Persecution and Freedom News

Bangladesh’s indigenous people persecuted  

The Santal tribe are fighting the authorities in a land dispute

A group of Santal women wait for relief aid after being evicted from disputed land in Gaibandha district of northern Bangladesh on Nov. 6. (ucanews.com photo)
A group of Santal women wait for relief aid after being evicted from disputed land in Gaibandha district of northern Bangladesh on Nov. 6. (ucanews.com photo)

On a sunny November morning, Sonamoni Murmu and her 12-year-old son, Sajal collect grass to feed their only cow, from a small paddy field in northern Gaibandha district, Bangladesh.

Murmu, 40, a mother of three sons, knows how to get food for their cow but can’t say the same for her family

“We have gruel in the morning given by a voluntary aid group and we have some leftover rice from last night soaked in water. Maybe we will eat that for lunch, we don’t know what we will have for supper,” Murmu said….

They are among about 2,500 indigenous Santal people, mostly Catholic Christian, who were forcibly evicted off disputed land by workers from Rangpur Sugar Mill with approval from a local lawmaker, administration and police. Read more at ucanews.com

China police detain Hong Kong Christians

Couple from the Gospel Drug Treatment Church run several addiction treatment centers

Two Hong Kong Christians who run addiction treatment centers in China have been taken into police custody in southern Guangdong province, reports a rights group.

Hong Kong residents, Lin Haixin and his wife (no named provided) were taken by police over the weekend of Nov. 26-27, reports U.S.-based China Aid.

Officials from the public security and religious affairs bureaus reportedly entered the center run by the Gospel Drug Treatment Church and seized computer equipment and religious materials. Read more at ucanews.com…

PM Najib slams Suu Kyi over Rohingya Muslim ‘genocide’

‘What’s the use of Aung San Suu Kyi having a Nobel [Peace] Prize?’ Najib asked a raucous crowd in Kuala Lumpur

rohingya

Malaysian Prime Minister Najib Razak led a protest rally on Sunday against what he called a “genocide” of Myanmar’s Muslim Rohingya minority, as he urged Asian neighbours and the world to step up the pressure to stop the violence.

Najib said the rally at a stadium in suburban Kuala Lumpur will send a strong message to Aung San Suu Kyi’s government.

“What’s the use of Aung San Suu Kyi having a Nobel prize?” Najib asked a raucous crowd.

“We want to tell Aung San Suu Kyi, enough is enough … We must and we will defend Muslims and Islam,” he said as supporters chanted “Allahu akbar” (“God is great”).

“UN please do something. The world cannot sit by and watch genocide taking place,” Najib said to loud cheers from thousands of Muslims, including Rohingya refugees. “The world cannot say it is not our problem. It is our problem,” he said. Read more at the South China Morning Post…

Jakarta governor to face yet another rally from Muslim hardliners

Pressure mounts against Christian governor over blasphemy allegations

Merdeka (National Monument) Square.
Merdeka (National Monument) Square.

A large number of Muslim hardliners are expected to join a rally in Jakarta on Dec. 2 to again protest against the Christian governor of Jakarta who they accuse of blasphemy.

Muhammad Rizieq Shihab, counselor of the National Movement to Safeguard the Indonesian Ulema Council’s Fatwa, said this third rally against Governor Basuki Tjahaja Purnama, commonly known as Ahok, would be peaceful.

“The rally will be in the form of a mass prayer gathering,” Shihab, who is also patron of the Islamic Defenders Front, told tempo.co.

Shihab said his movement to safeguard the Indonesian ulema council will not take responsibility for any other rallies besides the mass prayer gathering which is to be held at the National Monument Square in Central Jakarta.

“If there is a rally held outside the venue we have agreed the national police have the right to take preemptive measures,” he said. Read more at ucanews.com

Indonesian military issues warning to Muslim hardliners

Vows to suppress planned protest against Jakarta’s Christian governer, saying motives are political rather than religious

Din Syamsuddin, the chairman of Advisory Board of the Indonesian Ulema Council, says Muslims should not protest on the street but monitor the blasphemy case against Jakarta Governor Basuki Tjahaja Purnama. (ucanews.com photo)
Din Syamsuddin, the chairman of Advisory Board of the Indonesian Ulema Council, says Muslims should not protest on the street but monitor the blasphemy case against Jakarta Governor Basuki Tjahaja Purnama. (ucanews.com photo)

Indonesia’s military has vowed to suppress another mass demonstration threatened by hard-line Muslims in Jakarta against the capital’s Christian governor Basuki Tjahaja Purnama — popularly known as ‘Ahok.’

