Author Topic: 8 worst countries for religious freedom  (Read 8377 times)

WisdomBeing

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8 worst countries for religious freedom
« on: January 14, 2014, 03:34:07 PM »
It is interesting that this article does not include the Dorje Shugden ban - perhaps because the country which imposes the ban does not exist. The geographic country of Tibet within China allows Dorje Shugden practice, while the Tibetan Government in Exile (TGIE), now known as the Central Tibetan Administration (CTA), publicly imposes this offensive infringement on religious freedom by its ban on Dorje Shugden. The ban can only be lifted if there is more publicity on this ban, and the power of the media is used to highlight this injustice.

8 worst countries for religious freedom
Jan 7, 2014
http://brianpellot.religionnews.com/2014/01/07/8-worst-countries-religious-freedom/

At its core, freedom of religion or belief requires freedom of expression. Both fundamental rights are protected in the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, yet nearly half of all countries penalize blasphemy, apostasy or defamation of religion. In 13 countries, atheists can be put to death for their lack of belief.

The U.S. State Department names and shames eight “Countries of Particular Concern” that severely violate religious freedom rights within their borders. These countries not only suppress religious expression, they systematically torture and detain people who cross political and social red lines around faith. The worst of the worst are:

1. Burma

Burma’s population is 90 percent Theravada Buddhist, a faith the government embraces and promotes over Christianity, Islam and Hinduism. Minority populations that adhere to these and other faiths are denied building permits, banned from proselytizing and pressured to convert to the majority faith. Religious groups must register with the government, and Burmese citizens must list their faith on official documents. Burma’s constitution provides for limited religious freedom, but individual laws and government officials actively restrict it. Most at risk in Burma are Rohingya Muslims, 240 of whom were killed this year in clashes with Buddhist mobs. Burma has refused to grant citizenship to 800,000 Rohingya, 240,000 of whom have fled their homes in recent clashes.

2. China

The ruling Chinese Communist Party is officially an atheist organisation. China’s constitution provides for freedom of religious belief, but the government actively restricts any religious expression that could potentially undermine its authority. Only five religious groups — Buddhists, Taoists, Muslims, Catholics and Protestants — can register with the government and legally hold services. Adherents of unregistered faiths and folk religions often worship illegally and in secret. Uighur Muslims, Tibetan Buddhists and Falun Gong practitioners have faced particularly severe repression in recent years, including forced conversion, torture and imprisonment.

3. Eritrea

The Eritrean government only recognizes four religious groups: the Eritrean Orthodox Church, Sunni Islam, the Roman Catholic Church, and the Evangelical Lutheran Church of Eritrea. These groups enjoy limited religious freedom while adherents of other faiths face harassment and imprisonment. Religious persecution in Eritrea is generally driven by government rather than social concerns. Jehovah’s Witnesses and other conscientious objectors who refuse to enroll in compulsory military training are subject to physical abuse, detention and hard labour. People of non-recognized religions are barred from congregating in disused houses of worship and have trouble obtaining passports or visas to exit the country.

4. Iran

Iran’s constitution offers some religious freedom rights for recognized sects of Islam along with Christians, Jews and Zoroastrians. Baha’is, who the government considers apostates and labels a “political sect,” are excluded from these limited protections and are systematically discriminated against through gozinesh provisions, which limit their access to employment, education and housing. Evangelical Christians and other faith groups face persecution for violating bans on proselytizing. Religious minorities have been charged in recent years and imprisoned in harsh conditions for committing “enmity against God” and spreading “anti-Islamic propaganda.” Government-controlled media regularly attack Baha’is, Jews and other minority faiths to amplify social hostilities against them.

5. North Korea

North Korea’s constitution guarantees religious freedom, but this right is far from upheld. The state is officially atheist. Author John Sweeney says the country is “seized by a political religion” and that it considers established religious traditions a threat to state unity and control. North Korea allow for government-sponsored Christian and Buddhist religious organizations to operate and build houses of worship, but political analysts suspect this “concession” is for the sake of external propaganda. A Christian group says it dropped  50,000 Bibles over North Korea over the past year. If caught with one, citizens face imprisonment, torture or even death. Given the government’s extreme control over the flow of reliable information, it is difficult to determine the true extent of religious persecution in North Korea.

