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Newsdesk - 9 November 2017

9 November 2017


IRAN – Parliament moves to curtail non-Muslims’ voting rights

Iran’s parliament is to amend laws on the participation of religious minorities in elections, it announced. Religious minorities will be permitted to vote only for ‘candidates who are from their denomination.’ There is speculation that the new laws could bar Muslims from voting for candidates from religious minorities.

Mahdi Sigari

The announcement follows the suspension of a Zoroastrian member of the Yazd city council in September, who was removed from office after a local court ruled that non-Muslims should not represent a Muslim-majority area.

The court cited a statement by the head of Iran’s Guardian Council earlier this year, which called for religious minorities to be banned from running in local elections in majority-Muslim areas, as allowing a non-Muslim to govern Muslims is against sharia (Islamic law).

From Radio Farda here



INDONESIA – One in five Muslim students would support the establishment of an Islamic state in Indonesia

One in five Indonesian university and high school students support the establishment of an Islamic caliphate in Indonesia, according to a recent poll.

Nearly 20 percent of the 4,200 Muslim students from top schools in Java said they would support an Islamic caliphate replacing the current government. Nearly 25 percent supported the waging of jihad to establish an Islamic state. An Islamic state is modelled on the first Islamic state founded at Medina by Muhammad; it has an Islamic government that enforces sharia law.

The survey was published less than a week after more than 1,000 Islamists protested outside the Indonesian Parliament in Jakarta against government plans to disband some Islamist organisations, including the one which campaigned to press blasphemy charges against the Christian former governor of Jakarta, who was subsequently jailed for two years.

From Reuters here



TAJIKISTAN – Pastor faces prospect of prison after police raid church

Secret police raided a church service in Tajikistan on Sunday 29 October. “They behaved very rudely, took pictures and confiscated 45 copies of Christian books. They also took pictures of the Sunday school … [and] a program of the lesson from one of the teachers. According to the law any program for children has to be approved by ministry of education,” a source told BF.  

Police are examining the confiscated materials to see if they are “extremist.” The pastor of the church faces the prospect of imprisonment. “If they will find some things in the books it will be a criminal case and several years of jail. At best it will be an administrative case and they will fine the pastor or church,” the source reported.

In July, Tajik authorities jailed a 42-year-old church pastor and father of three from Khujand for three years for “inciting national, racial, local or religious hatred or dissension” after confiscating church hymnbooks.

From Barnabas Fund Project Partners



NIGERIA – Muslim Fulani spread violence to community in Cross River State

Muslim Fulani herdsmen have attacked the Ugaga community killing one and injuring several in the overwhelmingly Christian Cross River State on 6 November.

There has been a mass movement of Fulani herdsmen crossing into the state from neighbouring Benue State, where there is a history of Fulanis ambushing Christian communities, the governor of Cross River, Ben Ayade, said after an emergency meeting.

Over 55 people were killed in October alone by Fulani attacks on Christian communities. This includes the 29 people – mainly children –who were locked in a classroom and slaughtered on 16 October in Bassa, Plateau State. A few days earlier, the nearby communities of Mai Farin Mota and Jebu Miango were also attacked, with seven people killed.

Ayade has condemned the attack and called on the federal government to show “moral courage” and protect vulnerable communities.

From The Daily Post here



ERITREA – Security forces shoot 28 dead

Armed security officers shot dead 28 protestors while violently suppressing a demonstration in Asmara, Eritrea’s capital on 31 October. The demonstrators were objecting to the government’s attempts to enforce its 2014 plans to transform all private and religious schools into state-financed and administered “community” schools. The government says that Christian students will be banned from wearing any religious items like crosses “to prevent interreligious strife.”

The protesters included over 100 students from a Muslim school who were protesting the arrest of their Honorary President for criticising the government’s actions. Armed security officers arrested demonstrators, beat some with sticks, and shot at them with live ammunition. Soldiers were still seen patrolling the streets at around 5 pm. Some released protesters report that they were mistreated.

In September, a Christian school was ordered to immediately close and give a list of all its students to the authorities. When the school resisted, the government shut it down and arrested two Christian leaders.

Barnabas Fund’s own special report on Eritrea, published in March 2017, concluded that the government pursues a “specific policy of religious persecution” against Christians.

From Asmarino Independent here