Articles

Kyrgyz Jehovah's Witnesses can continue to use their books

On November 30 we reported on the proceedings against the Kirhisi Jehovah's Witnesses, guilty of using publications that, according to the General Prosecutor's Office, are "extremist", in accordance with the intolerant and anti-cult line of neighboring Russia. Today we are pleased to announce that the District Court of Pervomayskiy has rejected the request of the Prosecutor's Office, also thanks to an expert opinion written by Massimo Introvigne and Rosita Šorytė, respectively director and deputy director of Bitter Winter.

Scholars, Activists Discuss the Women of Tai Ji Men

by Alex Amicarelli — On November 23, 2021, CESNUR, the Center for Studies on New Religions, and Human Rights Without Frontiers organized yet another of the bi-monthly webinars on the Tai Ji Men case. In preparation for the International Day for the Elimination of Violence against Women (November 25), scholars and human rights activists discussed the theme “Women, Spirituality, and the Tai Ji Men Protests.”

Russia Model Restricting Religious Freedom Exported to Kyrgyzstan?

Will Kyrgyzstan Abide by the Rule of Law or Merely Follow in the Footsteps of Russia by Restricting Religious Freedom? - The test case of the Publications of Jehovah’s Witnesses. In Kyrgyzstan, the Pervomayskiy District Court is expected to rule on Thursday 2 December on a claim from the General Prosecutor’s office to ban 13 publications of Jehovah’s Witnesses as “extremist,” with the apparent aim of following in Russia’s footsteps and banning the Witnesses simply for their peaceful Christian worship.

The Krishna Society wins in Court against Russia

Press Release by the Registrar of the Court — The applicants are the Centre of Societies for Krishna Consciousness, a religious organisation under Russian law based in Moscow, and a Russian national Mikhail Aleksandrovich Frolov. The case concerns the applicants’ attempts to challenge hostile descriptions of the Krishna movement and the refusal of permission to hold public religious events promoting the teachings of Vaishnavism.

Russia sentenced once more by the European Court

Once again the European Court stigmatize and condemns the intolerant behavior of Russia towards the new religious movements present on Russian territory disliked by the ruling Orthodox class and the Russian anti-cultists headed by Alexander Dvorkin, vice-president of FECRIS and director of the Saint Irenaeus of Lyons Centre for Religious Studies, a Russian association affiliated to FECRIS. We publish below an article by HRWF about the ruling of the European Court.

980 hate crimes against Christians reported in Europe in 2020

An OSCE report shows that graffiti, vandalism and arson attacks against churches are some of the more common crimes. There are 70% more cases reported than in 2019. The Office for Democratic Institutions and Human Rights (ODIHR) of the Organisation for Security and Co-operation in Europe (OSCE) has launched its Hate Crime Data 2020 on 16 November, the International Day for Tolerance. The ODIHR collects data from states, governments statistics, civil society, international organisations and UNHCR and OSCE missions.

Historic Victory of Jehovah's Witnesses in Russia: Group Prayer Is Not a Crime

October 28, 2021 will be remembered as another day when David defeated Goliath. The Supreme Court of Russia has ruled that Jehovah's Witnesses who pray in groups do not commit a crime and therefore cannot be prosecuted. The sentence opens a breach in art. 282.2 of the controversial Yarovaya law. The hope is that now all Jehovah's Witnesses detained in Russian prisons for praying or reading the Bible as a group will be released as soon as possible.

Persecution of Ahmadis takes another life in Peshawar, Pakistan

CAP LC — It is with agonizing heart-rending grief that we come to you with the horrible news of the brutal target killing of an Ahmadi Mr. Kamran Ahmad in Peshawar, Pakistan. On November 09, 2021 at around 05:30 PM Mr. Kamran Ahmad an Ahmadi of age 40 years was shot dead by an unknown assailant in Peshawar, Pakistan. He has left behind a widow and 3 minor children. He was an employee at one of the factories on Industrial Estate Kohat Road, Peshawar. He was at work when an unknown man opened fire at him.

When Belgian media wrongfully stigmatize and fail to publish the judicial truth: the case of Jehovah’s Witnesses (2)

HRWF — Human Rights Without Frontiers has identified three well-known TV channels – RTBF, RTL and VRT – and several major newspapers such as La Libre Belgique, La Dernière Heure and Het Laatste Nieuws which have failed to report the dismissal of the case against the association of Jehovah’s Witnesses wrongfully suspected of hiding cases of sexual abuse in its midst and holding so-called internal trials, generally favourable to the alleged perpetrators.

