Alliance Defending Freedom: It’s days away: The Supreme Court’s marriage decision is expected to come down on June 29.
Breitbart: In the space of just five days, from May 10 to 15, 2015, Hindu Fundamentalist groups have carried out five separate attacks against Christians in their places of worship in the central Indian state of Madhya Pradesh, which is under the authority of the ruling Hindu nationalist Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP).
Christian Today: India’s Hindu nationalist government has denied that “communal” politics were behind a series of attacks on churches and the rape of a nun in recent months, as it seeks to quell rising concerns among religious minorities.
Ecumenical News: Christian leaders recorded at least three incidents of violence against their community a week after Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi spoke out against religious intolerance in the country and pledged to act on the issue.
The Guardian: Reports of a new mass conversion of Christians in India have raised concerns over freedom of worship, days after Barack Obama challenged the country’s record on religious tolerance.
Religion News Service: U.S. President Barack Obama weighed in on one of India’s most sensitive topics as he wound up a visit on Tuesday (Jan 27), making a plea for freedom of religion to be upheld in a country with a history of strife between Hindus and minorities.
Charisma News: “We have had more than 4,000 calls already. Most of them are out of eagerness to verify if it is working and also to express solidarity,” said Tehmina Arora, a lawyer with the Alliance for Defending Freedom India.
Christian News Network: Arvind D’Souza was stopped by the police “for reasons of public order,” even though he had committed no crime. The incident occurred on Jan. 2 in the district of Amethi in Uttar Pradesh.
One News Now: Just this month, Hindu radicals intensified a so-called “purification campaign” to make remote areas of Uttar Pradesh a Christian-free zone.
WND: Yoga has been recognized as a “state religion” in a California school district, and an appeals court now is being asked to reject state officials’ arguments that the Hindu meditation and worship – which already has been affirmed as “religious” in a courtroom – has no more spiritual influence than football.
One News Now: Concerns continue for Christians in India, and a human rights organization for religious freedom says the greatest issue as of late is the “absolute skyrocketing of attacks that have been taking place on Christians and other religious minorities” in that country.
First Things: “Atheism may have turned a corner,” writes Tom Roston at Quartz. He’s referring to Sam Harris’s latest, Waking Up, subtitled “A Guide to Spirituality without Religion.”
The Gospel Herald (Morning Star News): When attorney Loreing Ovung of religious rights group Alliance Defending Freedom-India called Hussain, however, the officer said a bail bond of 20,000 rupees (US$330) had been imposed on the alleged assailants, and that he had advised the Christians to submit a written complaint about the latest assault.
Christian News Network (Morning Star News): Police in Pakistan have taken into custody a Christian convert from Hinduism and his Hindu co-worker for allegedly burning a Koran and a chart of Koranic verses.
Religious Freedom Coalition (Morning Star News): Police in Pakistan have taken into custody a Christian convert from Hinduism and his Hindu co-worker for allegedly burning a Koran and a chart of Koranic verses.
Reuters: Fired up and full of vitriol, Hindu activist Rajeshwar Singh is on a mission to end centuries of religious diversity in India, one conversion at a time. “We will cleanse our Hindu society. We will not let the conspiracy of church or mosque succeed in Bharat (India),” he said, standing in the family’s front yard by a ritual fire lit to purify the poor, lower-caste converts.
Hindu nationalist group seeking to cleanse Christian presence from India is not unlike ISIS, watchdog group warns
The Christian Post: International Christian Concern has warned that Sangh Parivar, an umbrella Hindu nationalist group, is inflicting suffering and looking to cleanse the minority Christian population in India, much like terror group ISIS is doing in Iraq and Syria.
Christian News Network: Church leaders in India have asked national and Chhattisgarh state officials to reverse a ban on non-Hindu religious activity that more than 50 villages have reportedly adopted.
Daily Times: “The Hindu community has urged the government to provide them religious freedom, ensure sanctity of their worship places, protection of their lives and properties, and grant them their fundamental rights enshrined in the constitution.”
Des Moines Register: “An Iowa inmate has won a lawsuit against the state because he was served food prepared in pots and pans that had previously touched meats and other ingredients — a violation of that inmate’s religious rights, a judge has ruled.”
WSJ: “India’s laws restricting religious conversions–intended to protect people from being forced to change their beliefs — are an obstacle to religious freedom, a senior United Nations figure said in an interview. Heiner Bielefeldt, the UN’s special rapporteur on freedom of religion or belief, spoke to The Wall Street Journal last week.”
