An Afghan Christian widow and three of her daughters were denied refugee status by the United Nations High Commission for Refugees (UNHCR) in New Delhi for the second time last month, and currently face imminent deportation to their home country where they could face imprisonment for apostasy and a potential death sentence.
The widow and her daughters, whose names have not been released for security reasons, received a deportation notice from the Indian Ministry of Home Affairs after their first application for asylum was rejected in October 2009, International Christian Concern (ICC), a global Christian advocacy group, informed The Christian Post. When the mother reapplied in July 2011 with her three daughters and a fourth daughter, who is widowed with a child, only the widowed daughter and the child were accepted. The others are no longer permitted to correspond with the UNHCR office and are currently living in India as illegal immigrants, ICC said.
"All members of the family left Afghanistan for the same reason, all of them are Christians, and all are facing the same kind of problem," Obaid S. Christ, a leader of the Afghan Christian community in New Delhi, told ICC. "If two members of the same family are recognized as refugees and four others are denied, there is definitely something wrong with the UNHCR judgment system. We believe that the UNHCR office blindly closed their application without making any inquiry, investigation, or considering the new facts and real danger that these women are facing back in their home country." more >>
NEW DELHI, India – Attacks on Christians accelerated over the Christmas and New Year’s holidays in the south Indian state of Karnataka, which was identified as the most unsafe place for the religious minority for the third consecutive year in 2011.
With 49 cases of violence and hostility against Christians in 2011, Karnataka remained the state with the highest incidence of persecution, according to the Evangelical Fellowship of India’s annual report, “Battered and Bruised…”
The Global Council of Indian Christians (GCIC), which is based in Karnataka’s capital of Bengaluru and initially reported most of the incidents, also documented at least six anti-Christian attacks between Christmas Eve 2011 and New Year’s Day. more >>
Acts of violence and intolerance against Christians in Indonesia almost doubled in 2011, with an Islamist campaign to close down churches symbolizing the plight of the religious minority.
The Indonesian Protestant Church Union, locally known as PGI, counted 54 acts of violence and other violations against Christians in 2011, up from 30 in 2010.
The number of such incidents against religious minorities in general also grew, from 198 in 2010 to 276 in 2011, but the worst is perhaps yet to come if authorities continue to overlook the threat of extremism, said a representative from the Jakarta-based Wahid Institute, a Muslim organization that promotes tolerance. more >>
Watchdog groups are sounding the alarm on increasing acts of violence against Christians in India at the hands of the country's Hindu community.
India is one of the regions closely monitored by human rights groups, due to many cases of religious persecution taking place in its recent history. The biggest act of violence against Christians took place in 2008, in a remote eastern region of India, during an event referred to as the "Orissa massacre," in which an estimated 100 Christians were killed and some 5,600 displaced by a mob of Hindu extremists.
Local observers see a bleak outlook for 2012, given the mood in the country, as signs of renewed enmity become more and more apparent. more >>
Nineteen U.S. companies, including Facebook, Google and Yahoo, have been ordered by two Indian courts to remove materials considered religiously offensive and obscene, which has sparked accusations that the government is attempting to censor the Internet in the country.
One court in Delhi issued summons to the tech companies to stand trial for offences relating to distributing obscene material to minors, after it was shown images deemed offensive to Hindus, Muslims and Christians, reported Reuters. Another Delhi court earlier reportedly ordered the companies to remove photographs, videos or text which might hurt people's religious sentiments.
Christians in India are still waiting for justice three years after the massacres in Orissa in 2008, and the All India Christian Council (AICC) is demanding that more people be punished for the uncounted murders and rapes that occurred in the region.
Around 4,000 Christian homes and 400 churches were destroyed in a string of violence in the remote eastern region of India between August and September of 2008. Angry Hindus reportedly organized against Christians who were converting Indians to Christianity and urging them to leave their caste system.
Many of the Hindus that had converted were Dalits, or "Untouchables," who are the lowest caste in India and make up around one-fifth of the population. Dalits are treated as less than human, and reportedly see converting to Christianity as a way to escape their low class status. more >>