When Belgian media wrongfully stigmatize and fail to publish the judicial truth: the case of Jehovah’s Witnesses (1)

HRWF — Le Soir, La Capitale Sud-info, Bruxelles News, Nieuwsblad, VRT Nieuws and Bruzz who had very imprudently reported in 2018-2019, as a breaking news, the alleged failure of the Belgian Jehovah’s Witnesses association to report sexual abuse in their midst were the only media outlets to report about the 5th October 2021 court decision dismissing the charges against this religious group.

USCIRF Releases Factsheet on China’s Measures on the Management of Religious Clergy

Washington, DC – The United States Commission on International Religious Freedom (USCIRF) today released the following new report:

China Factsheet – This factsheet provides an overview of the new Chinese government Measures on the Management of Religious Clergy and their adverse impact on religious freedom in China.

Interview with Juliet Chowdhry on the occasion of the launch of Asia Bibi's memoirs

Back in late 2018 we published an article on the release of Asia Bibi after 9 years of imprisonment for blasphemy due to the fact that she, a Christian woman, dared to drink water from a glass of her Muslin co-worker. We are now happy to find that she and her daughters are doing fine and that Asia wrote a book about her experience and the 'awful torture Asia Bibi suffered', hoping it will help Pakistan's Muslims to become more tolerant and to embrace a rightful freedom of belief for all religious minorities in that country.

Belgian Court declared as unfounded false accusation about Jehovah’s Witnesses

Press release of the Christian Congregation of JW/ Belgium (21.10.2021) - On 5 October 2021 the Court Chambers of Brussels declared that there were “no grounds” for the criminal accusations brought against the non-profit “Christian Congregation of Jehovah’s Witnesses” at the instigation of the Center of Information and Advice on Harmful Sectarian Organizations (CIAOSN).

Minorities denounce the Pakistani government for rejecting the "ban on forced conversion"

By Aftab Alexander Mughal — Religious minorities in Pakistan criticised Prime Minister Imran Khan’s government for rejecting the proposed ‘Prohibition of Forced Conversion Bill.’ The bill provides protection to Hindu and Christian minor girls from kidnapping, forced conversion and forced marriages. The bill proposed the age of conversion to Islam should be 18 years.

Freedom of Religion or Belief of Russian Scientologist affirmed by European Court of Human Rights

By Tabitha Berg — The European Court of Human Rights (ECHR) has once again affirmed the rights of Scientologists in Russia to practice their religion based on Article 9 of the ECHR Convention for the Protection of Human Rights and Fundamental Freedoms, announced the Church of Scientology International.

The Persecution of the Ahmadis in Pakistan. 5. Why Ahmadis Cannot Vote

by Massimo Introvigne — Nobody knows how many Ahmadis there are in Pakistan, since many try to hide their religious affiliation for fear of the persecutions described in the previous articles of the series. However, they are in the millions, possibly four millions or five. Enough to be an interesting electoral constituency, and to assert their rights through the ballot box. There is only one problem about this. They cannot vote. From 1947 to 1985, Pakistanis had the right to vote in all elections based on the simple fact of being citizens of Pakistan, irrespective of their religion. In 1985, however, a year after the infamous Ordinance XX of 1984, which we discussed in the previous articles as a statute institutionalizing the persecution of the Ahmadis, the military dictator General Zia ul-Haq decided that, if and when elections will be held, citizens will be divided in two separate electoral lists. Muslims will elect 95% of the members of the National Assembly. Non-Muslims will vote to elect the remaining 5% of the members of the National Assembly, representing religious minorities.

The Persecution of the Ahmadis in Pakistan. 4. “Democratic” Persecution

by Massimo Introvigne — As we have seen in the previous articles, the military regime of General Zia created with blasphemy laws and Ordinance XX the most effective legal tools to persecute the Ahmadis. When at the end of 1988, Benazir Bhutto became Prime Minister, Ahmadis initially believed in her promises of respect for minorities, although they also remembered that her father Zulfiqar Ali Bhutto, before being deposed and executed by Zia, had also enacted anti-Ahmadi legislation. Their hopes were quickly disappointed. Benazir Bhutto did not touch Ordinance XX, and answered international criticism by arguing that several cases were pending before Pakistan’s Supreme Court, and whether the anti-Ahmadi ordinance was compatible with the Constitution was a matter to be solved by the judiciary.