2024

A conference in Rome to discuss the role of States in respect to Religious Freedom

On 30 May, Marco Respinti, member of FOB's Advisory Council, took part as a speaker in the international conference “Freedom of Belief and Religious Recognition: Current State and Perspectives”, organized by the Church of Scientology of Rome in collaboration with the Observatory on Religious Entities, Ecclesiastical Heritage and Non-Profit Organizations of Campania University ‘Luigi Vanvitelli’ of Naples.

Hate Crimes Epidemic Against the Jehovah’s Witnesses in Japan: Who Is Responsible?

Documents prove that private anti-cult organizations had a key role in the creation of government documents that caused a surge of hate speech and violence.

by Massimo Introvigne — In June 2023, while peacefully engaging in preaching, a female Jehovah’s Witness in her 70s was assaulted by a 57-year-old man.

Ban on Islamic headscarf in Flemish schools admissible

Ban on visible symbols of belief in the official education system of the Flemish Community not incompatible with Article 9 of the Convention

Registrar of the European Court (16.05.2024) - In its decision in the case of Mikyas and Others v. Belgium (application no. 50681/20) the European Court of Human Rights has, by a majority, declared the application inadmissible. The decision is final.

New law on 'sectarian abuses' under review by the Constitutional Council

The outcry over the new French law that has established the crime of "psychological submission" aimed at "strengthening the fight against sectarian drifts" and, from bad to worse, the crime of incitement to refuse treatment or the adherence to unconventional practices, is not fading. But the most attentive have not missed the fact that the new crime seriously endangers freedom of religion or belief, an old target of French laicity. Also because in all of this there is the unwieldy hand of MIVILUDES. 

Sweden like France: persecutory behaviour against new religions by the authorities intensifies

While France, through the government agency MIVILUDES, is targeting the followers of MISA Yoga and its spiritual leader Gregorian Bivolaru, Sweden, which has always been seen as a vanguard of tolerance, inclusiveness and human rights, has unexpectedly engaged in persecution of a new Muslim religious movement, the Ahmadi Religion of Peace and Light. The director of Human Rights Without Frontiers, Willy Fautré gave a detailed account of this, which we publish below.

Today is the 7th anniversary of the banning of Jehovah's Witnesses in Russia

"The [Orthodox] Church does not appeals for heretics, members of cults or dissidents to be subjected to prosecution. However, the decision to ban Jehovah's Witnesses is to be considered a positive act in the fight against the spread of cultic ideas, which have nothing in common with Christianity." These were the words with which Metropolitan Ilarion of Volokolamsk, chairman of the Council for External Affairs of the Russian Church, greeted the banning of Jehovah's Witnesses occurred in Russia 7 years ago, on April 20, 2017.

MIVILUDES at work: MISA Yoga believers and their spiritual leader Gregorian Bivolaru arrested in France

Under the pretext that the number of "saisines" (dubious and controversial reports) received by the MIVILUDES was increasing, on November 15, 2023, Sabrina Agresti-Roubache, Minister Delegate for Citizenship and Urban Development in the French government and MIVILUDES superintendent, presented a bill to "strengthen the fight against cultic deviances." Today, thanks to an article in The European Times® NEWS (reproduced below) signed by Willy Fautré, director o

Italy, the Great Ramadan Scare and the Need for a “Mature Secularity”

A public school’s decision to give its students (many of whom are Muslims) a day off for Eid al Fitr has generated unnecessary controversies.

By Alessandro Amicarelli — On March 17, 1861, with the proclamation made in Turin of the newly established Kingdom of Italy, the result of the annexation of the Kingdom of the Two Sicilies to the Kingdom of Sardinia, the first phase of united Italy began. It was a new sovereign state with the House of Savoy at its head and the Roman Catholic religion as the state religion.

Religious Freedom starring at the National Peace Symposium 2024

On March 9, 2024, in London, the Ahmadiyya Muslim Jama'at (AMJ) hosted the 18th National Peace Symposium. Among the many guests were Alessandro Amicarelli, Chairman of FOB, and Marco Respinti, member of FOB's Advisory Council and editor-in-chief of the academic publication The Journal of CESNUR (Center for Studies on New Religions) and the CESNUR project  Bitter Winter: A Magazine on Religious Liberty and Human Rights.

Thirty years of activities of the "Italian Islamic Religious Community" (COREIS), with a memory of Shaykh ‘Abd Al-Wahid Pallavicini

On Wednesday, February 28, 2024, an important conference on interreligious dialogue was held in Milan, Italy, at the State University, on the occasion of the 30th anniversary of the "Italian Islamic Religious Community" (COREIS), with the participation of scholars and representatives from the Jewish, Christian and Islamic worlds.

Open letter to France

Dear French citizens, Commission and Senate,

Only today (04.02.2024) I was able to read the bill being tabled, supposedly aimed to strengthen the fight against "sectarian drifts", and as a European citizen I feel to be in a position of remarking the following.

Passing that law would be a mistake for France.

Recurring cycles in the history of intollerance

In the 17th century Neapolitan philosopher Giambattista Vico illustrated how we have witnessed a turn over of moments of civilisation and moments of barbarism. France, evidently in the grip of a moment of barbarism, is once again proposing a law to strike down the so-called "sectarian drifts", to stifle any thought not aligned with the single thought so much in vogue today.

The European Parliament takes a stand against the persecution of Falun Gong in China

As reported in an article published in Bitter Winter by Yang Feng, according to a Falun Gong report, in 2023, 1,188 worshippers were sentenced to death, while 209 were killed. The thorny issue of organ harvesting to which Falun Gong worshippers sentenced to death are subjected, but also believers of other religions such as Uyghur Muslims and Christians of the Church of Almighty God, has come to the attention of the European Parliament (...)

Jehovah’s Witnesses fight Norway dangerous drift against freedom of religion or belief

The intolerant drift towards minority religions seems to know no rest in Europe, despite the dictates of the European Convention on Human Rights and the rulings promulgated by various courts in individual European states, such as the Court of Rome and, most recently, the Belgian Court of Cassation. The Netherlands also sees no reason to criminalise the restriction of contact with excluded ex-congregates.

Aldo Natale Terrin, obituary

It is with deep sorrow that we learn that Don Aldo Natale Terrin, a distinguished member of FOB's Scientific Committee, passed away on the evening of Tuesday, 9 January 2024.

Don Aldo Natale Terrin, priest of the Diocese of Padua, was born in Sandon on 23 December 1941 and was ordained to the priesthood on 8 July 1965. He was appointed as a teacher at the Minor Seminary of Thiene for secondary school. In the following months he also became a cooperator during the festivities in Roana (February-August 1966) and in Montegalda (August 1966-October 1967).

Update on the Buenos Aires Yoga School

Alessandro Amicarelli — On December 7, 2023, an important development happened in the Argentinian court case of the Buenos Aires Yoga School (BAYS). The Court of Appeals annulled the elevation to trial of the defendants and sent the case back to the investigating judge, urging him to evaluate the new evidence that had surfaced, in dialogue with the parties. The prosecutors filed an appeal in cassation against the Court of Appeals decision.