Muslim Statistics - Persecution

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Persecution

Worldwide

Five of the nations ranked least peaceful in the world by the Global Peace Index are Islamic countries. Please note, the GPI does not take violence against women and children into consideration.[1]

Country 2010 Rank 2010 Score 2009 Rank 2009 Score 2008 Rank 2008 Score 2007 Rank 2007 Score
Flag of Pakistan.png Pakistan 145 3.050 137 2.859 127 2.694 115 2.697
Flag of Sudan.png Sudan 146 3.125 140 2.922 138 3.189 120 3.182
Flag of Afghanistan.png Afghanistan 147 3.252 143 3.285 137 3.126
Flag of Somalia.png Somalia 148 3.390 142 3.257 139 3.293
Flag of Iraq.png Iraq 149 3.406 144 3.341 140 3.514 121 3.437

[2]

In 2010, 8 of the top 10 persecutors of Christians are Islamic countries.

Despite Communist North Korea topping the annual Open Doors World Watch List (WWL) for the ninth consecutive year, the most dangerous countries in which to practice Christianity are overwhelmingly Islamic ones.

Of the top 10 countries on the 2011 WWL, eight have Islamic majorities. Persecution has increased in seven of them. They are Iran, which clamps down on a growing house church movement; Afghanistan, where thousands of believers cluster deep underground; and Saudi Arabia, which still refuses to allow any Saudi person to convert to Christianity.

Others are lawless Somalia, ruled by bloodthirsty terrorists threatening to kill Christian aid workers who feed Somalia’s starving, impoverished people; tiny Maldives, which mistakenly boasts it is 100 percent Islamic; Yemen with its determination to expel all Christian workers; and Iraq, which saw extremists massacre 58 Christians in a Baghdad cathedral on Oct. 31.

Of the top 30 countries, only seven have a source other than Islamic extremists as the main persecutors of Christians.

The top 10 in order are North Korea, Iran, Afghanistan, Saudi Arabia, Somalia, Maldives, Yemen, Iraq, Uzbekistan and Laos, which has a Communist government. Iraq is new to the top 10 list while Mauritania dropped out, going from No. 8 to No. 13.[3][4]
January, 2011

In 2011, 9 of the top 10 persecutors of Christians are Islamic countries.

Muslim nations make up nine out of the top ten countries where Christians face the “most severe” persecution, and 38 of the top 50, reports U.S.-based Open Doors in its 2012 World Watch List.

Topping the list is North Korea, where the Stalinist regime enforces cult worship of its leaders.
. . .
What’s more, a decade’s worth of Open Doors surveys shows that “the persecution of Christians in these Muslim countries continues to increase,” the group’s Dr. Carl Moeller reports.
. . .

Afghanistan, Saudi Arabia, Somalia, Iran, Maldives, Uzbekistan, Yemen, Iraq and Pakistan complete the Open Doors Watch List’s top ten persecutors of religious minorities – in that order after North Korea.[5]
January, 2012
North Korea tops the list for the 10th straight time as the country where Christians face the most severe persecution, while Islamic-majority countries represent nine of the top 10 and 38 of the 50 countries on the annual ranking.

Afghanistan (2), Saudi Arabia (3), Somalia (4), Iran (5) and the Maldives (6) form a bloc where indigenous Christians have almost no freedom to openly worship. For the first time Pakistan (10) entered the top 10, after a tumultuous year during which the nation’s highest-ranking Christian politician, Cabinet Minister Shahbaz Bhatti, was assassinated for his attempts to change the blasphemy law.

The rest of the top 10 is composed of Uzbekistan (7), Yemen (8) and Iraq (9). Laos was the lone country to drop from the top 10 list, falling to No. 12 from No. 10.

While persecution has worsened due to persecution by Muslim extremists, without question North Korea once again deserves its No. 1 ranking.
. . .
There are significant moves on the World Watch List, including Sudan moving up 19 spots to No. 16 – the biggest leap of any country from 2011. Nigeria jumped 10 spots to No. 13. Egypt, racked by violent protests and upheaval during the Arab Spring, rose four positions to No. 15. Increased Islamic extremism triggered the upward movement of Sudan, Nigeria and Egypt.

“Being a Muslim Background Believer or ‘Secret Believer’ Christian in a Muslim-dominated country is a huge challenge. Christians often face persecution from extremists, the government, their community and even their own families,” said Moeller. “As the 2012 World Watch List reflects, the persecution of Christians in these Muslim countries continues to increase. While many thought the Arab Spring would bring increased freedom, including religious freedom for minorities, that certainly has not been the case so far.”[6]
January, 2012

Muslim-majority countries score worst for religious freedom and social hostilities involving religion.

Muslim-majority countries score worst across a range of measures in a comprehensive new study tracking government restrictions on religion as well as social hostilities involving religion around the world.

The study by the Pew Research Center’s Forum on Religion & Public Life, released Tuesday, found that nearly one-third of the world’s population lives in countries where religion-related government restrictions or social hostilities rose significantly between mid-2006 and mid-2009.

Geographically, the Middle East/North Africa region boasted the largest proportion of countries – 30 percent – where official restrictions on religion increased over that three-year period.

Digging deeper, the 117-page report reveals that countries belonging to the Organization of Islamic Cooperation (OIC) dominate many of the most serious measures tracked at the end of the survey period in mid-2009.

Seven of the ten countries with the highest – that is, worst – grades when it comes to government restrictions on religion were OIC countries – Egypt, Iran, Saudi Arabia, Uzbekistan, Maldives, Malaysia and Indonesia. The other three were China, Burma and Eritrea.

Of the 10 countries on that benchmark index, six are designated by the U.S. government as “countries of particular concern” for religious freedom violations – Burma, China, Eritrea, Iran, Saudi Arabia and Uzbekistan.

A separate index in the Pew report graded countries according to levels of social hostility involving religion. Eight of the top ten countries in that index were Muslim-majority states – Iraq, Pakistan, Afghanistan, Somalia, Indonesia, Nigeria, Bangladesh and Egypt. The other two, India and Israel, have Hindu and Jewish majorities respectively, and large Muslim minorities.

