Faith & Religious Freedom

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...

Madrid Police publishes Manual on handling Religious Diversity

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A delegate of Madrid’s Department of Health, Safety, and Emergencies, Javier Barbero; the Deputy Director of the Pluralism and Coexistence Foundation, Puerto García, and the third Deputy Mayor and head of the Human Rights...

Is freedom of religion ever possible in Russia?

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I was lucky to be born into a family of dissident Old Believers. Therefore, my perception of the freedom of religion is not a theoretical abstraction, but a fruit of personal experience. Old Believers have...

Report offers grim assessment of religious and minority rights in Erdogan’s Turkey

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The 2019 annual report by the United States Commission on International Religious Freedom has concluded that the Turkish government continues to crack down on the anti-government Gülen Movement, discriminate against the minority Alevi community, and...

China’s Uyghurs face more discrimination

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Qiemo County is in the Bayin'gholin Mongol Autonomous Prefecture, part of western China’s Xinjiang region in the heart of what was once the ancient Silk Road. In 2014, the Chinese government began a Sinofication...

Which cult is governing Munich?

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Is Germany, in 2019, really the democratic state we believe it to be? Are freedom of conscience and expression respected by the authorities as most Europeans think? There is every reason to believe that...

Interview: An Orthodox perspective of religious persecution in Russia

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Petar Gramatikov is a  hierodeacon of the Bulgarian Orthodox Church, as well a Doctor, or Didaskalos, of the Universal Orthodox Church. He is currently the Chief Expert in religious questions in the municipality of...

International community sheds light on human rights abuses in Kashmir

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The international community, including the European Union, has opted to wade into the still simmering conflict between arch-enemies India and Pakistan over the disputed mountainous region of Kashmir. The Kashmir dispute dates back to 1948 when,...

Leaders of Belgium’s religious communities band together

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Leaders of Belgium's Christian, Muslim, and Jewish communities have joined forces to condemn the rise of hate crimes both in the country and elsewhere in the world. The informal group, which includes the European Jewish...

Why the Uyghurs?

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Search for religious repression and persecution in China, for re-education camps, or even for organ harvesting, and each time the Uyghurs will be the focus of the results. The Uyghurs are one of China’s...

Is there a bright future for religion?

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How big of a role does religion play in today’s societies? And do people favour, more or less, the influence of religion in their respective countries? In answering these two quite loaded questions it...

China intensifies its crackdown of the Church of Almighty God

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The Chinese government is intensifying its crackdown on the Church of Almighty God, according to so-called secret documents obtained by the underground religious movement which claims that the Chinese Communist Party wants to close...

Pakistani government to restore historic Hindu temples

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The Pakistani government led by Prime Minister Imran Khan has decided to restore and reopen 400 Hindu temples, a move that has been greeted positively by Hans Noot, the director of the Gerard Noodt...

Pakistani Christian convicted of blasphemy moves to Canada

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Asia Bibi, the Pakistani Christian who woman found guilty of blasphemy in 2010 and sentenced to death, has left Pakistan to start a new life in Canada. Her two daughters, both in their late teens,...

German court sides with Scientologist following his dismissal from Munich art house

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Discriminatory practices known as "sect filters" are widely used in Germany, particularly in Bavaria, to prevent Scientologists from occupying government functions or obtaining a service contract from any state, city, or local community agency. “Sect...

Irish state school students are being forced to attend religion courses

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A human rights group in Ireland claims that students are being coerced into attending religious classes that are in contravention of a ruling that is supposed to allow state school attendees to opt out...