6. Saudi Arabia

Saudi Arabia’s constitution is not a standalone document. It is comprised of the Quran and sayings of the Prophet Muhammad, which do not include religious freedom guarantees as spelled out in Article 18 of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights. In Saudi, it is illegal to publicly practice any faith other than the state’s official religion Sunni Islam. Members of other faiths can worship privately, but non-Muslim houses of worship may not be built. The Committee for the Promotion of Virtue and Prevention of Vice, otherwise known as Saudi’s morality or religious police, enforce Shariah law on the streets. Apostasy and blasphemy against Sunni Islam can be punished by death, as several high-profile Twitter cases have reminded global media in recent years.

7. Sudan

Sudan’s interim constitution partially protects religious freedom but restricts apostasy, blasphemy and defamation of Islam. Muslim women are also prevented from marrying non-Muslim men. The country’s vaguely worded apostasy law discourages proselytizing of non-Muslim faiths. Christian South Sudanese living in Sudan are subject to harassment and intimidation by government agents and society at large, but untangling the religious and ethnic motivations for this persecution can be difficult. Muslims generally enjoy social, legal and economic privileges denied to the Christian minority population. Government authorities have reportedly destroyed churches in recent years, and Christian groups have reportedly been subject to disproportionate taxes and delays in building new houses of worship.

8. Uzbekistan

Proselytizing is prohibited in Uzbekistan, and religious groups must undergo a burdensome registration process with the government to enjoy what limited religious freedom is permitted in the country. More than 2,000 religious groups have registered with the government, the vast majority of which are Muslim but also include Jewish, Catholic and other Christian communities. Registered and unregistered groups are sometimes subject to raids, during which holy books have been destroyed. Individuals and groups deemed “extremist,” often for national security concerns rather than specific aspects of their faith, are imprisoned under harsh conditions and tortured, sometimes to death.

This article was also published at indexoncensorship.org.

Kate Walker - a wannabe wisdom Being

dsiluvu

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Re: 8 worst countries for religious freedom
« Reply #1 on: January 18, 2014, 12:34:53 PM »
Looks like a new article needs to be written... instead of 8 worst countries for religious freedom
they should call it 8 worst governments that claims democracy but does not provide religious freedom to their own!!!

Yes I agree with you WB, we need to heavily social media more and educate more people esp the west on this situation. Most of them are oblivious to this and assumes it does not affect them. Well it does! Because when you have a nation, a govt like CTA that puts up a front claiming they are a spiritual society that has compassion, kindness and tolerance but behind all our backs does not do the same to its own people who already in exile and suffering from the lost of their country and culture, what do you think they are doing? Why are we made the fools? The whole world in fact!

And while we are made the fools in believing they are compassionate and kind, we are giving them our money, our sponsorship, our support, our efforts and contacts and hard work and risking our own reputation and necks out for them to USE US and OUR RESOURCES to come up with a BOOK THAT SPELLS RELIGIOUS DISCRIMINATION AND INTOLERANCE... http://www.dorjeshugden.com/all-articles/the-controversy/27-minute-speech/

This BOOK that the CTA co joined and supported, I am sure, with the silly Gaden Shartse Abbot who wrote it is perhaps the KEY EVIDENCE PROOF of the religious discrimination and suppression that the Tibetan Govt in exile have for the world to see! Wow soooo much money on publishing such a thick book on condemning another person's faith! Why not use sponsors money in printing more Lamrims instead??? Well world, this is where your fight for a FREE TIBET SPONSORSHIP went towards for all you know and I wouldn't be surprised more rubbish and campaigns to come. So we must ask the WEST, are they aware where exactly are their funds going to? Is the Tibetan Govt in exile transparent and even if they are could we trust them since they claim democracy but practices hypocrisy????   

Big Uncle

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Re: 8 worst countries for religious freedom
« Reply #2 on: January 19, 2014, 07:54:33 AM »
However, I think for Dorje Shugden practitioners, China ironically seems to be one of the best places to be. They allow the lamas to openly spread the practice and even allow monasteries that propitiate Dorje Shugden to flourish. I think they would clamp down less on the Tibetan minorities if they would just lessen their protests and self-immolation and find ways to cooperate together instead. Independence is definitely not in the equation here so why not find other ways to open dialogue.

With the Chinese, it is quite simple and that is to find ways to make it a win-win situation with them and not demand just outright independence from them. The western approach of seeking independence and what's rightfully ours is not going to work with them and that's why China remains low on the list of religious freedom. However, religious tolerance and practice has been open in China for many years now and they have selectively allowed certain groups to practice freely as long as they remain political-free and do not pose any threat to Chinese rule. It's just as simple as that. I may sound pro-Chinese but I am not. The Chinese have a vested interest in using religion to have a semblance of control over the people. Understanding this, religious figures and groups of people in China should learn to capitalize on this and develop relations with China.