In an index measuring official interference with religious practice, 18 out of 26 countries (69 percent) whose government “prohibits worship or religious practices of one or more religious groups as a general policy,” were OIC members – Brunei, Chad, Egypt, Indonesia, Iran, Iraq, Libya, Malaysia, Maldives, Mauritania, Pakistan, Saudi Arabia, Somalia, Syria, Tajikistan, Turkey, Turkmenistan and Uzbekistan.

The other eight were Burma, China, Eritrea, Laos, Madagascar, Monaco, Tuvalu and Vietnam.

A grading of countries where conversion from one religion to another is restricted was also dominated by Islamic states, accounting for 25 out of 29 countries listed (86 percent). They were Afghanistan, Algeria, Bangladesh, Comoros, Egypt, Indonesia, Iran, Jordan, Kuwait, Libya, Malaysia, Maldives, Mauritania, Oman, Pakistan, Qatar, Saudi Arabia, Somalia, Sudan, Syria, Tajikistan, Turkey, United Arab Emirates, Uzbekistan and Yemen.

The four non-Muslim countries were Eritrea, India, Israel and Vietnam.

Taking the conversion issue a step further, among 13 countries where there were incidents of physical violence over conversions from one religion to another, 10 (77 percent) were Muslim – Afghanistan, Bahrain, Bangladesh, Comoros, Egypt, Jordan, Nigeria, Pakistan, Somalia and Syria. The other three were India, Mongolia and Nepal.

Sixteen out of 26 countries/territories where “religion-related terrorist groups” perpetrated violence that resulted in ten or more injuries or deaths” were OIC members – Afghanistan, Algeria, Azerbaijan, Egypt, Iran, Iraq, Lebanon, Mauritania, Niger, Pakistan, Palestinian territories, Somalia, Sudan, Syria, Uzbekistan and Yemen

The 10 non-Muslim countries were Central African Republic, China, Congo, Ethiopia, India, Israel, Nepal, Philippines, Russia and Sri Lanka. (The report does not provide a breakdown of actual attacks, but in at least some of those countries – India, Israel, the Philippines and Russia – terror activity is largely attributed to Islamist groups.)

Blasphemy, ‘defamation’

The Pew report also examined the issue of “defamation” of religion, tracking countries where various penalties are enforced for apostasy, blasphemy or criticism of religions.

“While such laws are sometimes promoted as a way to protect religion, in practice they often serve to punish religious minorities whose beliefs are deemed unorthodox or heretical,” it said.

It found 21 Muslim countries in that category – Afghanistan, Algeria, Bahrain, Brunei, Egypt, Indonesia, Iran, Iraq, Jordan, Kuwait, Maldives, Morocco, Pakistan, Qatar, Saudi Arabia, Somalia, Sudan, Tajikistan, Turkey, Western Sahara and Yemen.

The study also found 23 non-Muslim countries where penalties are enforced for such criticism of religion – Austria, Brazil, Burma, El Salvador, Ethiopia, France, Germany, Greece, Honduras, Iceland, India, Italy, Malta, Mauritius, Netherlands, Poland, Romania, Russia, Samoa, Singapore, Spain, Sweden and the United Kingdom.

“Eight-in-ten countries in the Middle East-North Africa region have laws against blasphemy, apostasy or defamation of religion, the highest share of any region,” it said. “These penalties are enforced in 60 percent of the countries in the region. In Europe, nearly four-in-ten countries (38 per cent) have such laws and nearly a third (31 per cent) actively enforces them.”

The report did not, however, draw a distinction between the types of penalties enforced in Muslim and non-Muslim countries for breaching these laws.

A study by Human Rights First, released last March, documented more than 70 cases in 15 countries where the enforcement of blasphemy laws resulted in problems of various kinds since 2007.

Of the 70 cases, only four were not in Muslim countries. They were in Austria (where a woman was fined for “denigrating” Islam during a lecture); India (where nine people were charged over a magazine article said to have injured the sentiments of Hindus); Sri Lanka (where a convert from Buddhism to Islam was accused of offending Buddhism); and Poland (where a provocative rock star was accused of insulting religious sentiments in the predominantly Catholic country).

By contrast, the vast majority of the cases documented in the report took place in Islamic countries – Afghanistan, Bangladesh, Egypt, Indonesia, Iran, Jordan, Malaysia, Nigeria, Pakistan, Saudi Arabia and Sudan – and included lengthy prison terms and the imposition of the death penalty, as well as extrajudicial retribution such as mob attacks and killings.

‘Repressive’

One country that did not feature in the Pew survey’s country scores was North Korea – not because it is not a problem, but because of difficulties obtaining accurate information in the reclusive Stalinist state.

“The sources clearly indicate that the government of North Korea is among the most repressive in the world with respect to religion as well as other civil liberties,” the report said. “But because North Korean society is effectively closed to outsiders, the sources are unable to provide the kind of specific and timely information that the Pew Forum coded in this quantitative study.”

The religious freedom advocacy group Open Doors has listed North Korea at No. 1 on its annual World Watch List of countries most hostile to Christians for the past nine consecutive years.

The rest of the top 10 on its 2011 list were Iran, Afghanistan, Saudi Arabia, Somalia, Maldives, Yemen, Iraq, Uzbekistan and Laos. Apart from communist Laos, all are OIC member-states.[7][8][9]
August, 2011

In 2012, Islamic countries, including Turkey, comprised 12 of top 16 'worst persecutors'.

Today, the U.S. Commission on International Religious Freedom (Uscirf) released its 14th annual report, which it is mandated to do under the International Religious Freedom Act of 1998. The report identifies the world's worst persecutors and makes foreign-policy recommendations, which are non-binding, to the administration and Congress. Its decisions are based on the agency's visits to foreign countries, and a wide array of other sources, including the State Department' s own excellent annual compilation of worldwide religious-freedom violations. The commission is distinctive because it is an independent federal agency, and it is to make its name-and-shame lists and policy recommendations unburdened by foreign-policy considerations other than the defense of religious freedom.

