Faith & Religious Freedom

Eritrean government crackdown leads to growing concerns over wider religious persecution

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An ongoing crackdown on Catholic Church activities, as well as the arbitrary arrest and imprisonment of Orthodox and other Christian congregation members in Eritrea has prompted the UN to call on the Eritrean government...

Religious communities in Vietnam honour victims of violence

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Numerous religious communities in Vietnam observed the summer’s International Day Commemorating Victims of Acts of Violence Based on Religion or Belief by responding to call by UN Secretary General António Gutteres that the world...

Trump calls for end of persecution based on religious beliefs

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Approximately 80% of the world’s population lives in countries where religious liberty is threatened, restricted or even banned, US President Donald J. Trump said as he hosted the Global Call to Protect Religious Freedom...

Ukraine’s Greek Catholics want closer ties with Rome

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Bishops of the Ukraine’s Greek Catholic Church met with officials in the Vatican in earlier September to try to strengthen the Byzantine Rite church’s ties with Rome, while maintaining its identity at a time...

Three recipients given 2019 Religious Freedom Award

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The three winners of the Religious Freedom Award included two specialists in Ecclesiastical State Law (Constitutional Law on Religious Freedom) and one of the most active prosecutors in all of Spain, if not in...

Faith roundtables provide open forum for believers and non-believers

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The US State Department organised the Second Ministerial to Advance Religious Freedom in Washington DC during the summer, an annual event that is the largest religious freedom gathering of its kind in the world...

Persecuted Pakistani Christian woman builds new life in Canada

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Nine years after being falsely accused of insulting the Prophet Muhammad while engaged in a row with her neighbours, Pakistani-born Christian Asia Bibi and her daughters have been relocated from Lahore to an undisclosed safe location in...

Experts warn that religious freedom around the world is worsening

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In August, Iraq’s ethnoreligious Yazidi minority marked the five years since ISIS militants overran northwestern Iraq and murdered at least 5,000 Yazidi men and boys who refused to convert to Islam and enslaved more...

EU launches initiative on inter-religious engagement

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The European Union's foreign policy chief Federica Mogherini hosted a conference in Brussels on 6 September focusing on religious engagement during which she announced a new EU-sponsored initiative named "Global Exchange on Religion in Society". The...

Civil society organisations urge Pakistan’s PM to end blasphemy laws

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The Freedom of Religion or Belief (FoRB) Roundtable Brussels-EU, a civil society initiative who gathers regularly to exchange ideas with the EU institutions to discuss the religious freedoms, sent a letter to Pakistan's Prime...

Quebec ban on religious symbols causes international outcry

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Two groups of Canadian activists have filed an appeal against a Quebec judge's decision to ban the wearing of religious symbols by public employees. The decision issued by Quebec's Superior Court prohibits teachers, police, judges,...

Non-religious activists call for UK government to protect them from violence

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As the world’s religious communities continue to fight for their rights, few, it seems, speak out for those who identify as being non-religious, which has slowly led to the further deprivation of their fundamental...

Israel’s El Al hires first Druze flight attendant

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Accounting for roughly 1.7% of Israel's overall population, the country's national flag carrier El Al hired its first flight attendant from the community in June. An Arabic-speaking esoteric ethnoreligious group who residing mainly in northern Israel, Lebanon, and...

Armenian minority scores rare win in Turkey’s top court over election of new patriarch

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Turkey's Constitutional Court has ruled that a 2017 administrative decision that refused two initiatives to elect a new patriarch for the Armenian Orthodox Church was a violation of the historic community's right of religious freedom. Under Turkish...

Europe attempts to step up its fight against antisemitism

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European Commissioner for Justice, Consumers and Gender Equality Věra Jourová recently held the first meeting of the bloc's working group on antisemitism since Brussels formed a special body that would look specifically look into attacks against...

South Sudan’s churches urge acceptance of sexual violence victims

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A ray of hope for South Sudanese women and girls who have suffered brutal sexual violence during the country’s ongoing war received a much-needed boost as churches across South Sudan, which split for Sudan...

INTERVIEW with bass legend, Stanley Clarke

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The man is a living legend and virtuoso bass player Stanley Clarke sat down with New Europe in Enghien-les-Bains, a small city near Paris, during Stanley’s 2019 European tour to discuss his career, the...

Environmental consciousness on the rise in conflict-ridden Kashmir

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A growing number of clerics in the mainly Muslim region of Kashmir are promoting eco-consciousness to the local population through appeals aimed at their faith. Srinagar, the largest city in the Indian state Kashmir, has...