I think that India should be on the list too because they would allow the Tibetans which is living on their land to institute a form of religious discrimination against Dorje Shugden practitioners. The Indian government cannot just stay silent on the matter as it has been covered in International News like Al Jezerra and so forth. If they make no comment means they condone religious persecution of Shugden practitioners and that means they should be on the list like the listed countries.
« Last Edit: January 19, 2014, 08:02:51 AM by Big Uncle »

Manisha Kudo

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Re: 8 worst countries for religious freedom
« Reply #3 on: January 19, 2014, 07:42:00 PM »
Religion was never meant to be used as a doctrine of autocratic rule and a cause of war. We should practice religion and not put it as an end goal that steps on the lives and freedom of the people. I certainly hope that the Dorje Shugden ban does not make it to this list. Then, it will be the day that Buddhism loses it's stellar of peace. When religion is embroiled in politics and associated with war, we would have missed its point. Don't get we wrong, I am not saying that we must tolerate the injustice suffered by the Shugden lamas. What I am saying is that despite the sufferings and persecutions, peace is maintained, music is played, Dorje Shugden grows all over the place and the Lamas themselves walk the talk of loving-kindness and compassion. Then we have won the battle. Then we are equipped to lift the ban.  :D 

Rihanna

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Re: 8 worst countries for religious freedom
« Reply #4 on: January 20, 2014, 12:10:37 AM »
As stated in Wikipedia, Freedom of religion or Freedom of belief is a principle that supports the freedom of an individual or community, in public or private, to manifest religion or belief in teaching, practice, worship, and observance; the concept is generally recognized also to include the freedom to change religion or not to follow any religion. It also means "Freedom of worship" and "Freedom to Worship". So why didn't CTA make it to the list for their ban on an enlightened being practice and ostracizing Dorje Shugden lamas, beating them up, stopping them from purchasing groceries, inciting others against this practice? And it is not even other religion, it is Buddhism, which is the official religion of the administration!

Matibhadra

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Re: 8 worst countries for religious freedom
« Reply #5 on: January 20, 2014, 02:11:07 AM »
Quote
The Chinese have a vested interest in using religion to have a semblance of control over the people.

Sure, but this applies to just any government supporting or even just allowing just any religion. Governing is necessarily about controlling people, even if this control is not necessarily ill-intentioned or even if it actively pursues the general good of the people. “To govern” means “to control”, is what I see in my dictionary. There is no basis to expect that people in any government supporting Buddhism, such as China's, should be pure Dharma practitioners free from the eight wordly concerns (and neither was the Tibetan feudal theocratic tyranny). On the other hand, the support given by the Western Abrahamic sponsors of the evil dalai, under the deceptive guise of supporting “religious freedom”, ultimately aims at the thorough destruction of Buddhism -- as blatantly exemplified by the full support given by such Western governments to the nefarious ban enforced by the atrocious creature.

DharmaDefender

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Re: 8 worst countries for religious freedom
« Reply #6 on: January 20, 2014, 08:06:23 AM »
WB true it is interesting, but then you would actually need a country in order to qualify for this list...

 :P

It is interesting that this article does not include the Dorje Shugden ban - perhaps because the country which imposes the ban does not exist. The geographic country of Tibet within China allows Dorje Shugden practice, while the Tibetan Government in Exile (TGIE), now known as the Central Tibetan Administration (CTA), publicly imposes this offensive infringement on religious freedom by its ban on Dorje Shugden. The ban can only be lifted if there is more publicity on this ban, and the power of the media is used to highlight this injustice.

8 worst countries for religious freedom
Jan 7, 2014
http://brianpellot.religionnews.com/2014/01/07/8-worst-countries-religious-freedom/

At its core, freedom of religion or belief requires freedom of expression. Both fundamental rights are protected in the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, yet nearly half of all countries penalize blasphemy, apostasy or defamation of religion. In 13 countries, atheists can be put to death for their lack of belief.

The U.S. State Department names and shames eight “Countries of Particular Concern” that severely violate religious freedom rights within their borders. These countries not only suppress religious expression, they systematically torture and detain people who cross political and social red lines around faith. The worst of the worst are:

1. Burma

Burma’s population is 90 percent Theravada Buddhist, a faith the government embraces and promotes over Christianity, Islam and Hinduism. Minority populations that adhere to these and other faiths are denied building permits, banned from proselytizing and pressured to convert to the majority faith. Religious groups must register with the government, and Burmese citizens must list their faith on official documents. Burma’s constitution provides for limited religious freedom, but individual laws and government officials actively restrict it. Most at risk in Burma are Rohingya Muslims, 240 of whom were killed this year in clashes with Buddhist mobs. Burma has refused to grant citizenship to 800,000 Rohingya, 240,000 of whom have fled their homes in recent clashes.