This year, Uscirf named 16 countries as the most egregious and systematic religious freedom violators in the world and recommended them for official "Country of Concern" (CPC) designation by the U.S. State Department. They are: Burma, China, Egypt, Eritrea, Iran, Iraq, Nigeria, North Korea, Pakistan, Saudi Arabia, (north) Sudan, Tajikistan, Turkey, Turkmenistan, Uzbekistan, and Vietnam.

I thought Afghanistan should be on the list as well and said so in my dissent, which is excerpted further down in this column.

Christians, Jews, Baha'is, Mandeans, Ahmadiyas, Rohingya Muslims, Yizidis, Alevis, Shiite and Ismaili Muslims in Saudi Arabia, African traditional believers in Sudan, Uighur Muslims, Tibetan Buddhists, Falun Gong practitioners, Sufi Muslims, Pakistani Hindus, independent Buddhists in Vietnam, Cao Dai, and many others groups and individuals are persecuted in these 16 countries. They suffer arrest, torture, imprisonment and even death for religious reasons, as well as other pressures. All these groups are covered in the Uscirf report.

Christians are far from the only religious group persecuted in these countries. But, Christians are the only group persecuted in each and every one of them. This pattern has been found by sources as diverse as the Vatican, Open Doors, Pew Research Center, Newsweek, and The Economist, all of which recently reported that an overwhelming majority of the religiously persecuted around the world are Christians. Globally, this persecution is experienced by all Christian faith traditions from Pentecostal and evangelical to Protestant, Roman Catholic, and Orthodox.[10][11]
March, 2012
Following statistics was given in the Indian Parliament during question and answer session by the external affairs ministry.
. . .

After the Dec.6,1992 incident in Ayodhya, India (destruction of the disputed Babri mosque) Anti-Hindu forces in the rest of the world reacted as follows:

Pakistan - 242 temples damaged/ destroyed.

Bangla Desh- 357 temples damaged/ destroyed...

Britain - 4 temples damaged.

Attacks on 56 other temples in rest of the world.[12][13]
June, 1994

Afghanistan

There is not a single, public Christian church left in Afghanistan, according to the U.S. State Department.

This reflects the state of religious freedom in that country ten years after the United States first invaded it and overthrew its Islamist Taliban regime.

In the intervening decade, U.S. taxpayers have spent $440 billion to support Afghanistan's new government and more than 1,700 U.S. military personnel have died serving in that country.

The last public Christian church in Afghanistan was razed in March 2010, according to the State Department's latest International Religious Freedom Report. The report, which was released last month and covers the period of July 1, 2010 through December 31, 2010, also states that “there were no Christian schools in the country.”[14]
October, 2011
There is only “one known Jewish resident” still living in Afghanistan, according to the U.S. State Department.

That is despite the fact that Jews have lived in Afghanistan for nearly three millenia, and had a local population that was 40,000 strong as of the mid-1800s
. . .
The last Jew in Afghanistan is known by name. Also, there is only one synagogue left in that country.

But the State Department report says that synagogue is no longer “in use for a lack of Jewish community.”

According to media reports, by the end of 2004 there were only two known Afghan Jews left in Afghanistan. But one died in 2005, leaving just one survivor.

According to the State Department, “in the 20th century, small communities of Bahais, Buddhists, Christians, Hindus, Jews, and Sikhs lived in the country, although most members of these communities emigrated during the years of civil war and Taliban rule.”

By the end of Taliban rule, non-Muslim populations had been virtually eliminated except for a small population of native Hindus and Sikhs,” reads the report.[15]
October, 2011

Cyprus

Speaking at Communion and Liberation’s annual meeting in Rimini, Italy, the primate of the Orthodox Church of Cyprus discussed the desecration of churches in northeastern Cyprus, which has been under Turkish military occupation since 1974.

Archbishop Chrysostomos II said that 120 churches have become mosques, museums, or storage facilities and that Turkey is attempting to eliminate Christianity in the area.[16]
August, 2012

Egypt

Nearly 93,000 Coptic Christians have left Egypt since 19 March [following the Egyptian revolution], a report by an Egypt-based Coptic NGO has said.

The number may increase to 250,000 by the end of 2011, according to Naguib Gabriel, the head of the Egyptian Federation of Human Rights, which released the report.[17]
September, 2011
Several Coptic leaders voiced concerns about what they called discriminatory policies of President Mohamed Morsy, warning of increasing emigration among the country’s largest minority.
. . .
Coptic lawyer Mamdouh Ramzy said 100,000 Copts have applied for emigration to the US, and others have applied to go to Scandinavian countries. He added that changes to the demography of Egypt will have extremely dangerous repercussions.[18]
September, 2012

France

Local communities in France’s immigrant suburbs increasingly organize themselves on Islamic lines rather than following the values of the secular republic, according to a major new sociological study.
. . .
Surveys suggest most in France do not object to mixed marriages, but in the suburbs the researchers were surprised find “a very large proportion of Muslim respondents said they were opposed to marriages with non-Muslims.”[19]

Indonesia

Recent surveys indicate that Indonesian Muslims are increasingly intolerant of other religions, this according to a report published by the Jakarta-based Islamic National University (UIN). This has taken the form of non-acceptance by Muslims of non-Muslim teachers in public schools and opposition to new churches or non-Muslim places of worship.

The survey, which compares data from 2001 to data from 2010, was conducted by the Centre for the Study of Islam and Society (PPIM), an independent research centre at the State Islamic University (UIN) in Jakarta, headed by executive director Jajat Burhanudin.

Each year, the PPIM interviews about 1,200 Muslim men and women, 17 years and older, most of whom are elementary to junior high school graduates.

The data shows that Muslim opposition to churches and non-Muslim religious buildings rose from 40.5 per cent to 57.8 per cent.