Sunday Times: “A group of extremist Buddhist monks and laymen attacked two Christian religious centers yesterday in Hikkaduwa, local media reported.”
NY Times: They try to coax him, reminding him that Hindu and Muslim families lived together in his village for generations before September, when a two-day spasm of religious violence engulfed the area, sending about 50,000 people fleeing from their homes.
Police in India slow to investigate torture, killing of Christian boy | Christian Today (Morningstar News)
Christian Today (Morningstar News): Attorney Tehmina Arora of Alliance Defending Freedom-India said the murder shows how elusive religious freedom is in India. “This is a tragic and brutal killing of a young child, seemingly to curb the free exercise of his and his parents’ religious beliefs,” she said. “In a nation where we have constitutionally guaranteed freedom of conscience and religion, no one should be targeted, let alone murdered, for their faith. This is a sad and painful reminder of how far we have to travel before these fundamental rights become a reality.”
MorningStar News: The body of his small son, Anugrag Gemethi, nicknamed Anmol, was found in a pond on Nov. 18 after he failed to return home from a friend’s house the previous day. His face was mutilated beyond recognition, there were burn marks on his stomach, his toes were chopped off and one hand and arm were deeply slashed, Gemethi said . . . Attorney Tehmina Arora of Alliance Defending Freedom-India said the murder shows how elusive religious freedom is in India. “This is a tragic and brutal killing of a young child, seemingly to curb the free exercise of his and his parents’ religious beliefs,” she said. “In a nation where we have constitutionally guaranteed freedom of conscience and religion, no one should be targeted, let alone murdered, for their faith. This is a sad and painful reminder of how far we have to travel before these fundamental rights become a reality.”
The Hindu: A bipartisan resolution introduced in the U.S. House of Representatives this week has praised the U.S. government for holding firm to its 2005 decision to deny Gujarat Chief Minister and BJP Prime Ministerial candidate Narendra Modi a visa to enter the U.S. Introduced on Monday evening, House Resolution 417 . . .
Morningstar News: In a remote corner of Nepal, a church elder was summoned three times after midnight last month to pray for the head of a devout Hindu family.
The Hindu: The court ruled that the folding of hands at prayer time in state-funded schools could not be imposed on individuals as it went against Article 28 (3). However, Justice Abhay Oka ruled that Mr. Salve should respectfully remain present at prayers.
Religion Clause Blog: . . . in Kumar v. Gate Gourmet, Inc. . . . Plaintiffs, including a Hindu, Muslim and Orthodox Christian, claim that the lunch options served to them violate their religious beliefs because the company sometimes puts meat products in the vegetarian dish or pork in the meat dish offered to workers.
Christian Post (ANS): Morning Star News went on to say that some have suggested that the investigating officer may have neglected to question eyewitnesses at the crime site, as witnesses there at that time did not disclose information to police, said Tehmina Arora, an attorney with Alliance Defending Freedom-India, who appeared for the accused at the Supreme Court for their bail application. “It’s hard to understand why those who were eyewitnesses to such a tragic event failed to disclose the same to the police,” she told Morning Star News. “The reliance placed on certain witnesses by the court seems unjustifiable and based on assumptions and presumptions. Furthermore, in spite of little evidence of the same, the court has made very strong and unwarranted statements against the seven Christians.”
The Hindu: In two seemingly disconnected incidents, prayer meetings conducted by Christian groups were disrupted on Sunday in different parts of Karnataka.
Persecution.org: Some have suggested that the investigating officer may have neglected to question eyewitnesses at the crime site, as witnesses there at that time did not disclose information to police, said Tehmina Arora, an attorney with Alliance Defending Freedom-India, who appeared for the accused at the Supreme Court for their bail application. “It’s hard to understand why those who were eyewitnesses to such a tragic event failed to disclose the same to the police,” she told Morning Star News. “The reliance placed on certain witnesses by the court seems unjustifiable and based on assumptions and presumptions. Furthermore, in spite of little evidence of the same, the court has made very strong and unwarranted statements against the seven Christians.”
Catholic Culture: Members of the militant Hindu youth organization Bajrang Dal have burned down a church in a village in India and are now threatening individual Christians there, according to World Watch Monitor, a news agency that reports on the persecution of Christians.
Morningstar News: Police in Chhattisgarh state last week chastised and threatened a pastor when he reported that Hindu extremists beat a Bible student unconscious, area Christians said.
NY Times: But in 2006, the late Bharatiya Janata Party leader Dilip Singh Judeo arrived in Ara with the sole agenda of converting 300 Christian families to Hinduism. Mr. Kujur’s was one of them.
