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International Religious Freedom Reports

According to a December article on the website Al Monitor, Deputy Justice Minister Hussein al-Zuhairi stated during a dialogue with the Committee on the Elimination of Racial Discrimination that the Baha’i Faith was not a religion, emphasizing the government’s commitment to legislation prohibiting the Baha’i Faith. Apostolic church leaders said the list would allow them to remove from their rolls the names of former members now attending other churches so the apostolic churches would not be blamed for any proselytizing performed by former members now belonging to evangelical or other Protestant churches. The letter accused the newcomers of damaging the churches’ relationship with the Muslim community by proselytizing, and demanded Контрагент MERA provide the names of adherents submitted by the new churches. Despite Shia cleric Muqtada al-Sadr’s decision to speak out in favor of the return of Jews in a June 2 response to a follower’s question, the member of the Jewish community said Jews continued to avoid publicly self-identifying for fear of violence. Although the sermons did not advocate for violence against the Jewish community, the community member expressed concern that more priests were including anti-Semitic rhetoric in their sermons, comparable to the anti-Semitic rhetoric often heard from some Muslims. One of the remaining members of the Jewish community in Baghdad described the prevalence of anti-Semitic rhetoric from both Muslim and Christian leaders.

Church leaders said the crackdown on the MOC by the Jharkhand government was a ploy to discredit the organization as part of the state government’s anti-Christian agenda. According to NGO sources, authorities reportedly denied three U.S. citizens entry under non-missionary visas due to concerns they intended to engage in missionary activity, although the U.S. citizens denied that this was their intention. On September 18, media reported a village council in Haryana passed a decree urging Muslim residents to adopt Hindu names, refrain from such actions as growing beards or wearing traditional skullcaps, and avoid praying in public. On December 15, police in Assam arrested two men who vandalized a Catholic church and a grotto in the village of Chapatoli. At the same time, according to HRW, some BJP officials publicly supported perpetrators of such crimes and made inflammatory speeches against minority communities, which encouraged further violence. In its World Report covering 2018, Human Rights Watch said the government failed to “prevent or credibly investigate” mob attacks on religious minorities, marginalized communities, and critics of the government.

According to officials at MAIA and members of the Shia community, MAIA did not monitor sermons or other activities at the husseiniyas or at private gatherings. Sunni imams could add content to the sermons but needed to ensure technical analysis tools the text adhered to the laws on political speech and avoided stoking sectarianism. The government continued to provide the full basic text for weekly sermons preached at Sunni mosques and to monitor these sermons.

Minority religious groups said they could worship in private spaces without government interference provided they did not disturb their neighbors or violate laws regarding assembly and proselytizing. Embassy officials met with religious leaders on multiple occasions to discuss their human rights and legal concerns, and held roundtables with religiously observant Muslims on employment and education discrimination. The embassy discussed the property issues of other religious groups with government officials on numerous occasions and urged officials to respect the country’s laws. The Ambassador and other U.S. embassy representatives met frequently with government officials, including the president, prime minister, assembly speaker, and other members of parliament to urge passage of legislation that would allow religious institutions to function without impediment. Religious leaders continued to participate in numerous interfaith discussions on property rights, legislative priorities, and local community issues. In March ethnic Croats reported the desecration of religious symbols in the Catholic church in Janjevo village. During the year, national police reported 86 cases targeting religious sites, primarily involving property damage and theft, up from 44 cases in 2017.


There is no option to perform alternative service; community service is imposed only in cases of a conscientious objector failing to pay the 18,000 som ($260) fee. Failure to pay by the age limit requires the person to perform 240 hours of community service or pay a fine of up to 20,000 som ($290). Violations of the law may result in fines of 1,000 som ($14), and deportation in the case of foreign missionaries. The law mandates separate prison facilities for prisoners convicted of terrorism and extremism, and it allows for stripping the citizenship of any Kyrgyz national found to have trained to acquire skills to commit terrorist or extremist crimes outside the country.

There continued to be societal pressure against conversion from Islam, according to minority religious leaders and citizens. Media coverage included news on events and celebrations held by various Christian denominations in the country such as Christmas Mass celebrations and church inauguration anniversaries attended by high-level government officials.

In October MRA officials said there were plans to identify indigenous faiths on KTPs cards; however, this would first require the legislature to revise the registration law, according to the ministry. As of year’s end, observers said it was unclear whether all registry offices throughout the country had the application systems that would allow indigenous believers to state beliefs other than the six recognized religions on their KTPs, in accordance with the 2017 Constitutional Court ruling. This resulted in a meeting with city officials and the FPI, Indonesian Ulema Council , FKUB, and Malay Culture Institute ; however, there were no representatives from the affected churches. Some houses of worship established before the joint ministerial decree on house of worship construction came into effect reportedly were still obligated to meet the requirements or face closure. Aliran kepercayaan adherents said they were fearful of atheism accusations were they to contest this treatment in court.

Public Activities

During the year, the government continued to raid makeshift mosques in remote areas and close them for operating without proper licenses. stock markets technical analysis The government tasked MAIA, MOI, the municipality of Kuwait, and other agencies with finding solutions to end the use of illegal mosques.