In 2010, around 27.6 per cent of those surveyed said they did mind if a non-Muslim taught their children at school, a 6.2 per cent increase compared to 2008 (21.4 percent), but still lower than in 2007 (33.5 percent).[20]
October, 2010
Acts of violence and intolerance against Christians in Indonesia almost doubled in 2011, with an Islamist campaign to close down churches symbolizing the plight of the religious minority.

The Indonesian Protestant Church Union, locally known as PGI, counted 54 acts of violence and other violations against Christians in 2011, up from 30 in 2010.

The number of such incidents against religious minorities in general also grew, from 198 in 2010 to 276 in 2011, but the worst is perhaps yet to come if authorities continue to overlook the threat of extremism, said a representative from the Jakarta-based Wahid Institute, a Muslim organization that promotes tolerance.

Rumadi, who goes by a single name, said his Wahid Institute also observed an attempt to institutionalize intolerance in this archipelago of about 238 million people, of whom about 88 percent Muslim. At least 36 regulations to ban religious practices deemed deviant from Islam were drafted or implemented in the country in 2011.

A Jakarta-based civil rights group, the Setara Institute for Democracy and Peace, noted that both the government and groups in society were responsible for the incidents, with the main violators including religious extremist organizations such as the Islamic Defenders Front (FPI).
. . .
The Setara report cited a February incident in which a mob of about 1,500 Muslim extremists brutally killed three members of the Ahmadiyya community, which is seen as heretical by mainstream Muslims, in the province of Banten near West Java.

“Cases of intolerance have intensified this year, numbering more than last year, and at the core of the problem is poor law enforcement by the government,” Setara deputy chairman Bonar Tigor Naipospos told The Jakarta Globe.[21]
January, 2012
Violence against religious minorities surged in Indonesia in 2011, with authorities standing aside and failing to uphold the rule of law as Islamist mobs attacked Christians and Ahmadis, Human Rights Watch (HRW) said in its annual report on the country.

The report, part of a larger HRW publication monitoring human rights in more than 90 countries, also said violence continued to rack Papua and West Papua. The report said the authorities used excessive force against peaceful protesters in these Indonesian provinces, where a low-level separatist insurgency has been going on for decades.

Elaine Pearson, the group’s deputy Asia director, said attacks on religious minorities and police violence in Papua “got a lot worse in 2011.”

“The common thread is the failure of the Indonesian government to protect the rights of all its citizens,” she said.

The report said senior government officials, including Minister of Religious Affairs Suryadharma Ali, Home Affairs Minister Gamawan Fauzi, and Minister of Human Rights and Law Patrialis Akbar, “continued to justify restrictions on religious freedom in the name of public order.”

Incidents of sectarian violence “got more deadly and more frequent” last year, with 184 cases of religious attacks in the first nine months of 2011, the rights group said. Churches as well as Ahmadi mosques and communities in various places came under assault.[22]
January, 2012
Last year, the local Setara Institute for Democracy and Peace recorded 244 acts of violence against religious minorities – nearly double the 2007 figure
. . .
Indonesia's Christians have suffered most, perhaps. The Indonesian Communion of Churches says about 80 churches have been closed each year since President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono took power in 2004, and an additional 1,000 congregations have faced harassment.[23]
May, 2012
[Indonesia] is by no means a bastion of tolerance. The rights of religious and ethnic minorities are routinely trampled. While Indonesia’s Constitution protects freedom of religion, regulations against blasphemy and proselytizing are routinely used to prosecute atheists, Bahais, Christians, Shiites, Sufis and members of the Ahmadiyya faith... By 2010, Indonesia had over 150 religiously motivated regulations restricting minorities’ rights.

In 2006, Mr. Yudhoyono, in a new decree on “religious harmony,” tightened criteria for building a house of worship. The decree is enforced only on religious minorities... More than 400 such churches have been closed since Mr. Yudhoyono took office in 2004.

Although the government has cracked down on Jemaah Islamiyah, an Al Qaeda affiliate that has bombed hotels, bars and embassies, it has not intervened to stop other Islamist militants who regularly commit less publicized crimes against religious minorities.
. . .
Mr. Yudhoyono is not simply turning a blind eye; he has actively courted conservative Islamist elements and relies on them to maintain his majority in Parliament
. . .

In June 2008, the Yudhoyono administration issued a decree requiring the Ahmadiyya sect to “stop spreading interpretations and activities that deviate from the principal teachings of Islam,” including its fundamental belief that there was a prophet after Muhammad... Muslim militants, who consider the Ahmadiyya heretics, then forcibly shut down more than 30 Ahmadiyya mosques.[24]
May, 2012
...recent cases of persecution of religious minorities have led some to question whether Indonesia is still living up to its reputation for pluralism and tolerance. The persecuted include atheists as well as minority Muslim sects, such as the Shia and Ahmadiyya. Hundreds of churches have been closed in recent years, including, most recently, 17 house churches this month in Aceh, the only province in Indonesia where Shariah, or Islamic law, is in effect.[25]
May, 2012

Iran

more than 200 people were arrested for their religious beliefs between June 2010 and January 2011, according to Elam Ministries, a UK-based church founded by Iranian Christians.[26]
October, 2011
According to the summary report, a total of 2,751 case reports were gathered in 2011 and reflected 1,120,077 violations of the articles of Human Rights Conventions which Iran had committed to respect. The report also says, 498 execution verdicts were issued and 529 people were officially executed in 2011 in different provinces. The Iranian judiciary also sentenced 597 accused people to more than 302 years of deprivation of their social rights.

One section of this report focused on religious minorities. A total of 214 case reports were recorded by the Statistics section. These reports indicate that during the last year, 378 citizens were arrested, on nine occasions religious minorities were prevented from conducting their religious services . There were four instances of beating, 13 cases of destruction or closure of religious minorities' property, 30 cases of harm to their employment security, three occasions where minorities were prevented from burying their dead. In 18 cases religious minorities were prevented from conducting financial activities, in 106 instances they were summoned by security or judicial entities. İn addition, 186 other cases of Human Rights violations for religious minorities were reported.