The demonstration, scheduled for Nov. 25 to call for Ahok to be prosecuted for alleged blasphemy, would dwarf a protest staged on Nov. 4 in which one person died and at least 100 were injured, organizers said.

More than 100,000 people attended the Nov. 4 rally, according to organizers and authorities.

The threatened rally is to go ahead despite legal action being taken against the governor for allegedly insulting the Quran in a speech. Read more at ucanews.com….

Development as Unfreedom

Shrinking democratic spaces in Asia

The real sign of development and democracy is how a country respects, protects and promotes freedoms and human rights. The biggest challenge of our times is the increasing gap between the promises and performance of states and governments in relation to the protection of the freedoms and human rights of their people. This is most evident in many countries in Asia, with the shrinking of freedom and democratic spaces resulting in increasing attacks on human rights defenders.

Amartya Sen in his acclaimed book “Development as Freedom” defined development as the expansion of human freedoms and capabilities. However, the biggest paradox among most of the countries in the Asia-Pacific region is that there is a new stress on an economic development model that often leads to “unfreedoms”  and  economic and social inequality. Therein, the freedoms of people, particularly those belonging to poor and marginalized groups, are increasingly compromised. Read more at The Irrawaddy…

Bomb attack on Protestant church in Indonesia kills infant

The attack is another blow to religious harmony in the Muslim-majority nation

Batak Society Christian Church of Philadelphia members hold a Sunday service in front of the Presidential Palace in Jakarta on May 6 (Photo : UCAN archive / Ryan Dagur)
Batak Society Christian Church of Philadelphia members hold a Sunday service in front of the Presidential Palace in Jakarta on May 6 (Photo : UCAN archive / Ryan Dagur)

A convicted terrorist hurled petrol bombs at a Protestant church in Indonesia on Nov. 13 killing one infant and leaving three others hospitalized with severe burns.

The attacker, a 32-year-old man identified as Johanda, threw several petrol bombs into the parking lot of the Batak Society Christian Church of Oikumene in Samarinda, East Kalimantan province.

Four children playing in the lot were injured and rushed to nearby hospitals. One of them, a two and a half year-old toddler named Intan Olivia Banjarnahor later died on Nov.14. Read more at ucanews.com…

Buddhist monks, nuns forced to pledge no return to monastery

Authorities continue demolishing monastic dwellings in China’s Sichuan province

The Larung Gar Institute. Source: Boddhicitta via Wikipedia CC BY 2.0
The Larung Gar Institute. Source: Boddhicitta via Wikipedia CC BY 2.0

Monks and nuns evicted from Larung Gar Buddhist Institute in China’s Sichuan province have been forced to sign documents pledging that they will never return, sources have told RFA.

The signed pledges also contain guarantees to “uphold the unity of the nation” and not to show opposition to official policy in the area, said a local anonymous source. Read more at ucanews.com

Indonesia police brace for hardline Islamic protest

Thousands of hardline Muslims are expected to take to the streets on Friday to protest against the governor of Jakarta, a Christian and the first ethnic Chinese in the job, over claims he insulted the Quran.

Jakarta police said dozens of social media accounts were discovered “publishing provocative statements and images” and urging people to take violent action in the name of Islam against governor Basuki Tjahja Purnama, better known by his nickname “Ahok”, including calls to kill him, read more at Asia One….

Envoys taken to Myanmar’s strife-hit Rakhine

NLD Government denies security forces raped women in Rohingya camps

Rohingya IDPs took the opportunity of a VIP visit to their camp to defend their rights. Source:  Bernard Jaspers-Fajer EU/ECHO via Flickr CC SA-BY 2.0
Rohingya IDPs took the opportunity of a VIP visit to their camp to defend their rights. Source: Bernard Jaspers-Fajer EU/ECHO via Flickr CC SA-BY 2.0

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Foreign diplomats visited flashpoint areas of Myanmar’s strife-torn Rakhine state on Wednesday, authorities said, as pressure mounts on the government to address accusations of rights abuses in a region home to the Muslim Rohingya minority.

The military has heavily restricted access to the state’s northwestern strip, which abuts Bangladesh, since surprise raids on border posts left nine police dead on Oct 9.

The hunt for the culprits, who the government says are radicalised Rohingya Muslims, has seen more than 30 people killed, dozens arrested and 15,000 flee their homes in fear. Read more at the Bangkok Post