Religious minorities

The International Solidarity Network, Women Living Under Muslim Laws (WLUML) is deeply shocked that a court in Nankana Sahib, Pakistan, has sentenced a 45-year-old Christian woman, Asia Bibi, to death on the charge of having committed “blasphemy”. Although illiterate, she has been accused of denying the institution of prophet-hood by citing copious examples from the key texts of Islam. We join local human rights organizations, international women’s groups and religious minorities in calling for Pakistan to urgently repeal its Blasphemy Laws. We also appeal to the authorities to guarantee the safety of Asia Bibi and her family from the rage of local extremists, as well as investigate the violent persecution of the Christian community in the Punjab.

Malaysia's population of 27 million is, according to the UK government, 55% Muslim. The U.S. State Department maintains that 60% of the population is Muslim. Ethnic Malays are automatically classed as Muslim on their identity cards (MyKad) which are issued to everyone at age 12. Any changes to religious status, as defined on the MyKad, must be approved by the National Registration Department (NRD).

La justice pakistanaise vient de condamner à la peine capitale par pendaison une chrétienne coupable de blasphème. Cette sanction est une première dans l’histoire du Pakistan, selon le quotidien britannique Christian Today. Les chrétiens d’Orient vivent de sombres heures. Après la vague d’attentats en Irak perpétrés à leur encontre depuis le 31 octobre dernier, c’est au tour d‘une pakistanaise de Lahore de faire les gros titres.

A Christian mother of five has been sentenced to death for blasphemy, the first such conviction of a woman, sparking protests from rights groups on Thursday. Asia Bibi, 45, was handed down the death sentence by a court in Nankana district in central Punjab on Monday. Pakistan has yet to execute anyone for blasphemy. Ms Asia’s case dates back to June 2009 when she was asked to fetch water while out working in the fields. But a group of Muslim women labourers objected, saying that as a non-Muslim she should not touch the water bowl.

Although the overall security situation in Iraq has gradually improved, the conditions for minority communities of the country’s diverse population remain extremely distressing. Investigations throughout 2009 by Minority Rights Group International’s (MRG’s) partner in Iraq, Iraqi Minorities Organization (IMO), coupled with secondary research sourced from 2009 and the first half of 2010, lay bare the frequent bombings, torture, arbitrary arrest, intimidation, displacement and marginalization facing Iraq’s cultural and religious minorities.

Amnesty International déplore la condamnation à 20 ans d'emprisonnement de sept membres de la minorité religieuse baha'ie d'Iran, sanction prononcée à la suite d'accusations motivées par des considérations politiques. Ces cinq hommes et deux femmes, membres influents de la communauté baha'ie en Iran, ont été arrêtés il y a plus de deux ans. Ils ont été déclarés coupables samedi 7 août d'« espionnage pour le compte d'Israël », d'« insultes au caractère sacré de la religion » et de « propagande contre le système » par un tribunal révolutionnaire de Téhéran.

Amnesty International has condemned the sentencing of seven members of Iran's Baha’i religious minority to 20 years in jail on a series of politically motivated charges. The five men and two women, leaders of the Baha’i community in Iran who were arrested over two years ago, were convicted on Saturday 7 August of crimes including "espionage for Israel", "insulting religious sanctities" and "propaganda against the system” by a Revolutionary Court in Tehran. This is an update on  Iran: Baha’i seven face court and death

A banner with a picture of a young, bespectacled Christian man is draped in front of the mosque, a fiery noose around his neck and the words: "This man deserves the death penalty!" Churches are shut down. And an Islamic youth militia prepares for its first day of training. Though the events all occur less than 5 miles (10 kilometers) from Indonesia's bustling capital, making headlines in local papers and dominating chats on social networking sites such as Facebook, they've spaked little public debate in the halls of power.

Emergency Law used to detain citizens for two months because of their religious beliefs: The Egyptian Initiative for Personal Rights (EIPR) today urged the Minister of Interior to release immediately nine Egyptians detained under the Emergency Law for two months because of their affiliation with the Ahmadi confession. The organization called on the Public Prosecutor to order an end to the Supreme State Security Prosecutor’s investigation of all detainees on charges of “contempt of religions” and hold to account those officials responsible for the arrest and interrogation of citizens solely for exercising their constitutional right to freedom of belief and expression. 

I am back in Baghdad after seven years away, writes Hadani Ditmars who returns to find a broken Baghdad.Since 2003, a million people have died in Iraq in the wake of post-invasion violence.Sectarian wars have torn the country apart, foreign troops have established huge military bases, and politicians who have sworn to crack down on militias have their own private armies. This once secular nation has been scarred by extremism, with terrible consequences for women, gay people and religious minorities. As Government ministries remain feeding troughs for cronyism and sectarian patronage, national reconciliation remains elusive.

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