Some 116 religious minorities were sentenced to a total of 3,572 months in prison, 204 months of suspended imprisonment sentence, 25 Million Rial (2,500 dollars) of fines, 250 lashes and 1716 months of deprivation of social rights.

From the 214 extracted reports, 274 violations of religious minorities' rights affecting 876 people were recorded. Baha'is with 100 occasions were in first place, Darvishes with 46 instances were in second place, Christians with 29, Sunni Muslims with 26 and Ahl-e-haqs with 6 were in the next places.

In this regard, Baha'is with 47% topped the watch list of the Rapporteurs on Human Rights. Dervishes with 21%, Christians with 14% and Sunni Muslims with 12% were ranked from 2 to 4 on the watch list.

This summary report reveals only a small fraction of the broad violation of human rights against religious minorities in Iran. This unit stated that the report reflects only 3% of statistical errors. The news' from news agencies, official authorities of the regime and also NGOs were cited as sources used in compiling the report.[27]
January, 2012

Iraq

According to the [Chaldean Cultural Association for Peace in Iraq] association’s survey, property of at least 500,000 Christians were taken away and 200,000 Christians were forced to pay extortion money, while dozens others were kidnapped then released for ransom.

Before 2003, there were around 2.1 million Christians in Iraq, but now there are not more than 500,000 of them,” Masho said.

He criticized the Iraqi government for being unable to protect Christians, and said that it did not even fulfill its promises to compensate them.[28]
December, 2009
The year 2010 was the worst year to date for the Christian community in Iraq, it has been revealed by the organization for human rights in Iraq, Hammurabi. Many Christians were forced to leave the country in fear of killings and violence of all kinds. The death toll among Christians over the past seven years, according to Hammurabi exceeds 822 people. 629 of them were murdered for being part of the Christian minority.
. . .
Among the Christian victims of 2010 there are 33 children, 25 elderly and 14 religious. In 2010 Hammurabi recorded 92 cases of Christians killed and 47 wounded, 68 in Baghdad, 23 in Mosul and one in Erbil.[29]
July, 2011

Pakistan

Around 74 percent of Pakistani women from minority communities -- Christians and Hindus -- were sexually harassed, while 43 percent faced religious discrimination at workplaces in 2010 and 2011, a study said.

Around 27 percent of minority women faced discrimination in admission to educational institutions and were forced to take Islamic studies for absence of any alternative subject, said National Commission for Justice and Peace (NCJP) executive director Peter Jacob.

A study titled "Life on the Margins" conducted by the commission with rights activists, media and people from various walks of life has just been released.

The research, based on interviews with minority women, was led by Jennifer Jag Jivan and Jacob and assessed by three prominent minority women, Asiya Nasir, Ernestine C. Pinto and Pushpa Kumari.

Jacob said the study looked into social, political and economic conditions of minority women with a baseline survey conducted in 26 districts of Punjab and Sindh, the two provinces where 95 percent of minorities in the country lived.

As many as 1,000 Hindu and Christian women were interviewed.

The study looked into issues such as legal disparity, laws concerning minorities, religious and gender biases, forced conversions that affected everyday life of minority women.[30]
March, 2012
The hate campaign against Ahmadis reached new heights in Pakistan and even innocent children are not spared now.

These were the findings of an annual report, the Persecution of Ahmadis in Pakistan, released by the Jamaat Ahmadiyya Pakistan on Wednesday.
. . .
“There have been 210 deaths after the imposition of these discriminatory laws in 1984, 254 assassination attempts on various Ahmadis, 23 Ahmadi places of worship were demolished and 28 were sealed by the administration, 16 places of worship were forcefully taken over, 29 graves of Ahmadis were opened and desecrated and 57 Ahmadis were refused burial in common graveyards,” the report read further.

The report also read during 2011 Ahmadis were not allowed to build places of worship anywhere in Pakistan.
. . .

According to the report, in 2011 as well, Ahmadis were not allowed to hold any convention in Rabwah, where 95 percent people belonged to Ahmadiyya community.[31]
May, 2012
In Rahim Yar Khan, members of minority communities, particularly Hindus, are unable to register their children in government schools, which have refused admissions due to the absence of birth certificates.

Furthermore, without Computerised National Identity Cards, over 150,000 non-Muslims have been unable to register their children for secondary school examinations since 2001.

Hindus are also unable to get their marriages registered in the absence of formal laws in the country.[32]
September, 2012
While sectarian violence is a longstanding problem in Pakistan, attacks against ordinary Shia have increased dramatically in recent years, Human Rights Watch said. In 2012, at least 320 members of the Shia population were killed in targeted attacks. Over 100 were killed in Balochistan province, the majority from the Hazara community.
. . .
While authorities claim to have arrested dozens of suspects in attacks against Shia since 2008, only a handful have been charged, and no one has been held accountable for these attacks.[33]
September, 2012

Saudi Arabia

A growing number of Wahhabi Muslims in Saudi Arabia are now expressing their radical views on social media sites like Facebook, according to a new study.

The Foundation for Defense of Democracies scanned about 40,000 Arabic and English posts on Facebook, Twitter, Youtube, message boards, and similar sites from January to June 2011.

Wahhabi Muslim clerics are using Facebook and other sites to push extreme anti-Western views.

"A staggering 75 percent of the Arabic-language posts we saw reflected xenophobic beliefs, or hostility toward the United States, the West, and non-Muslim cultures," FDD Vice President for Research Jonathan Schanzer said.[34]
May, 2012

Turkey

Turks intolerant of non-Muslims. Please note; The religion of 99% of the population of Turkey is Islam[35]

Conducted by the Frekans research company as part of a project to promote the Turkish Jewish community and its culture, the poll gauged Turks' views on different ethnic and religious groups in Turkey, the Jewish community in particular. Fifty-seven percent of 1,108 people surveyed in the poll said they did not want to have atheist neighbors, while 42 percent said they did not want Jewish neighbors and 35 percent of respondents were reluctant to have Christian neighbors.


Furthermore, when asked whether they would feel uncomfortable if people from Turkey's non-Muslim communities were employed by top state institutions, 57 percent of respondents expressed discomfort with the idea of someone from these groups being employed by the National Intelligence Organization (MİT), while 55 percent stated that they did not want non-Muslims to be members of the judiciary or the police force.[36]
October, 2009
....Prominent political scientists Ersin Kalaycıoğlu and Ali Çarkoğlu from Sabancı University reported the research findings on religiosity in Turkey under the framework of the International Social Survey Program, or ISSP, which measures religious values from 43 different countries
. . .

The findings on tolerance toward religions are remarkable as well. Ninety percent of the Turkish population reported having a positive view toward Muslims, but this ratio dropped to 13 percent for Christians and around 10 percent for Jews. Those who said they have highly positive views about non-believers of any religion totaled 7 percent.

When it comes to accepting political candidates from different religions, 37 percent of Turks said they would absolutely not accept this and 12 percent said they would most likely not accept it. However, 23 percent said they would absolutely accept it and 24 percent say they would probably accept it. Eleven percent of Turks said people from different religions should absolutely be allowed to organize public meetings to express their ideas, while 24 percent said they should be allowed to do so.

Thirty-six percent said people from different religions absolutely should not be allowed to organize such meetings, while 23 percent said they should not be allowed to do so.[37]
November, 2009
Turkey was the country with the highest number of European Court of Human Rights (ECHR) convictions in 2011, the third year in a row as Today's Zaman reports. ECHR head Nicolas Bratza said at a press briefing on Thursday that Turkey topped the list of countries that violated the European Convention on Human Rights (ECHR) with 159 cases.
. . .

Council of Europe Secretary-General Thorbjorn Jagland recently said during a meeting that there are currently 16,000 ongoing cases against Turkey, making it the country against which the second-highest number of cases have been filed.
. . .
In its 2010 report, the Strasbourg-based court again listed Turkey as the country most often found to be in violation of the convention. The highest number of judgments finding at least one violation of the ECHR concern cases from Turkey (228)
. . .

In 2009, Turkey also topped the list in terms of violations of ECHR articles.[38]
January, 2012
Despite some promising developments, Christians in Turkey continue to suffer attacks from private citizens, discrimination by lower-level government officials and vilification in both school textbooks and news media, according to a study by a Protestant group.

In its annual "Report on Human Rights Violations," released in January, the country's Association of Protestant Churches notes mixed indicators of improvement but states that there is a "root of intolerance" in Turkish society toward adherents of non-Islamic faiths.
. . .
The report documented 12 attacks against Christians in 2011, including incidents in which individuals were beaten in Istanbul for sharing their faith, church members were threatened and church buildings attacked. None of the attackers have been charged. In some of the attacks, the victims declined to bring charges against the assailants.
. . .
"There are at least five church leaders who have bodyguards, and at least two have a direct phone line to a police protection unit," the report states. "Several churches have police protection during worship services."
. . .
Along with attacks, Christians in Turkey continue to have problems establishing places of worship.
. . .
The report also identifies state policies that single out Christian children for harassment or vilification.
. . .

Being a Christian is often characterized in the news media as a negative thing, according to the study, and many legal activities of church bodies were portrayed as if they were illegal or a liability to society. Some church groups were falsely linked to at least one terrorist group.[39]
February, 2012
According to the speaker Turkey will lead anti-Christian politics in coming 30-40 years as well and it will be especially directed to the Armenian Community.

“The social inquiries in Turkey show that 40 % of the population does not want to live with the Christian neighbor. And 58 % of them does not want to live with Jew neighbor”, Simavoryan noted.

Expert also noted that Armenian community is on the eve of vanishing in Turkey as a result of the intolerance attitude. According to him media is very active in this issue. “Every action by the Christian Church is presented as negative action. Even the churches are presented as terrorist organizations”.[40]
May, 2012

Free Speech

Arab World

Around 50% of Arab students surveyed were in favour of stricter censorship of the Internet.

So reads the finding of a survey by the American University of Beirut, that comes at a time when some Middle-East countries are threatening to block certain sites on BlackBerry smartphones.

Taking in more than 2,700 university and high-school students in Lebanon, Jordan and the Arab Emirates, the study, which features in a report in business weekly Arabian Business, shows that around 40% of students are in favour of increased levels of censorship of the Web. Added to these, are 8% who believe that access to web content should be "completely limited or banned".

Despite the support shown for censorship by the survey, students have Western habits when it comes to illegally downloading music, games and films. Four out of five interviewees in fact admitted to never having paid for online content despite having downloaded at least one. [41]
August, 2010

Denmark

55 percent of Danish Muslims think it should be forbidden to criticize religion.
. . .
These are the results of an opinion poll that Capacent har conducted for DR from a sample of 523 Muslims.[42]
April, 2009
In August 2011, it was reported that more than 900 Danish websites had been hacked by groups from various countries along with individual hackers. Typically, the attacks replaced home pages of "anti-Islam" sites with pro-Islam messages and condemned the publication of "blasphemous images of the Prophet." Noteworthy is the fact that these religious hackers do not find such illegal activity to be contrary to their Islamic beliefs. As one hacker put it, she had achieved her goals "By the grace of God".[43][44]

Indonesia

Acts of violence in the survey on religion and violence by the Center for Islamic and Social Studies (PPIM) ranged from 0.1 percent of respondents admitting their involvement in demolishing or arson of churches constructed without official permits, to 1.3 percent [2.6 million] who committed "intimidation" against those they considered had blasphemed Islam.
. . .
The survey, conducted from 2001 to March 2006, found 43.5 percent of respondents were ready to wage war on threatening non-Muslim groups, 40 percent would use violence against those blaspheming Islam and 14.7 percent would tear down churches without official permits.[45]
July, 2006

Iran

Over 5 million websites are reportedly blocked in Iran, but Iranians use proxy software and virtual private networks (VPN) to access them.