2. China

The ruling Chinese Communist Party is officially an atheist organisation. China’s constitution provides for freedom of religious belief, but the government actively restricts any religious expression that could potentially undermine its authority. Only five religious groups — Buddhists, Taoists, Muslims, Catholics and Protestants — can register with the government and legally hold services. Adherents of unregistered faiths and folk religions often worship illegally and in secret. Uighur Muslims, Tibetan Buddhists and Falun Gong practitioners have faced particularly severe repression in recent years, including forced conversion, torture and imprisonment.

3. Eritrea

The Eritrean government only recognizes four religious groups: the Eritrean Orthodox Church, Sunni Islam, the Roman Catholic Church, and the Evangelical Lutheran Church of Eritrea. These groups enjoy limited religious freedom while adherents of other faiths face harassment and imprisonment. Religious persecution in Eritrea is generally driven by government rather than social concerns. Jehovah’s Witnesses and other conscientious objectors who refuse to enroll in compulsory military training are subject to physical abuse, detention and hard labour. People of non-recognized religions are barred from congregating in disused houses of worship and have trouble obtaining passports or visas to exit the country.

4. Iran

Iran’s constitution offers some religious freedom rights for recognized sects of Islam along with Christians, Jews and Zoroastrians. Baha’is, who the government considers apostates and labels a “political sect,” are excluded from these limited protections and are systematically discriminated against through gozinesh provisions, which limit their access to employment, education and housing. Evangelical Christians and other faith groups face persecution for violating bans on proselytizing. Religious minorities have been charged in recent years and imprisoned in harsh conditions for committing “enmity against God” and spreading “anti-Islamic propaganda.” Government-controlled media regularly attack Baha’is, Jews and other minority faiths to amplify social hostilities against them.

5. North Korea

North Korea’s constitution guarantees religious freedom, but this right is far from upheld. The state is officially atheist. Author John Sweeney says the country is “seized by a political religion” and that it considers established religious traditions a threat to state unity and control. North Korea allow for government-sponsored Christian and Buddhist religious organizations to operate and build houses of worship, but political analysts suspect this “concession” is for the sake of external propaganda. A Christian group says it dropped  50,000 Bibles over North Korea over the past year. If caught with one, citizens face imprisonment, torture or even death. Given the government’s extreme control over the flow of reliable information, it is difficult to determine the true extent of religious persecution in North Korea.

6. Saudi Arabia

Saudi Arabia’s constitution is not a standalone document. It is comprised of the Quran and sayings of the Prophet Muhammad, which do not include religious freedom guarantees as spelled out in Article 18 of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights. In Saudi, it is illegal to publicly practice any faith other than the state’s official religion Sunni Islam. Members of other faiths can worship privately, but non-Muslim houses of worship may not be built. The Committee for the Promotion of Virtue and Prevention of Vice, otherwise known as Saudi’s morality or religious police, enforce Shariah law on the streets. Apostasy and blasphemy against Sunni Islam can be punished by death, as several high-profile Twitter cases have reminded global media in recent years.

7. Sudan

Sudan’s interim constitution partially protects religious freedom but restricts apostasy, blasphemy and defamation of Islam. Muslim women are also prevented from marrying non-Muslim men. The country’s vaguely worded apostasy law discourages proselytizing of non-Muslim faiths. Christian South Sudanese living in Sudan are subject to harassment and intimidation by government agents and society at large, but untangling the religious and ethnic motivations for this persecution can be difficult. Muslims generally enjoy social, legal and economic privileges denied to the Christian minority population. Government authorities have reportedly destroyed churches in recent years, and Christian groups have reportedly been subject to disproportionate taxes and delays in building new houses of worship.

8. Uzbekistan

Proselytizing is prohibited in Uzbekistan, and religious groups must undergo a burdensome registration process with the government to enjoy what limited religious freedom is permitted in the country. More than 2,000 religious groups have registered with the government, the vast majority of which are Muslim but also include Jewish, Catholic and other Christian communities. Registered and unregistered groups are sometimes subject to raids, during which holy books have been destroyed. Individuals and groups deemed “extremist,” often for national security concerns rather than specific aspects of their faith, are imprisoned under harsh conditions and tortured, sometimes to death.

This article was also published at indexoncensorship.org.