Morningstar News: Incidents of violence against Christians in India’s Karnataka state have spiked since June, including hospitalization of a school helper this month after Hindu extremists beat her and marched her through the streets.
Morningstar News: That night at about 11 p.m., the same Hindu nationalists forced their way into her house. “They asked me why I converted to Christianity and left all the Hindu idols, and they also told me that I should reconvert to Hinduism or else be killed,” Sovi said.
Catholic Culture: Hindu extremists have twice attacked a small Protestant church in Yelahanka, a suburb of Bangalore in the southwestern Indian state of Karnataka.
Reuters: India’s political parties blamed each other for religious riots that killed at least 31 people and forced hundreds to flee their homes this weekend, in a sign of rising tension between Hindus and Muslims ahead of a general election due by May.
Christian Science Monitor: Hindu-Muslim violence 80 miles from Delhi in Muzaffarnagar in the northern state of Uttar Pradesh, has left 31 dead and 40 more in the hospital raising fears of a return to widespread communal violence.
Catholic Culture: Hindu extremists have attacked two Protestant pastors in the southwestern Indian state of Karnataka, the Fides news agency reported.
Christian Newswire: Shouting religious slogans, a mob estimated at 1,000 people has destroyed a Christian church under construction in northern India, according to a report received from church leaders in the region. The attack occurred Aug. 25.
Morningstar News: “The extremists wanted Vishaal and his wife to convert back to Hinduism, and they threatened that they will cut them to pieces if they do not convert back to Hinduism,” she said.
Religion Clause Blog: For a number of years, Britain has debated whether to include caste discrimination among individuals from the Indian subcontinent as part of its anti-discrimination laws. The Equality Act 2010, Sec. 9, gave the government authority to issue an Order to include caste discrimination.
Global Post: A Malaysian court on Thursday ruled against the 2009 conversion of three Hindu children to Islam without their mother’s knowledge, a verdict welcomed by non-Muslim groups.
Times of India: The decision of the education department of Madhya Pradesh to introduce a chapter on the Bhagwad Gita in classes XI and XII has triggered a debate among city students on the viability of having religious elements in their syllabus.
Virgin Mary In A Sari: Hindus Outraged By Christian Statue Depicting Blessed Mother And Jesus In Indian Tribal Dress
International Business Times: The issue of Christian missionaries proselytizing in India has taken a bizarre turn after a church in the eastern state of Jharkhand installed a statue of Mother Mary and Baby Jesus depicted as “tribals,” the indigenous people of the state. With dark brown complexions and sporting traditional Indian tribal clothing (white sari with red border, etc.), the statue in a church in the village of Singhpur has sparked outrage from local Hindus and other non-Christians who have called for its immediate removal.
AsiaNews.it: A 35-year-old Christian man was beheaded for refusing to convert to Hinduism. Indian media that covered the affair revealed that the man, Tapas Bin, was killed by his own father-in-law in the village of Teliamura (West Tripura District), in the north-eastern part of the country, where the victim’s body was found a few days ago in a stream.
Arnold Ahlert at Canada Free Press: Kataria further contends that Indians are not facing terrorism, but worldwide jihad, which he calls a “fully globalized franchise…working overtime to destroy all non-Muslim nations.”
Oye Times: Distinguished Hindu statesman Rajan Zed’s request to Folketing Speaker Mogens Lykketoft to read Hindu invocation as a part of the “divine service” at the next opening of Folketing has ended in a denial with the response—“Parliament of Denmark must respectfully decline your kind offer”—from Speaker’s PA Marianne Treumer Ammitzboll. No reason of denial was given.
Catholic Culture: Five Christian churches, three Hindu temples, and one mosque of the Ahmadiyya Muslim community were attacked in Pakistan in 2012, according to a report prepared by the Pakistani Bishops Conference’s Justice and Peace Commission.
Fides Service: A court of first instance in Orissa sentenced to six years in jail 12 persons guilty of violence against Christian communities, during the campaign of indiscriminate violence which occurred in the district of Kandhamal (Orissa) in 2008. “It is the first step toward justice. P
Religion Clause Blog: Yesterday’s Huffington Post reports that Tulsi Gabbard, the first Hindu elected to the U.S. Congress, will take her oath of office in January using the Bhagavad Gita, a sacred Hindu text.
Damage Award Denied To Father Who Objected To Foster Care Placement That Violated Children’s Religious Training
Religion Clause Blog: In BK v. Toumpas, (D NH, Nov. 14, 2012), a New Hampshire federal district court rejected a Hindu father’s claim for damages against state child welfare officials for placing his 3 minor children in temporary foster care with families that disrespected the children’s religious upbringing by serving them beef and taking them to Christian religious services.