Iranian officials have, for over three decades, been waging what they call a "battle against the invasion of Western culture."

This has led to blockades of "immoral" internet sites and banned Western music and movies. However, pirated versions of those are easily available on the black market.

The country recently established a cyberpolice unit to better police the internet and even plans to introduce its own national internet, though this has been postponed several times.[46]
January, 2012
Many who die for drug offenses were originally arrested for resisting the regime. Iran executed 670 people in 2011, including more than 20 for offenses against Islam, a UN investigator said in Geneva on Monday. The vast majority of people Iran executed in 2011 were convicted of drug offenses[47]
March, 2012

Pakistan

According to data collected by the Catholic Church’s National Commission on Justice and Peace (NCJP), at least 964 people have been indicted for desecrating the Qur‘an or defiling the name of the prophet Muhammad between 1986 and this year, including 479 Muslims, 119 Christians, 340 Ahmadis, 14 Hindus and 10 from other religions. Since its inception, the law has been used a pretext for attacks, personal vendettas and extra-judicial murders: 33 in all by individuals or enraged mobs.

Since 2001, at least 50 Christians have been killed after being accused of blasphemy, the NCJP said. The list of victims of Muslim extremists also includes members of other religious minorities as well as Muslims. The Ahmadi community—a Muslim group that does not view Muhammad as the final prophet and is thus deemed heretical by Sunnis and Shias—has lamented the loss of at least 12 of its members this year. Since 1984, 107 Ahmadis have been murdered and 719 arrested.[48]
October, 2009
Pakistan's blasphemy law has been in the spotlight since a Christian, Asia Bibi, was sentenced to hang in Punjab last November.

She denies claims she insulted the Prophet Muhammad during a row with Muslim women villagers about sharing water.

Although no-one convicted under the law has been executed, more than 30 accused have been killed by lynch mobs.

Critics say that convictions under the law hinge on witness testimony, which is often linked to grudges.[49]
March, 2011
Pakistan's telecommunications agency has issued a list of words that it considers obscene or offensive, telling mobile phone companies to block text messages that contain them.

The Pakistan Telecommunication Authority (PTA) deemed 586 Urdu words and 1,109 English words offensive or pornographic, according to reports in local media.
. . .
Included in the list are words such as "intercourse," "condom" and "breast," as well as seemingly ordinary words like "period," "hostage" and "flatulence."

Among the more bizarre are "monkey crotch," "wuutang" and "Jesus Christ."[50]
November, 2011
Ninety-five percent of prosecutions in Pakistan for insulting the Prophet Mohammed or the Qur’an are false, according to a high-profile Muslim lawyer in the country.

According to the legal expert, who cannot be named for security reasons, in most cases the law is abused by people bent on carrying out a personal vendetta.
. . .

According to the Catholic Church’s Commission for Justice and Peace in Pakistan [a country that is 96% Muslim],[51] 38 people were accused of blasphemy last year, of whom 14 were Christians.[52]
December, 2011
If guilty of blasphemy, the child should be punished according to the laws of the country. This is a widespread view among Muslims in Pakistan, whether laymen or religious leaders, regarding the tragedy of an 11 year old Christian girl who is disabled and was recently charged under the "black law". To date the child is being detained under lock and key in a reform school - pending a full hearing for release on bail - for desecrating a few pages of a book that contained verses from the Koran (see AsiaNews 19/08/2012 An 11-year-old disabled Christian girl arrested for blasphemy, 300 families flee). Interviewed by AsiaNews on the issue scholar Mehmood Ahmed Khan, a member of the Islamic Ideology Council (IIc), said that "Rimsha is a minor, but if she is mentally stable and committed the crime, child or not she should be punished." He adds, "no one can be allowed to desecrate the Koran."[53]
August, 2012
As many as 2,000 women and girls from various minority sects were forcibly converted to Islam through rape, torture and kidnappings, while 161 people were charged with blasphemy in 2011, according to a report by the Society for the Protection of the Rights of the Child (SPARC).[54]
September, 2012
Since 1990 alone, fifty-two people have been extra-judicially murdered on charges of blasphemy.

The number of blasphemy-related incidents shot up during Zia’s rule, during which 80 cases were reported to the courts compared to only seven such cases reported during the British rule from 1851 to 1947.

This information was revealed in a report titled: ‘Blasphemy Laws in Pakistan; Historical Overview’ launched on Friday by the Centre for Research and Security Studies (CRSS).
. . .
Since 1987, more than 247 blasphemy cases were registered or raised, directly affecting the lives of some 435 people.
. . .

The CRSS report said that among the 52 people extra-judicially murdered for being implicated in blasphemy charges, 25 were Muslims, 15 were Christians, five were Ahmadis, one was Buddhist and one was Hindu. Known blasphemy cases in Pakistan show that from 1953 to July 2012 there were 434 ‘offenders’ in Pakistan, among them 258 were Muslims, 114 Christians, 57 Ahmadis and four Hindus.[55]
September, 2012

Turkey

Turkey has more journalists in prison than any other country in the world,
. . .

The group [International Press Institute] based its release on a report published by the Organisation for Security and Co-operation in Europe, or OSCE, that said 57 journalists are currently in prison in Turkey. As of December, Iran and China each had 34 journalists behind bars.

“While Iran and China topped lists in December by reportedly jailing some 34 journalists each, Turkey, a candidate for membership in the European Union, has nearly doubled that number five months later, raising questions about the country’s commitment to freedom of the press and the legitimacy of its democratic image,”
. . .
The IPI also drew attention to the fact that there are between 700 and 1,000 ongoing cases in Turkey that could result in the imprisonment of more journalists.