DharmaDefender

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Re: 8 worst countries for religious freedom
« Reply #7 on: January 20, 2014, 08:17:32 AM »
Smarminess aside, I am not surprised that the Tibetan government hasnt made it onto this list, since theyve managed to dupe the entire western world with their giant PR scam for the last five decades. For the listed countries however, they havent exactly got a brilliant marketing strategy, nor have they done much in the way of evolving with the world.

Just look at the common factors that plague the countries on the list - extreme poverty, mass illiteracy, autocratic governments, and places where the Murican government have a vested interest...meaning places where they can stand to gain something if they keep blacklisting the nation.

What does the Murican administration have to gain if they stop supporting the Tibetans? Nothing because the Tibetans offer nothing to them. And what does the Murican administration have to gain if they start supporting Dorje Shugden practitioners? Nothing because WE offer nothing to them.

So the key to gaining global support for our cause is to present something valuable to our leaders. Perhaps the glory of being liberators? Since the Chinese appear to be quite open to Dorje Shugden practitioners, perhaps supporting Dorje Shugden practitioners (by lessening financial aid for the CTA) can somehow lead to economic concessions from the Chinese?

Who knows. WHatever it is, my opinion still stands - no country, not on the list  ;)

Matibhadra

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Re: 8 worst countries for religious freedom
« Reply #8 on: January 25, 2014, 12:48:25 AM »
I guess there was a mistake in the article's title, which should read something like “8 countries Jews and Christians should accuse in order to cover their own crimes”.

Interesting that Israel is not even mentioned, even though it keeps some 4 million Palestinians in the open extermination camps of Gaza and West Bank, their women and children bombed with chemical weapons (white phosphorus bombs), poisoned by infected water, their villages and families separated by huge walls and machine guns, dying of starvation and lack of medicine. Plus the racist discriminatory laws against non-Jews outside the extermination camps. And everything done with full support of the press plus endless billions of American taxpayer money, not to mention the blood of tens of thousands American boys and girls sent to fight the Israeli genocidal wars in Iraq, Afghanistan etc., always with huge Christian support (mainly Pentecostal extremists).

Of course they need to accuse others such as Myanmar (which some frustrated colonialist call “Burma”) and China, that is, in order to cover their own crimes!

diamond girl

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Re: 8 worst countries for religious freedom
« Reply #9 on: January 25, 2014, 04:32:23 PM »
this is an interesting thread! i like what Dharmadefender said about no country.. ahem.. hahaha. OK OK, agreed with smarminess aside. I also liked what jspitanga said about the Judeo-Christian monopoly on the media which of course, when you look at it that way, the western media gives a very biased opinion. Of course they are against China thus the Dalai Lama being their pawn and puppet can do no wrong, hence the Dorje Shugden issue is conveniently forgotten. Not by us though!

Big Uncle

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Re: 8 worst countries for religious freedom
« Reply #10 on: January 26, 2014, 10:21:53 AM »
That's why I said India should be on this list and not CTA or the now defunct TGIE. You guys have to remember that CTA or TGIE are not ruling any government. It is actually India for allowing such blatant discrimination against practitioners of a particular faith. This falls under religious discrimination and it goes against the Indian constitution and also the CTA's own constitution...

Quote
Based on the spirit of the UN Universal Declaration of Human Rights, the Charter guarantees to all Tibetans equality before the law and enjoyment of rights and freedom without discrimination on the basis of sex, religion, race, language and social origin. It provides for a clear separation of power among the three organs of the administration: judiciary, legislature and executive.

http://tibet.net/about-cta/constitution/

This is really a joke and an insult to India, their host as the CTA is obviously creating problems that will eventually be left to India to deal with. India already has so many problems to deal with already. The Indian government should engage in an official investigation on this matter and with the results of the investigation, pressure the CTA to conform or face legal action. India has got to be tough with this issue.

DharmaSpace

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Re: 8 worst countries for religious freedom
« Reply #11 on: August 02, 2014, 10:12:27 AM »
CTA is trying to silence Social media using Free Tibet. Perhaps we should warn Twitter CTA is infamous for
oppressing their own people.

http://clouds-genmyo.blogspot.com/2014/07/chinese-fake-twitters-attack-dalai-lama.html


Gabby Potter

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Re: 8 worst countries for religious freedom
« Reply #12 on: January 27, 2015, 07:55:29 PM »
Wow... I'm very glad and fortunate that my country offers us religious freedom, can you imagine not being able to listen to the Buddha Dharma and what we know is that we just have to keep doing what our ancestors/ parents have been doing ie, study well, get a job, get married, have children etc. I'm not saying that we can't do these, but please imagine ourselves spending so much time focusing only just on ourselves...