Human Rights Watch
Since the Russian Supreme Court labeled Jehovah’s Witnesses an “extremist” group, vandals have targeted followers and their banks accounts have been frozen. Stones were thrown at a St. Petersburg assembly hall, and someone tried to burn the Moscow home of a Jehovah’s Witness to the ground, a church spokesman said.
Jakarta's Christian governor has been sentenced to two years in jail for blasphemy, a harsher-than-expected ruling critics fear will embolden hardline Islamist forces to challenge secularism in Indonesia, the world's largest Muslim-majority nation. The April 9 guilty verdict for Basuki Tjahaja Purnama comes amid concern about the growing influence of Islamist groups, who organized mass rallies during a tumultuous election campaign that ended with Purnama losing his bid for another term as governor.
This weekend we’ll commemorate the too-short life and great work of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. While we rightly celebrate his life dedicated to advancing equality for all, too often we overlook his call to peacemaking. This year, in light of conflicts in Syria, South Sudan, and an often-overlooked war in Central African Republic, we should remember his words.
In his 1967 speech, “Beyond Vietnam — A Time to Break Silence,” King opposed the violence, saying:
"To me the relationship of this ministry [of Jesus Christ] to the making of peace is so obvious that I sometimes marvel at those who ask me why I'm speaking against the war. Could it be that they do not know that the good news was meant for all men — for Communist and capitalist, for their children and ours, for black and for white, for revolutionary and conservative?"
Those aware of our long history at Sojourners know that we have always been committed to peace, to opposing unjust wars and finding nonviolent solutions wherever possible. And in all the work we do, we aim to speak out for the least of these, the poorest and most vulnerable.
An advertisement in Athens intertwines a swastika with a Jewish star. Hungarian politicians declare Jews a national security risk. A gunman executes three children and a rabbi at a Jewish school in France.
Rep. Chris Smith, R-N.J., convened a hearing on Wednesday on this rise in anti-Semitism, calling it a threat not only to Jews, but to other religious minorities and the ideal of tolerance in general.
For Reuters, Sebastian Moffett reports on a new Human Rights Watch report: