Tag Archives: Anti-Conversion

Narendra Modi (BJP) election win good for Indian economy, but scary for Christian minority

Map of India
Map of India – Modi was the leader in Gujarat state

From Asia News.

Excerpt:

“The electoral result, declared so far, indicates a landslide win for the BJP, which should propel the stock markets to new heights,” said Clifton Desilva, director of Altina Securities Pvt Ltd, as he spoke to AsiaNews about India’s election results and the BJP victory.

According to the latest projections, Modi’s party has 277 seats out of 543. The BJP and its coalition partners together now hold 336 seats. However, “Now that the BJP is likely to attain a sweeping mandate it does not have to depend on allies as was the case with the UPA government,” Desilva said. The UPA or United Progressive Alliance was the Indian Congress Party-led coalition that lost the election.

What is more, the BJP “has the reputation of being a business-oriented party,” Desilva noted. Thus, “all the big reforms that the UPA could not implement it is hoped that the BJP will implement them. [. . .] In fact the last five to six years we have seen the stock market sliding to new lows with the GDP [growth] slipping from 9.5 per cent to 4.5 per cent”.

Under a BJP administration, “it is expected that the investment cycle, which was stalled for various reasons, will get a kick start.” As a result, “projects worth over Rs 6 trillion (US$ 100 billion) that were stalled are likely to be revived, which will have a positive impact on reviving the growth of the Indian economy”, especially in terms of infrastructure, capital goods and banking sectors.

As soon as the BJP victory appeared to be a foregone conclusion, foreign governments rushed to congratulate the new leader.

But, Religious Freedom Coalition reports a concern.

Excerpt:

Advocacy officials say policies of the influential Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) has contributed to an atmosphere of hatred towards Christians. The BJP is the ruling party in three of the five Indian states with laws that forbid forced religious conversions.

The legislation is frequently used to shut down churches or intimidate Christians who speak about their faith, according to rights activists.

The party has proposed stiffer penalties in one of those states, Madhya Pradesh, India’s second-largest.

Narendra Modi, chief minister of Gujarat, another BJP-ruled state with anti-conversion laws on the books, is “the poster child for India’s failure to punish the violent,” said Katrina Lantos Swett, vice chairwoman of the U.S. Commission on International Religious Freedom, and Commissioner Mary Ann Glendon in a joint November opinion column.

While under BJP rule, Karnataka state had the country’s highest rate of attacks against Christians from 2010 through 2012, according to Christian estimates.

[…]National parliamentary elections are scheduled for May, and Narendra Modi is the BJP’s candidate for prime minister.

Hindu militants have expressed anger over the spread of Christianity in India, a predominantly Hindu nation of over 1 billion people.

In a reaction, the World Evangelical Alliance (WEA) made clear it was closely monitoring the situation saying it had urged believers to “Pray for God’s protection over all Christians living in Andhra Pradesh” especially “for pastors and Christian workers…that they would continue to place their trust in the Lord and engage in missions in spite of the present situation.”

It was also important to “Pray that the Lord would grant repentance to those who are instigating violence against Christians,” stressed the WEA, which claims to represent some 600 million evangelical Christians in 128 countries.

I want India to do well, and Modi’s pro-business record in Gujarat cannot be questioned. However, I am worried about his Hindu Nationalism and the price that Christians might pay for evangelizing, which is a normal part of the Christian faith. Hinduism is a non-cognitive religion, so they are not used to arguments and evidence. It’s a community/family/culture thing. So they don’t understand how a person can evangelize except by non-cognitive means, e.g. – bribes. I am worried especially for the Dalits and other low-caste Indians in this environment.

Please pray for Christians in India. Do it now.

Muslim police officer bullies Christian evangelists in UK

From the UK Daily Mail.

Excerpt:

Two Christian preachers were stopped from handing out Bible extracts by police because they were in a Muslim area, it was claimed yesterday.

They say they were told by a Muslim police community support officer that they could not preach there and that attempting to convert Muslims to Christianity was a hate crime.

The community officer is also said to have told the two men: ‘You have been warned. If you come back here and get beat up, well, you have been warned.’

A police constable who was present during the incident in the Alum Rock area of Birmingham is also alleged to have told the preachers not to return to the district.

It comes amid growing concern over the development of Islamic ‘no-go areas’.

The preachers, Americans Arthur Cunningham and Joseph Abraham, are demanding an apology and compensation from West Midlands Police.

They say their treatment breaks the Human Rights Act, which guarantees freedom of religious expression.

The preachers, who have the backing of the Christian Institute pressure group, say they will take the force to court for breaching their human rights if they don’t receive an apology.

They have accused the officer, PCSO Naeem Naguthney, of behaving in an ‘aggressive and threatening’ manner. A complaint by their lawyers said he interrupted as they spoke to Muslim youths about their beliefs.

[…]’He said we were in a Muslim area and were not allowed to spread our Christian message. He said he was going to take us to the police station.’

Mr Cunningham added: ‘I am dumfounded that the police seem so nonchalant. They seem content not to make it clear that what we were doing was perfectly legal. This is a free country and to suggest we were guilty of a hate crime for spreading God’s word is outrageous.’

According to a complaint by the men’s lawyers, Mr Naguthney summoned two other officers in support, one of whom, a full constable, is said to have told the men not to return to the area.

Mr Naguthney, 30, was recruited as a community support officer last year after being unemployed for eight months.

How did all of this happen? Well, maybe it’s because of the “multicultural” policies were enacted by the secular leftist Labour Party under Tony Blair.

Excerpt:

The huge increases in migrants over the last decade were partly due to a politically motivated attempt by ministers to radically change the country and “rub the Right’s nose in diversity”, according to Andrew Neather, a former adviser to Tony Blair, Jack Straw and David Blunkett.

He said Labour’s relaxation of controls was a deliberate plan to “open up the UK to mass migration” but that ministers were nervous and reluctant to discuss such a move publicly for fear it would alienate its “core working class vote”.

As a result, the public argument for immigration concentrated instead on the economic benefits and need for more migrants.

Critics said the revelations showed a “conspiracy” within Government to impose mass immigration for “cynical” political reasons.

Mr Neather was a speech writer who worked in Downing Street for Tony Blair and in the Home Office for Jack Straw and David Blunkett, in the early 2000s.

I write this as someone who is colored, who has a Muslim side of the family and a Hindu/Catholic side of the family, and who favors a lot more legal immigration by skilled immigrants who are willing to assimilate to Western laws and customs. Skilled immigrants are a boon to the West, and we need more of them to come here legally – if they are willing to work hard and play by the rules. But that’s not what the Labour’s “mass immigration” policies aimed to achieve. They wanted to bring in more anti-conservative votes, and fundamentally transform the Western culture of the UK – even if it meant giving up basic human rights like the right to free speech.

Many Christians vote for these anti-evangelism policies indirectly, because they believed that letting government tax the wealthy and hand out goodies to the poor would be more “fair”. It’s a good idea for Christians to understand that being a Christian means having a complete worldview, including views on politics and economics. When you grow the size of government in order to “spread the wealth around”, don’t be surprised when a secular, leftist government uses their newly acquired loot to buy votes from different groups who may not believe in human rights, like the right to religious liberty. It will not do for Christians to sell their religious liberty for 30 pieces of silver from their neighbor’s purse.  Envy is a sin.

Muslims crack down on freedom of religion in Kashmir

From the National Catholic Register. (H/T ECM)

Excerpt:

The sharia court in Muslim-majority Kashmir has no constitutional or legal authority. But its recent verdict ordering the expulsion of five Christians from the troubled Indian side of Kashmir has sent alarm bells ringing among Christians in India.

Apart from ordering the expulsion of the Christians, the court also directed the government of Jammu and Kashmir to take over the management of the Christian missionary schools besides monitoring their activities.

Those ordered to be expelled include Father Jim Borst of the Dutch Mill Hill Missionaries, who has been based in Kashmir since 1963.

“This is much more than conversion. It is humiliating and certainly threatening for us,” Bishop Peter Celestine Elampassery of Jammu-Srinagar told the Register Jan. 27, reacting to the verdict.

Srinagar is the capital of the Indian state of Jammu and Kashmir, which is nestled in the Himalayas.

On Jan. 19, the court ordered the expulsion of Father Borst, along with two Protestant pastors and their wives, accusing them of “luring the (Kashmir) valley Muslims to Christianity.”

The verdict focused more on Pastor Chander Mani Khanna of the Protestant All Saints Church at Srinagar and pronounced him guilty of conversion. The pastor of the Church of North India had been arrested in November by state police on the dubious charge of “fomenting communal trouble” after Muslim groups pressed charges against him. Though the civil court released him on bail, the sharia court went ahead with its own trial.

“Khanna and his associates have been found guilty of spreading communal disaffection and were involved in immoral activities. They are ordered to be expelled from the state,” deputy grand mufti of Jammu and Kashmir, Nasir-ul-Islam, said Jan.19 while reading the verdict of the sharia court.

Father Borst, a well-known retreat preacher, runs the Good Shepherd School at Pulwama. The school had been partially burnt during widespread protests against the desecration of the Quran in the United States during the 9/11 anniversary in 2010.

I think it says something about a religion when the only way they can stop people from leaving their faith is through coercion and violence.

Which countries have the worst ratings for religious freedom?

From CNS News.

Excerpt:

Muslim-majority countries score worst across a range of measures in a comprehensive new study tracking government restrictions on religion as well as social hostilities involving religion around the world.

The study by the Pew Research Center’s Forum on Religion & Public Life, released Tuesday, found that nearly one-third of the world’s population lives in countries where religion-related government restrictions or social hostilities rose significantly between mid-2006 and mid-2009.

[…]A separate index in the Pew report graded countries according to levels of social hostility involving religion. Eight of the top ten countries in that index were Muslim-majority states – Iraq, Pakistan, Afghanistan, Somalia, Indonesia, Nigeria, Bangladesh and Egypt. The other two, India and Israel, have Hindu and Jewish majorities respectively, and large Muslim minorities.

In an index measuring official interference with religious practice, 18 out of 26 countries (69 percent) whose government “prohibits worship or religious practices of one or more religious groups as a general policy,” were OIC members – Brunei, Chad, Egypt, Indonesia, Iran, Iraq, Libya, Malaysia, Maldives, Mauritania, Pakistan, Saudi Arabia, Somalia, Syria, Tajikistan, Turkey, Turkmenistan and Uzbekistan.

The other eight were Burma, China, Eritrea, Laos, Madagascar, Monaco, Tuvalu and Vietnam.

A grading of countries where conversion from one religion to another is restricted was also dominated by Islamic states, accounting for 25 out of 29 countries listed (86 percent). They were Afghanistan, Algeria, Bangladesh, Comoros, Egypt, Indonesia, Iran, Jordan, Kuwait, Libya, Malaysia, Maldives, Mauritania, Oman, Pakistan, Qatar, Saudi Arabia, Somalia, Sudan, Syria, Tajikistan, Turkey, United Arab Emirates, Uzbekistan and Yemen.

The four non-Muslim countries were Eritrea, India, Israel and Vietnam.

Taking the conversion issue a step further, among 13 countries where there were incidents of physical violence over conversions from one religion to another, 10 (77 percent) were Muslim – Afghanistan, Bahrain, Bangladesh, Comoros, Egypt, Jordan, Nigeria, Pakistan, Somalia and Syria. The other three were India, Mongolia and Nepal.

I found it interesting that the tolerant religious pluralists in India are actually not very tolerant of conversions at all. You’ll recall that there are many Hindus who push for anti-conversion laws. That doesn’t sound like pluralism to me – it sounds like totalitarianism.

And more:

The Pew report also examined the issue of “defamation” of religion, tracking countries where various penalties are enforced for apostasy, blasphemy or criticism of religions.

“While such laws are sometimes promoted as a way to protect religion, in practice they often serve to punish religious minorities whose beliefs are deemed unorthodox or heretical,” it said.

