Praying for a peacemaker: What do Iraq’s elections mean for the remaining Christians?

A boy recently returned to his home in the Nineveh plains, looks out over the remains of Karamles (WWM May 2017)
Iraqis go the polls on Saturday (12 May) for the first time since the military defeat of Islamic State, whose campaign of terror against non-Muslims pushed thousands of the country’s last Christians to flee their homeland. Only about 200,000 to 300,000 Christians are thought to remain in Iraq now, mostly . . . Read More

Bangladesh’s religious minorities warned they may face ‘brunt’ of election violence

Christians protest following an attack by local thugs on a church last Saturday in which three men were injured and the building damaged. (Photo: World Watch Monitor)
Christians and other minorities in Bangladesh face a “daunting election” at the end of the year, warns the Bangladeshi Bureau Chief of Catholic news agency UCAN. “Elections and violence go hand-in-hand in Bangladesh and minorities often face the brunt of this amid a tug-of-war between political parties jockeying for power,” . . . Read More

Nepal ‘should practise what it preaches’ as UN member

Nepal ‘should practise what it preaches’ as UN member
As a newly elected member state of the UN Human Rights Council, Nepal must address its own commitment to the protection of human rights, including freedom of religion and belief, says Christian Solidarity Worldwide. The advocacy organisation highlighted Nepal’s decision in October to criminalise religious conversion and the “hurting of . . . Read More

Malaysian bishops: ‘We need leaders who truly care for the people’

Malaysian bishops: ‘We need leaders who truly care for the people’
For the first time in six decades, several high-profile Malaysian church leaders have publicly called for a change of government. On 24 April the Catholic Bishops’ Conference of Malaysia issued a pastoral letter, saying: “We need to choose leaders who truly care for the rakyat [people], promote justice and equality, stand . . . Read More

Maldives to EU: ‘Islam shall be the basis of all laws’

Only Muslims can be citizens of the Maldives is Muslim, and citizenship is revoked if one chooses another faith. (Photo: World Watch Monitor)
The Maldives government has told the European Union it will not consider amending its constitution to allow for religious freedom in the country, reports Maldives-based news site Avas Online. A report by the EU’s Electoral Follow-up Mission (EFM), published last week, said the Maldives had implemented none of the 22 . . . Read More

Iran: do non-Muslims have the right to hold elected public office or not?

Iran: do non-Muslims have the right to hold elected public office or not?
In Iran, which is 90-95 per cent Shia Muslim, the passing of a date set for a decision over whether a non-Muslim can hold an elected public office is significant for the country’s religious minorities and their rights. The date, April 5, passed without that decision being made for a . . . Read More

Pro-Hindu BJP wins over Christian voters in northeast India

Christians gather for the general assembly of the National Council of Churches in India in Shillong, capital of the Christian-majority state of Meghalaya in the north-east. (May 2008)
India’s pro-Hindu nationalist Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) is now the governing party in two Christian-dominated states in the northeast, following recent election successes in Nagaland and Meghalaya. But to do so, it had to betray its core values of Hindutva, according to John Dayal, former National President of the All India . . . Read More

Egypt’s elections and the man dividing the country’s Copts

Egypt’s elections and the man dividing the country’s Copts
Walking around Cairo you would be forgiven for thinking that President Abdel Fattah el-Sisi was the only candidate running in the elections later this month. His is the only grandiose face bearing down on passers-by, while billboards of his rival, Mousa Mostafa Mousa, are nowhere to be seen. Egypt’s 26-28 March presidential elections have . . . Read More

Pakistan Senate seeks same sentences for blasphemy offenders and those who falsely accuse

In November there were widespread anti-blasphemy protests in Islamabad and other cities in reaction to proposed changes to an election law. (Photo: World Watch Monitor)
Pakistan’s Senate Special Committee on Human Rights has recommended that those who falsely accuse someone of blasphemy should receive the same punishment as those convicted of blasphemy. The Committee also said registration of a blasphemy case should include a minimum of two witnesses who support the charges. Right-wing political parties . . . Read More