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 >>
At least 19 people were killed as a powerful cyclone tore across the eastern coastline of India on Friday.
The storm, named Cyclone Thane, slammed into the coastline of India’s Tamil Nadu state with winds as fast as 78 mph.
As a result of the dangerous storm, ports and schools in the area were forced to shut down and fishermen have been warned to stay indoors and not go out to sea. Roads have been flooding across the region and travel has been compromised in some areas due to downed trees. more >>
NEW DELHI – A fact-finding mission to India’s Kashmir Valley found that Muslim leaders’ increasingly shrill opposition to conversions has instilled fear among the Christian minority, which has been threatened as Christmas nears.
Christians in Srinagar, the summer capital of India’s northern-most state of Jammu and Kashmir, are “really scared,” said Dr. John Dayal, a member of the National Integration Council and part of the fact-finding team. “Christian men, women and children are in a state of panic, fearful of their security, uncertain of the future, uncertain of their jobs.”
The Rev. Chander Mani Khanna, pastor of All Saints Church in Srinagar, was arrested on Nov. 19 on charges of hurting religious sentiments of Muslims after several youths were baptized; he was released on bail on Dec. 1. But the pastor of the Church of North India denomination, who is due to retire early next year, may never be able to go back to his church due to security concerns, Dayal said. more >>