It found 21 Muslim countries in that category – Afghanistan, Algeria, Bahrain, Brunei, Egypt, Indonesia, Iran, Iraq, Jordan, Kuwait, Maldives, Morocco, Pakistan, Qatar, Saudi Arabia, Somalia, Sudan, Tajikistan, Turkey, Western Sahara and Yemen.

The study also found 23 non-Muslim countries where penalties are enforced for such criticism of religion – Austria, Brazil, Burma, El Salvador, Ethiopia, France, Germany, Greece, Honduras, Iceland, India, Italy, Malta, Mauritius, Netherlands, Poland, Romania, Russia, Samoa, Singapore, Spain, Sweden and the United Kingdom.

This whole article is worth reading. Religious liberty is not as common as you might think if you are an American.

Afghan Red Cross worker set to be hanged after converting to Christianity

Map of the Middle East
Map of the Middle East

Mary sent me this news article from the UK Daily Mail.

Full text:

An Afghan physiotherapist will be executed within three days for converting to Christianity.

Said Musa, 45, has been held for eight months in a Kabul prison were he claims he has been tortured and sexually abused by inmates and guards.

Mr Musa, who lost his left leg in a landmine explosion in the 1990s, has worked for the Red Cross for 15 years and helps to treat fellow amputees.

He was arrested in May last year as he attempted to seek asylum at the German embassy following a crackdown on Christians within Afghanistan.

He claims he was visited by a judge who told him he would be hanged within days unless he converted back to Islam.

But he remains defiant and said he would be willing to die for his faith.

He told the Sunday Times: ‘My body is theirs to do what they want with.

‘Only God can decide if my spirit goes to hell.’

Defence lawyers have refused to represent him, while others have dropped the case after receiving death threats.

Mr Musa was arrested after a TV station showed western men baptising Afghans during secret ceremonies.

And it’s not just Afghanistan and Iraq – now it’s Egypt. Jennifer Caballero linked to this Cubachi post that explains how Egyptian Christians are in fear of persecution.

Here is an article from the left-wing Huffington Post that talks about Obama’s response to all of this persecution of Christians.

Excerpt:

The Obama administration has not shown us it cares about the persecution of Christians. This is obvious. At a time of rising persecution of Christians throughout Muslim lands, the president has nominated Dr. Suzan Johnson Cook — a “motivational speaker” with questionable qualifications — to hold the critical position of U.S. Ambassador-at-Large for International Religious Freedom.

Respected diplomat Thomas Farr, who headed the State Department’s International Religious Freedom desk, has written in The Washington Post: “The Obama administration seems to have decided that other policy initiatives — outreach to Muslim governments, obtaining China’s cooperation, advancing gay rights — would be compromised by vigorous advocacy for religious freedom.”

The situation for Christians around the world is increasingly dire. In Afghanistan, a government we support and largely fund is hounding Christians, pursuing them, and threatening them with death.

Christians in Iraq are suffering more now than at any time since the dawn of the Christian era. Fully half of Iraq’s Christians have fled the country since the 2003 U.S. invasion. They can no longer survive where their ancestors lived for thousands of years.

Christians in Egypt were murdered at Christmas by Muslim militants. Christians in Lebanon are newly threatened by the rise of Hezbollah — backed by Iran.

In Iran itself, 100 Christians were arrested in 24 cities on Boxing Day, the day after Christmas. The Iranian regime — to which this president extended an “open hand” and to whose people he sent Persian New Year’s greetings — is committed to a totalitarian variant of Islam. No wonder they want nuclear weapons.

It’s become very popular on the left to say that Islam is a religion of peace, and to include Islam as a mainstream religion alongside Judaism and Christianity. Somehow, I don’t think that the multicultural relativists have looked very deeply at Islam.

And I don’t think that Islam could have much going for it rationally or evidentially if it has to resort to violence in order to avoid people converting away from it. If membership in Islam isn’t voluntary, then how many Muslims really believe in it because they think it is true? Clearly, they don’t really care about presenting as rationally testable. It’s basically presented as “convert or die”.