Connect with us

Religion

Hindu Priest Calls for the Beheading of Christians in India

Published

on

Con India05

10/24/2021 India (International Christian Concern) – According to The Wire, a Hindu priest in India’s Chhattisgarh state called for the beheading of Christians at a rally attended by members of the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP). Many Christians in Chhattisgarh fear that the priest’s comments will spark a new wave of anti-Christian violence across the state.

Speaking at a rally on October 1, Swami Parmatmanand called for the targeted killings of Christians involved in alleged forced conversions. The rally was attended by many members of the BJP, including Ramvichar Netam, Nand Kumar Sai, and Anurag Singh Deo.

Behead them… those who come for conversion,” Parmatmanand said to those gathered for the rally. “Now you’ll say that I am spreading hate although I’m a saint. But it’s important to ignite the fire sometimes. I am telling you; anyone who comes to your house, street, neighborhood, village, don’t forgive them.

Advertisement

Parmatmanand is a prominent Hindutva leader in Chhattisgarh and is known for his violent anti-minority rhetoric. In the past, he has called for the murder of individuals involved in cow smuggling.

Cow-killers should be shot with glass bullets,” Parmatmanand said in 2017.

The October 1 rally, entitled ‘Stop Religious Conversions’, was organized by Sarwa Sanatan Hindu Raksha Manch, a coalition of Hindutva supporters in Chhattisgarh. In recent months, BJP politicians and Hindutva leaders have used the issue of religious conversions to drum up political support and anti-minority sentiments.

Across India, the false narrative of mass fraudulent conversions to Christianity and Islam is used to justify laws limiting religious freedom and anti-minority violence. In nine states where anti-conversion laws have been enacted, including Chhattisgarh, radical Hindu nationalists are allowed to terrorize religious minorities with near impunity.

Advertisement

Using the narrative espoused by Parmatmanand and other nationalists, radicals falsely accuse their victims of engaging in religious conversions to justify violence. Unfortunately, those accusations are often accepted by local authorities.

For interviews, please contact Addison Parker: [email protected]

Religion

This Chinese Church Escaped Persecution, But Now Fears Being Returned to China

Published

on

01/26/2022 South Korea (International Christian Concern) – With thanks to an interview conducted by Radio Free Asia (RFA), we have learned that the members of the Shenzhen Holy Reformed Church are due to have their appeal for asylum heard by South Korean courts, following an initial rejection by the lower courts last year.

As many may recall, the Shenzhen Holy Reformed Church, often referred to as the ‘Mayflower Church’ for its resemblance to those seeking religious freedom on the Mayflower voyage to the US, has been taking refuge on South Korea’s Jeju island since 2019. The unregistered church had begun to face harassment from Chinese government officials and police, as running a church outside of the Chinese regulations is against Chinese law and religious guidelines. In an attempt for a better life for themselves and their children, a contingent of the congregation voted to leave China. However, after two years, their South Korean host has soured on their presence.

The congregation’s initial applications for asylum were rejected, and their appeal is expected to be heard by South Korea’s higher courts soon. If the congregation is denied by the Korean courts, they will be on a short timeline to leave Korea or they will be living there illegally and fearing a possible removal back to China.

Advertisement

The expected outcome of this congregation’s case remains uncertain, as Chinese nationals are rarely approved for asylum status in South Korea. Some allege this to a result of the South Korean government’s weariness of their communist neighbor – to accept refugee from China would be seen as a direct slight against the regional superpower. The congregation must also demonstrate a significant threat, and when dealing with a nation like China, the threatening party has a tight control on the information. Given that the global community is preparing to tune in for the Beijing Olympics next month, it can be assumed that the world has not fully come to terms with the scale of persecution in China.

Christians are among many of the religious groups in China facing regular and often harsh religious persecution. Under the leadership of Chinese President Xi Jinping, China continues to demonstrate an open hostility toward religious minorities, meaning that victims of persecution will continue to climb. Should this congregation be returned, it is expected that the CCP will have a close eye on them, if they are not punished for their alleged crime. While the status of the Mayflower Church in Korea remains undecided, we should not assume these Christians are out of options, as other Christian groups have heard their call for help. RFA has reported that this group has also applied for asylum in the US, however, there has been no comment on the situation further.

For questions, please contact: [email protected].

Advertisement
Continue Reading

Religion

Religious freedom violations persist in Iran

Published

on

(Photo: Getty/iStock)

Christians continue to suffer as a result of widespread religious freedom abuses in Iran, human rights organisations have warned. 

A new joint report by Christian Solidarity Worldwide, Article 18, Middle East Concern and Open Doors International found that violations persisted in Iran in 2021, with at least 59 Christians arrested over the course of the year.

Thirty Christians endured some form of imprisonment last year while 34 were detained by the authorities. 

Advertisement

At least 209 individuals were affected by judicial rulings, 35 of whom reported “intense psychological torture”.

The actual numbers are likely to be higher as many cases go unreported “either because no-one raises awareness — arresting authorities frequently issue threats to prevent publicity — or because those involved request confidentiality”, the organisations warned. 

The report notes some positive developments. In November, the Supreme Court said that the prison sentences of nine converts should be reviewed because “promoting Christianity and ‘Zionist evangelism’ in private homes is not an example of gathering and collusion against internal or external security as decided in the original verdict”.

“According to this decree, house-church activities and the promotion even of the pejoratively termed ‘Zionist’ Christianity are not crimes,” the report said.

Advertisement

“It remains to be seen how this ruling will be applied by the Revolutionary courts, but the Christians have at least since been released while their cases are reviewed.”

In another positive development, officials in the western city of Dezful decided not to press charges against eight Christian converts on the grounds that although apostasy is a crime under Sharia, it is not an offence according to the laws of Iran.

Despite these positive developments, the report warned of “inconsistencies” in the Iranian judicial system after the Supreme Court rejected the appeal of a Christian couple sentenced to 10 years in prison over their involvement in a house church.

“The differing decisions highlight the inconsistencies that plague the judicial system in Iran and suggest that favourable rulings reflect the views of individual judges rather than systemic improvements at the heart of the judiciary,” the report said. 

Advertisement

Recommendations in the report include a call to the Iranian government to uphold freedom of religion or belief (FoRB) for all citizens, and the release of Christians detained on “spurious charges” relating to their faith or religious activities. 

The report also calls for an end to the criminalisation of house church organisation and membership, and asks the international community to hold Iran accountable on FoRB by raising the issue during political and trade discussions involving the country. 

CSW’s Founder President Mervyn Thomas said: “Once again, this report provides an important reminder of the continuing violations faced by Christians in Iran.

“We urge the Iranian government to take heed of its recommendations and to end what amounts to the criminalisation of the practice of a religion the Iranian constitution claims to recognise.

Advertisement

“We also call for the government to ensure that all citizens, including members of the Baha’i, Gonabadi Dervishe, Humanist and Sunni communities, are free to enjoy the full right to freedom of religion or belief as articulated in Article 18 of the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights, to which Iran is a signatory.”

function facebookCallback(result) { document.getElementsByClassName("fb_share_count").textContent=result.shares; }

function pinterestCallback(result) { document.getElementsByClassName("pt_share_count").textContent=result.count; }

Continue Reading