Reports highlights rising tide of religious persecution
Reports showing the rising tide of inter-religious violence and persecution has been launched by a Christian interest group that works for religious freedom.
Covering developments in Cuba, Egypt, India, Indonesia, Nigeria, Pakistan, Peru and Saudi Arabia Christian Solidarity Worldwide (CSW) launched the compilations this week at their Annual Meeting in London.
The reports highlight emerging as well as ongoing violations of religious freedom as well as detailing individual cases, the political and religious history of the countries and CSWís recommendations for change.
The ongoing violations of religious freedom in Saudi Arabia are shown by the arbitrary arrests and detention of Christians, as well as by the mistreatment of detainees, denial of consular and legal access and lack of fair court proceedings.
CSW is continuing to call on the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia to "safeguard the religious freedom of all believers to worship in the privacy of their own homes", to bring to an end "the arbitrary arrests of law-abiding residents on account of their faith" and to grant access to human rights reporters, including the UN Special Rapporteur on Religious Intolerance.
In Pakistan, there has been an escalation of tension and acts of aggression against Christian and other non-Muslim communities. CSW also continues to call on President Musharraf to abolish the Blasphemy Law which causes such sectarian tension and to safeguard the lives and property of Christians and other non-Muslims.
In Nigeria, CSW is gravely concerned by the chronic instability caused by the institution of Shariíah Law in parts of the north. 12 of the countryís 36 states have adopted this as the de facto law and a determined constituency within the northern Muslim community has stated a long-term aim to declare Nigeria an Islamic state. Shariíah Law discriminates against women and non-Muslims and violates the Nigerian Federal Constitution and the governmentís obligations as signatory to the UNís Convention Against Torture (CAT).
Religious freedom in Cuba, Egypt, India, Indonesia and Peru continued to be threatened according to the reports which each contain details of individual cases, responses from the various governments as well as country profiles and religious backgrounds.
Mervyn Thomas, speaking at CSWís Annual Meeting said: ìThe persecution of Christians will increase and will continue to increase because the Church is growing around the world at a rate of something like 70,000 to 80,000 new Christians a day."
ìAs the persecution increases, so we will continue to bring evidence of religious liberty abuses to both the Christian community and to the world at large.î
He went on to highlight the encouraging development of increased cooperation among the persecuted Church agencies, adding: ìThere is a real synergy in working together with those such as Release International, Open Doors and Jubilee Campaign and we hope to continue to develop this.î