Pwint Phyu Latt is a Muslim peace activist in Burma who sought to promote interfaith relations with Buddhists, the nation’s religious majority. She was sentenced this year to two years in prison and two more years of hard labor.
Gulmira Imin is a Uighur Muslim in China who led the 2009 Uighur protests against its communist government. She has been in prison ever since.
Gedhun Choekyi Nyima was a six-year-old boy when he disappeared from his home in Tibet in 1995. China’s government was the culprit, abducting him three days after the Dalai Lama had proclaimed him the 11th incarnation of the Panchen Lama. Twenty-one years after this unconscionable action, he remains disappeared, with Beijing claiming he is in its custody.
Countless individuals endure a similar fate across the globe, typically at the hands of governments that repress human rights.
India is rejecting a U.S. panel’s charges that the religious freedom of minorities in the world’s largest democracy is being violated with tacit support from elements in the ruling party.
By contrast, leaders of the country’s Christian and Muslim minorities welcomed the findings of the report by the U.S. Commission on International Religious Freedom, released on May 2 in Washington.
Despite much gloom and doom, there were a few silver linings in the report. Religious freedom and harmony have improved in Cyprus, resulting in greater access to houses of worship across the Green Line separating north from south. Nigeria witnessed its first peaceful democratic transfer of power earlier this year when Muslim northerner Muhammadu Buhari ousted Christian southerner Jonathan Goodluck at the polls. And Sri Lanka’s new government has taken positive steps to promote religious freedom and unity in the face of violent Buddhist nationalism.
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.