“The sheer number of cases poses fundamental questions about the legal provisions governing journalism in Turkey and raises concerns that the number of journalists in prison could further increase,” said Mijatovic.[56]
April, 2011
Thousands of Turkish websites will most likely be closed after Turkey’s islamist government, via its Directorate of Telecommunications ordered the banning of the use of 138 words cited as as “indecent” or “provocative”.

A lawmaker from the opposition Republican People’s Party told the newspaper Milliyet: ‘our studies have shown that over 120,000 websites in the country will be closed’ [because of the measure].
. . .
Existing sites containing the offending words will be ordered to close.

The blacklist are words such as “escort”, “goal” and “marriage” and “home”, “shock” and “fire”. “Gay” and “prohibited” are also banned, and the number “31″, which in colloquial Turkish means masturbation.[57]
May, 2011
"There are 16,000 cases pending against Turkey at the European Court of Human Rights in Strasbourg, and one thousand of these concern freedom of expression," said Jagland, who underlined that the figure is the source of "much concern", not least because it has a "freezing effect" on the freedom "of journalism and journalists in Turkey". The secretary general did not give any comparative figures on the number of cases faced by other countries but said that the one thousand brought against Turkey were "a lot" and the sign that "there are problems here".[58]
November, 2011
Measuring strictly in terms of imprisonments, Turkey—a longtime American ally, member of NATO, and showcase Muslim democracy—appears to be the most repressive country in the world.
. . .
According to the Journalists Union of Turkey, ninety-four reporters are currently imprisoned for doing their jobs. More than half are members of the Kurdish minority, which has been seeking greater freedoms since the Turkish republic was founded, in 1923. Many counts of arrested journalists go higher; the Friends of Ahmet Sik and Nedim Sener, a group of reporters named for two imprisoned colleagues, has compiled a detailed list of a hundred and four journalists currently in prison there.[59]
March, 2012
100 journalists and 35 newspaper distributors were in jail in the first quarter of 2012. 21 people, including 12 journalists, were facing imprisonment of 254 years in total under allegations of "propaganda for an illegal organization"... by "following up certain news and incidents", "writing a book", "government-critical journalism" or "working for a Kurdish media outlet" claims.
. . .

14 people, including 10 journalists were facing imprisonment by reason of alleged "insult" during the report period. 10 journalists were judged by imprisonment of 28 years and monetary fines of TL 20,000 (€ 8,626) and the others were facing imprisonment of 6 years and TL 10,000 (€ 4,313).

7 journalists were sentenced to imprisonment of 9 months and monetary fines of TL 13,500 (€ 5,822), 6 people were sentenced to imprisonment of 2 years 2 months 20 days and monetary fines of TL 8,480 (€ 3,657) by reasons of alleged "insult", attacks on "personal rights" and compensation claims. A newspaper was sentenced to monetary fines of TL 4,000 (€ 1725).

During the time of the previous quarterly report, 4 people were judged by imprisonment of 77 years 3 months in total within the scope of alleged "insult" and 3 of them were sentenced to 11 months of imprisonment and monetary fines of TL 10,580 (€ 4563).
. . .
In the first 3 months, Özgür Gündem, Atılım, Demokratik Vatan, Demokratik Ulus, Yeni Demokratik Yaşam newspapers seized, suspended and banned under allegations of "propaganda for an illegal organization". The Newroz poster of Peace and Democracy Party (BDP) and concert posters of Grup Yorum were banned confiscated. An investigation opened about 10 books published by Aram Publishing.
. . .

The Radio and Television Supreme Council (RTÜK) stopped 2 programs, gave 327 warnings and 94 monetary fines to radio and television institutions in the first quarter of 2012.[60]
May, 2012

United Kingdom

78% of British Muslims want limits on free speech when it comes to criticizing religion.

[From NOP Research, broadcast by Channel 4-TV] Seventy-eight percent support punishment for the people who earlier this year published cartoons featuring the Prophet Mohammed. Sixty-eight percent support the arrest and prosecution of those British people who "insult Islam." When asked if free speech should be protected, even if it offends religious groups, 62 percent of British Muslims say No, it should not.

Also concerning freedom of speech, as the NOP Research survey reports, "hardcore Islamists" constitute nine percent of the British Muslim population. A slightly more moderate group is composed of "staunch defenders of Islam." This second group comprises 29 percent of the British Muslim population. Individuals in this group aggressively defend their religion from internal and external threats, real or imagined.

The scary reality is that only three percent of British Muslims "took a consistently pro-freedom of speech line on these questions."[61]

Cartoon Violence

Muslim World

Two-thirds of Saudis, Turks and Pakistanis (and majorities in the United Arab Emirates and Palestinian Territories) feel that the Danish cartoons of the Prophet Muhammad reflect Western antagonism against Islam itself.[62]
June, 2006

Denmark

53% of the Danes still believe Jyllands-Posten did nothing wrong by publishing the cartoons, while 38% think the cartoons should never have been published and the others are not sure.[63]
September, 2006
Below half of all Danish muslims distances themselves of the violent reactions in the Middle East to the Jyllands Posten Muhammed Cartoons events in a clear-cut fashion. And 11 percent "have complete understanding" for flag-burning, destroying of Embassies and boycotts of Danish goods, according ta a new poll." 53 percent say that they feel more like muslims than Danes in the current situation and 36 percent say they feel more like both a Muslim and a Dane. The rest feel more like a Dane.[64]
February, 2006

Norway

90% of Muslims living in Norway thought it was wrong to draw and print the Muhammed cartoons. 7% did not think it was wrong and 3% did not know. The corresponding numbers for the population at large was 48%, 43% and 8%. Asked whether publishing drawings that are perceived as insulting should be punished harder, 42% of the muslims agreed, while 45% disagreed and 13% did not know. The rest of the population: 14%, 80% and 6%. Muslims between 30 and 44 years felt less strongly that it should have been punished harder. Asked if they thought the relationship between Muslims and non-Muslims in Norway had become worse after the riots, 47% of Muslims answered yes, 45% answered no, and 8% didn't know. The numbers for the rest of the population were 62%, 24% and 14%. [65]
April, 2006


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