Tag-Archiv für freedom of religion

Report on the current situation of religious freedom in Pakistan

December 2017: Report on the current situation of religious freedom in Pakistan

In Faisalbad fordern Demonstranten nach den Anschläge von Lahore an Ostersonntag die pakistanische Regierung auf, einen Aktionsplan gegen Hass und Intoleranz zu entwickeln. Foto: missio / S. Sheeky

In Faisalbad fordern Demonstranten nach den Anschläge von Lahore an Ostersonntag die pakistanische Regierung auf, einen Aktionsplan gegen Hass und Intoleranz zu entwickeln. Foto: missio / S. Sheeky

The ancestors of most Pakistani Christians were oppressed, low-caste Hindus who converted to Christianity in the 1800s when European evangelists spread the Christian gospel on the subcontinent under British colonial rule. Pakistan was come into being in the name of Islam after Muslims of the Indian subcontinent called for a separate homeland. Although Muhammad Ali Jinnah, the nation’s founder, addressing the Constituent Assembly stated that citizens may belong to any religion as it has nothing to do with the business of the state, a resolution proclaiming that the future constitution of Pakistan would be modeled on the ideology and principles of Islam was kept as a preamble of the Constitution. In 1985, when it was made an integral part of the text, Pakistan became an Islamic republic, and the Council of Islamic Ideology and the Shariah (Islamic) court were established.

Currently, Pakistani Christians face discrimination from the law of the land as well as threats of violence in a country where 97 percent of the population is Muslim. Pakistan is the 3rd most populous Muslim country and Islam is the official religion of Pakistan. The total number of Christians in Pakistan was estimated at 2.5 million in 2005, or 1.6% of the population.

Societal Attitudes towards Christians

The Christians generally have good relations with other religious minorities and some liberal Muslims” but overall attitudes are overwhelmingly negative. Many Pakistanis citizens consider local Christians to be “Western” agents and believe that they act on behalf of “the West” to promote a “foreign agenda” According to the report of Jinnah institute from 2012-2015 at least 351 incidents of violence were carried out against minorities. Report also stated that Pakistani Christians faced intense and persistent threats, harassment and acts of violence during the reporting period from January 2012 to June 2015. Over 40 attacks of varying intensity targeted the Christian community, seven churches were damaged and 14 Christians were charged with blasphemy. Sexual assault cases; forced conversions and kidnapping were common and often went unchecked by the state.

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Freedom of Religion in India under pressure

Seven Christians from the region of Kandhamal in the north-east of India are condemned to life imprisonment. Alledgedly, they murdered a Hindu priest in August 2008. As a consequence a riot against Christians began. About 100 people died, more than 50.000 people had to flee, several thousands of houses burnt down, about 300 religious buildings were destroyed in Kandhamal.

The innocent Christians: B. Sunamajhi, B. Sanseth, B. Nayak, D. Sunamajhi, G. Sanseth, S. Badamajhi, M. Badmajhi

The innocent Christians: B. Sunamajhi, B. Sanseth, B. Nayak, D. Sunamajhi, G. Sanseth, S. Badamajhi, M. Badmajhic

The allegations against the seven Christians, who belong to the indigenous population of the Adivasi and the socially excluded so-called Dalits, are already exhausted. Although they are innocent, they are not free.

Hindu nationalists produce a climate of intimidation. missio Aachen gives a voice to the wifes and children of the condemned men. With the petition #freeourhusbands, it calls for the freedom of Budhadev Nayak, Sanatan Badamajhi, Gharanath Sanseth, Duryadhan Sunamajhi, Bhaskar Sunamajhi, Munda Badamajhi and Bijay Sanseth.The petition runs until 31th March 2018 and is handed over to the Federal Government.

In India, Hindu nationalists are putting pressure against the freedom of religion. They want to create a Hindu state, within wich they gain more and more influence. Christians, Muslims and members of other minorities suffer discrimination, hate speech, violence and oppression.

By the help of the petition #freeourhusbands, missio calls up for freedom for the seven innocent Christians in the state of Odisha in India. The petition is addressed to the Prime Minister of India and the Prime Minister of the State of Odisha.

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