Faith & Religious Freedom

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...

Afro-Brazilian religions feel threatened

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Historic minority religions in Brazil are increasingly facing a form of religious scrutiny under the country’s President, Jair Bolsonaro, it is claimed. Some 500,000 people in Brazil participate in religions brought to the Americas hundreds...

EU slams Brunei’s anti-gay sex laws

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Amid mounting international criticism, Brunei has moved to defend itself after the tiny Southeast Asian nation recently introduced laws that criminalised sodomy and made it punishable by stoning to death. The government of Brunei sent...

“Protecting Jewish institutions means protecting our democracies and our Western values” – An interview...

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Albert Guigui has been the Chief Rabbi of Brussels since 1987. Chief Rabbi Guigui is also a Member of the Presidium of the Conference of European Rabbis (CER). New Europe had the chance to...

Malaysian women’s rights activists under investigation for refusing to wear hijab

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Campaigners have joined forces to condemn an investigation of three women by Malaysia’s Islamic authorities who refused to stop wearing a hijab. The three women, Maryam Lee, Mohani Niza and Dian Sofia, attended the launch...

‘Dignity is the foundational principle of all human rights’ – an interview with Ján...

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Ján Figel is the EU's Special Envoy for Promotion of Freedom of Religion outside the EU, appointed by the President of the European Commission, Jean-Claude Juncker in 2016. New Europe asked him about the progress made, and...

Chinese authorities round up priests and a Hong Kong activist

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A Chinese bishop from the banned Church of China taken into custody with his vicar general as part of a long-running government crackdown on priests who are not aligned with the official clergy sanctioned...

Catholic organisation sharply criticises European efforts to defend religious freedom

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An exhaustive report by the Catholic foundation, Aid to the Church in Need (ACN), says that Europe and the West have done little but provide lip-service when it comes to defending and upholding religious liberty.”...

Leader of movement monitoring anti-Muslim hate crimes demands more protection from EU institutions

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The head of a leading Muslim group has voiced his concerns about the “negative treatment” that many Muslim minorities feel that they’re subjected to in Europe. Addressing the Faith and Freedom Summit in Brussels, Bashy Quraichy,...

All Faiths Network director say EU must do more to protect believers’ rights

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Religious freedom and belief often “take a back seat” to policymaking, according to Martin Weightman, the director of the All Faiths Network, who told participants that the rights of religious minorities are overshadowed by...

EU’s religious freedom envoy wants Europe to do more to protect minorities

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The EU’s special envoy for religious freedom, Jan Figel, believes that Europe needs to “face up” to the numerous cases of discrimination that occur against religious minorities within its own borders. Speaking at a high-level conference...