Google News (AP): They came after dusk and chanted into the night sky “Kill the Hindus, kill the children of the Hindus,” as they smashed religious icons, ripped golden bangles off women’s arms and flashed pistols. It wasn’t the first time that the Hindu temple on the outskirts of Pakistan’s largest city was attacked, and residents here fear it will not be the last.
Huffington Post: Tuesday’s elections brought two historic firsts for religion in American politics: A Buddhist senator and a Hindu representative — both from Hawaii — will join Congress. Democrat Mazie Hirono beat former Gov. Linda Lingle (R), making Hirono the first Buddhist in the Senate.
NY Times: When it was over, the men threatened to kill her if she told anyone, and for days the girl said nothing. Speaking out would have been difficult, anyway, given the hierarchy of caste. She was poor and a Dalit, the low-caste group once known as untouchables, while most of the attackers were from a higher caste that dominated land and power in the village.
AP: Indian police have arrested three Muslim militants suspected of planning terror attacks in New Delhi during a major Hindu festival season that starts later this month . . .
Religion Clause Blog: Time reports that last Friday, in the Indian state of Gujarat a special court sentenced Maya Kodnani, the former state minister for women and child development, to 28 years in prison for her role in the 2002 Naroda Patiya massacre during which Hindus killed 96 Muslims as part of widespread Hindu-Muslim violence following the firebombing of a train carrying Hindu pilgrims.
Washington Post: More than 250 Pakistani Hindus have arrived in India over the past two weeks bearing tales of religious persecution, according to Indian border officials, fueling perceptions of growing discrimination against minorities in Pakistan.
The Hindu: India has sought strengthening of security around places of worship in the United States and urged Washington to come out with a strong message of reassurance to the Indian community following the Wisconsin gurdwara shooting that left six dead.
Christian Today: For months, a group of Hindu extremists in southern India had been blasting high-volume movie music at the prayer meetings of a local Christian ministry.
AP: An Indian court on Monday sentenced 21 Hindus to life imprisonment in the deaths of 11 members of a Muslim family during some of the country’s worst sectarian violence 10 years ago.
Wall Street Journal (via Google): India’s Supreme Court is this week reviewing whether Muslims deserve affirmative action, and this has once again ignited a debate on how the world’s largest democracy treats its biggest minority.
AP: Police say a communal clash between Muslims observing the holy month of Ramadan and Hindus offering alms to one of their gods left one man dead and 20 injured, including policemen, in northern India.
Catholic Culture: Some 50 Hindu extremists attacked a tiny Christian village in the eastern Indian state of Orissa on June 15, beating a Protestant pastor and 20 residents.
Religion Clause Blog: Last December, the government of India announced the creation of a 4.5% sub-quota for economically and socially disadvantaged non-Hindu minorities– Muslims, Christians, Sikhs, Buddhists and Zoroastrians– within the existing 27% Other Backward Classes (OBC) set-asides for government jobs and education.
One News Now: The Alliance Defense Fund (ADF) has made progress in defending the rights of Christians in India. . . . “No one should be targeted for violence, inhuman treatment and religious discrimination simply because of their Christian faith,” [Benjamin] Bull contends. “The legal efforts of ADF in India are all designed to ensure that the religious freedoms protected in India’s constitution are upheld. Aggressors should not be allowed to get away with persecution by either disregarding the law or by attempting to pass laws that conflict with the constitution.” [more]
Legal Periodical: “Between Tradition and Progress: A Comparative Perspective on Polygamy in the United States and India”
Choudhury, Cyra Akila, Between Tradition and Progress: A Comparative Perspective on Polygamy in the United States and India (May 3, 2012). University of Colorado Law Review, Vol. 83, No. 4, 2012. Available at SSRN: http://ssrn.com/abstract=2050671
LA Times: The girls are forced to convert to Islam, rights groups say. In court, a few wives have chosen to stay with their husbands, but families say they were coerced.
NY Times: The Supreme Court had intervened in the three cases in recent weeks, “sequestering the women from their parents and their new husbands to consider their future without pressure,” Mr. Masood writes. “The court ruled on Wednesday that all three had freely chosen to remain Muslim.”
Religion Clause Blog: Gulf Times reports that a court in the Indian state of Gujarat yesterday convicted 23 people in connection with the Ode village massacre that took place in 2002 as part of broader Hindu-Muslim religious riots set off after a train carrying 60 Hindu pilgrims was set on fire by a mob