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International Religious Freedom Report 2014 – Overview

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US State Department has released the International Religious Freedom Report 2014 which outlines 200 countries and territories describing the status of religious freedom in every country. It marks the detail of action that has committed inhuman activities, abuses, damage in the name of religion and violates Govt policies.

  • Report has been submitted in accordance with the International Religious Freedom Act of 1998

The 2014 International Religious Freedom Report

GLOBAL DEVELOPMENTS

  • Improved status of largest population of Christians in Middle East and largest religious minority in Egypt
  • Release of Religious Prisoners in Turkmenistan
  • Societal Response to anti-Semitism*, Islam phobia and forms of intolerance in various countries
    (*Discrimination against Jews as an ethnic, religious or racial group)
  • Constitutional Chamber ruling part of religion law unconstitutional in Kyrgyzstan which eased registration requirements for religious organizations with fewer than 200 members.

REPORT ON INDIA
Constitution guarantees freedom of religion, mandates a secular state, prohibits discrimination on the basis of religion and practices of faith in a way that does not adversely affect public order, morality, and health.
There are “anti-conversion” laws in six states – Arunachal Pradesh, Gujarat, Himachal Pradesh, Chhattisgarh, Odisha, and Madhya Pradesh

Negative status – Report marked the religiously-motivated killings, coerced religious conversions, and actions restricting the right of individuals to change religious beliefs in India
Positive status – Govt’s efforts in enforcement of laws to protect “religious sentiments” and minimize the risk of religious violence

HERE ARE THE POINTS OF STATUS RELIGIOUS FREEDOM

  • Andhra Pradesh, Chhattisgarh, and Karnataka top the list of anti-Christian violence with Andhra Pradesh registering 41 cases, Chhattisgarh 28, and Karnataka 27.
  • The Shivpuri District administration in Madhya Pradesh arrested four Hindu Dalits for converting to Islam.
  • 800 religiously-motivated attacks and police arrested Christians and Muslims for alleged “coerced conversion” of Hindus.
  • Many legal cases of violence during the 1984 anti-Sikh riots and the 2002 Gujarat riots still pending.
  • Gujarat government expanded the number of Muslim-majority areas in Ahmedabad designated legally “disturbed”
  • Government official’s discriminatory statements against members of religious minorities. During an election rally junior government minister Niranjan Jyoti stated that voters had a choice between a government of “the children of Ram or the children of bastards”.
  • Hindu organizations mounted a campaign accusing Muslims of engaging in a “love jihad”