Rohingyas found stranded on Thai island

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A fishing boat carrying more than 60 Rohingyas was found beached on an island in southern Thailand in recent weeks. Groups of Rohingyas have boarded boats over the course of the last several months as...

Top religious liberty violators not invited to US’ religious freedom summit

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The United States' Ambassador-at-Large for International Religious Freedom, Sam Brownback, has stated that China, Iran, and other countries that the US considers the world’s top religious liberty violators, were not invited to the State...

Twitter bans those who give offensive labels to religious groups

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Popular social media app Twitter has updated its hate-speech rules by banning posts that dehumanise religious groups with demeaning names. This policy had resulted in account suspensions of users spreading stereotypes about religious groups, such...

Nearly two dozen countries urge China to close Uyghur detention camps

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Twenty-two countries, including Australia, Canada and Japan, as well as the UK, France, Germany, and Switzerland, have called on China to immediately halt its mass detention of at least 1 million Uighurs and other...

France to fine Facebook for hate speech if not deleted within a single day

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France’s National Assembly adopted on 9 July a bill giving social media platforms 24 hours to remove hateful content or risk fines of up to 4% of their global revenue. The bill encourages users...

The Church’s role in modern Europe: an interview with Cardinal Jozef De Kesel

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Belgian Cardinal Jozef De Kesel sat down with New Europe to discuss the role of the Catholic Church in today’s Europe, where pluralism and secularism have changed the dynamic between Europe’s citizens and their...

The Bektashi are a testament to the power of tolerance

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Originally one of many Sufi orders within Sunni Islam, the Bektashi Order emerged in the 16th-century and quickly spread to the Ottoman Balkans, particularly to what is now Albania, Kosovo, and North Macedonia. Like many Sufis, the Bektashis...

Tolerance and education: A road to the defeat of extremism

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How do you create a more tolerant society? Can education prevent extremism? Can openness trump radicalisation? These were the big questions tackled by senior European and Gulf politicians at a recent forum organised and...

10 Years of legally binding EU fundamental rights

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While it cannot be denied that the transparency and the perspective of people working in the EU institutions are regularly broadening for the better, it is also true that ‘institutionalised action’ expected as a...

Russia convicts Crimean Tatar activists

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A court in Russia has sentenced five Crimean Tatars to lengthy prison terms on extremism charges that they say are politically motivated. Teymur Abdullayev was sentenced to 17 years, Rustem Ismaiylov received 14 years, and...

Most back church-state separation in Western Europe, despite paying church tax

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Widespread public support for the separation of church and state is the norm in Western Europe, even in countries that have a government-mandated church tax to fund religious institutions, according to a new analysis...

UN committee offers grim view Tajikistan’s human rights record

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Government authorities in the former Soviet Central Asian republic Tajikistan have jailed many government critics, including opposition political figures and activists, lawyers, journalists, and relatives of peaceful dissidents abroad, for lengthy prison terms on...

Unfinished Gaudí landmark gets building permit after 137 years

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More than 137 years after construction began, the city of Barcelona has finally issued a building license for one of its most famous tourist attractions as the Sagrada Familia, the famed Roman Catholic Church...

The first Hindu temple of Ireland

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Dr Hemant Kumar is a medical doctor in Dublin and the President of the Vedic Hindu Cultural Centre of Ireland. He arrived in Dublin in the 1990s from India and soon became a central...

Eurojust breaks human trafficking ring

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Eurojust, the EU’s independent agency dealing with cross-border organised crime, recently released information regarding the success of both Italian and Romanian national authorities in the take down of an organized crime group involved in...

Aung San Suu Kyi and Orbán find common ground in anti-Muslim stance

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In a rare trip to Europe, state counsellor Aung San Suu Kyi, a Nobel Peace Prize winner who was once a symbol of the fight for democracy in Myanmar, visited Hungarian Prime Minister Viktor...

Potential inclusion of Roma and Traveller history education

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The Council of Europe’s Committee of Experts on Roma and Traveller Issues will convene in Toulouse, France on 11 to 14 June to work towards the potential implementation of Roma and Traveller history into...

German Jews warned not to wear kippahs in public

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Following a rise in anti-Semitic attacks across Germany, the country’s Jews have been warned by a leading government official not to wear traditional kippahs, yarmulkes, in all public settings. Felix Klein, the German government’s...

Afghan women concerned about sexual favours allegations

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An investigation into allegations that some members of President Ashraf Ghani’s administration have given out government posts in exchange for sexual favors, according to Jamshid Rasuli, a spokesman for the attorney general’s office. The accusations...