and the numbers affected and in its implications for regional stability and world peace. When Congress enacted and President Clinton signed into law the International Religious Freedom Act in 1998, the United States became a world leader in the defense of religious freedom, with the high point of American leadership being a negotiated end to a religious conflict in South Sudan that had taken some 2 million lives. But it is a world leader no more. Washington has abdicated that role even as religious repression is intensifying internationally.


Muslim Persecution of Christians: October 2012

December 10, 2012 By Raymond Ibrahim

Reports of Christian persecution by Muslims around the world during the month of October include (but are not limited to) the following accounts. They are listed by form of persecution, and in country alphabetical order, not necessarily according to severity:
Church Attacks
Canada: Just as happens regularly in Egypt (see below), a Molotov cocktail was hurled through the window of a newly opened Coptic church near Toronto. Unlike in Egypt, however, firefighters came quickly and little damage was done: “Police have no suspects or motive in the incident.”


Mayan apocalypse: panic spreads as December 21 nears

07 Dec 2012

Fears that the end of the world is nigh have spread across the world with only days until the end of the Mayan calendar, with doomsday-mongers predicting a cataclysmic end to the history of Earth.
Ahead of December 21, which marks the conclusion of the 5,125-year "Long Count" Mayan calendar, panic buying of candles and essentials has been reported in China and Russia, along with an explosion in sales of survival shelters in America. In France believers were preparing to converge on a mountain where they believe aliens will rescue them.


International Day of Prayer for the persecuted body of Christ

Between 200 and 250 million Christians throughout the world live daily with the threat of religious persecution. The global Christian community seeks to raise awareness for the plight of persecuted Christians through the International Day of Prayer.The day of November 11 is known to many Christians throughout the world as the International Day of Prayer.Some 200 to 250 million Christians in over 60 nations globally live under the threat of religious persecution.
India: while this nation is a democracy that grants its citizens the right to religious freedom, Christians are frequently targeted by Hindu extremists.
These extremists have carried out a series of attacks on Christians that have ranged from threats, beatings, rapes and even murder. In other attacks they have burned down churches, businesses and the homes of Christians.
Extremists have not only stepped up violent activity against Christian citizens of India, but have also increasingly targeted foreigners in the nation conducting missionary work.
Persecution against Christians is at its most severe in India’s Orissa state.
Because of the looming threat of violence stemming from religious intolerance, large numbers of Christians in this nation are “secret believers” who practice their faith in house churches or underground churches.
The lead Hindu extremist groups responsible for targeting or inciting violence against Christians nationwide are: Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP), the Vishwa Hindu Parishad and the Bajrang Dal. Most of India’s Hindu extremist groups are also legitimate political parties that have been elected to some prominent positions in government.
The BJP in particular is the most powerful and by far the most influential of all the Hindu extremist groups in India.
Government officials in India are currently mulling the passage of what is known as “anti-conversion laws.”
Hindu extremist political parties, whom also happen to be brainchild behind these laws, are slyly promoting this piece of legislation as an additional safeguard to the nation’s long standing right to religious freedom.
However, advocacy groups are not fooled and have expressed concern over the controversial set of laws.
As you may have guessed yourself from merely reading its name, the aptly-titled “anti-conversion laws” will make it exceedingly difficult and possibly even illegal for Hindus to convert to Christianity (as well as any other faith). Even more, Christians or persons from other religious faiths who evangelize to Hindus could face criminal penalties.
In a statement to the Christian Post (CP), Dr. Sajan K. George of the Global Council of Indian Christians (GCIC) said of the anti-conversion laws
“This is a clear example of tinkering with the rights guaranteed to the Christians. Anti-conversion laws do not stand the test of constitution of India, inconformity with the spirit of constitution. The law in question has direct bearing upon the main aspect of religious rights to preach, profess and practice Christianity,”
George also expressed concerns that the laws would have an adverse impact on Christians or for anyone wanting to follow the teachings of Christ as well as give extremists a basis to continue to discriminate and abuse converts who tend to be from the lower end of the socioeconomic ladder, commonly known as the caste system in India.
While India does not have a state religion, most of its citizens are adherents of Hinduism, thus this particular faith tends to feature prominently in the social and political affairs of this nation.