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In September the embassy hosted the Jordanian delegation to the summer Ministerial to Advance Religious Freedom in Washington, D.C. Baha’is continued to be included by other religious groups in interfaith conferences, religious celebrations, and World Interfaith Harmony Week in February, which included activities across the country and within the armed forces. The Royal Institute for Interfaith Studies, Royal Islamic Strategic Studies Center, Royal Aal al-Bayt Institute, работа трейдером на дому Jordanian Interfaith Coexistence Research Center , Community Ecumenical Center, and Catholic Center for Media Studies continued to sponsor initiatives promoting collaboration among religious groups. Some converts from Islam reported persistent and credible threats from family members concerned with protecting traditional honor. Some converts from Islam to Christianity reported they worshipped in secret because of the social stigma they faced as converts.

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In June 2017, the government “froze” a 2016 agreement with non-Orthodox Jewish groups that offered symbolic recognition to the Conservative and Reform Judaism movements in addition to upgrading the egalitarian prayer space. In response to an ongoing Supreme Court case from 2013 on the issue of prayer access at the Western Wall, the government stated in January it intended to upgrade the egalitarian prayer space.

Minority communities must bear the cost of translating the texts into Farsi so the authorities can review them. The MOE supervises the private schools operated by the recognized minority religious groups and imposes certain curriculum requirements. All school curricula, public and private, must include a course on Shia Islamic teachings, and all pupils must pass this course in order to advance to the next educational level through university. The Ministry of Culture and Islamic Guidance and the Ministry of Intelligence and Security monitor religious activity.

Media reported subsequently that the government ordered his center, which was registered under the Ministry of Commerce, be closed for one year. The law prohibits the naturalization of non-Muslims but allows male citizens of any religion to transmit citizenship to their descendants. Muslim marriage cases are heard in Sunni or Shia religious courts, depending on whether the marriage certificate is Sunni or Shia.

Section I Religious Demography

Matters of personal status in which the parties are Muslim fall within the exclusive jurisdiction of the sharia courts. Islamic religion is an optional subject for university entrance exams for non-Muslim students following the standard curriculum or for Muslim students following international curricula. In several cities, recognized Christian groups – including Baptists, Orthodox, Anglicans, and Roman Catholics – operate private schools and are able to conduct classes on Christianity. The Ministry of Education does not oversee religious courses if religious groups offer them at their places of worship. In order to operate a school, religious institutions must receive permission from the Ministry of Education, which ensures the curriculum meets national standards. The law forbids any Islamic cleric from issuing a fatwa unless officially authorized by an official committee headed by the grand mufti in the General Ifta’ Department.

  • Other minority leaders in the Ninewa Plain expressed hope that the Ministry of Interior would hire minorities to serve in local police forces to absorb and replace the minority militias in the region.
  • “We were able to fight off the bandits this time, but there’s no guarantee they won’t come back. We need to be prepared at all times.”
  • In September media reported a European Parliament committee voted to freeze more than $17 million in aid to the PA over incitement against Israel in its textbooks.
  • The most common “price tag” offenses, according to police, were attacks on vehicles, defacement of real estate, damage to Muslim and Christian holy sites, assault, and damage to agricultural lands.
  • According to a MOJ press release, the ministry granted refugee status, based on the UN Convention relating to the Status of Refugees and its protocol, to at least two applicants who had a well-founded fear of being persecuted for religious reasons.
  • In March the Kurdistan Human Rights Network reported authorities arrested Yarsani activist Seyyed Peyman Pedrood.

These laws, however, do not supersede national- and state-level legislation or constitutional provisions. Hindu, Christian, Parsi, Jewish, and Islamic personal status laws are legally recognized and judicially enforceable.

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Sharia governs all matters relating to family law involving Muslims or the children of a Muslim father. Members of nonregistered Christian groups, as well as members of groups registered as associations, may obtain marriage certificates from any recognized Christian denomination such as the Anglican Church, which they then may take to the Civil Status Bureau to receive their government marriage certificates. There is no legal provision for civil marriage or divorce for members of nonrecognized religious groups. Muslims are also subject to the jurisdiction of sharia courts on civil matters not addressed by civil status legislation. According to the constitution, sharia courts also exercise jurisdiction with respect to cases concerning “blood money” in which the two parties are Muslims or one of the parties is not a Muslim and the two parties consent to the jurisdiction of the sharia courts. Such courts exist for the Greek Orthodox, Roman Catholic, Melkite Catholic, Armenian Orthodox, Coptic, Syrian Orthodox, and Anglican communities. A personal or family status case in which one party is Muslim and the other is non-Muslim is heard by a civil court unless both parties agree to use a sharia court.

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Religious schools are not subject to any special restrictions; they do not receive special treatment from the government based on their religious or denominational affiliation. Churches also run some public schools; they receive funding from the government and must abide by Ministry of Education, Youth, and Information rules. The law requires school administrators to adhere to several practices regarding the teaching of religion. A law criminalizing Obeah and Myalism, religious practices with West African influences, remains in effect. Other religious groups constitute 8 percent of the population, including approximately 29,000 Rastafarians, 5,000 members of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, 1,500 Muslims , 1,800 Hindus, 500 Jews, and 270 Baha’is. Embassy officials promoted religious tolerance through official remarks, press releases, social media venues, and public engagements.

Kyrgyz Republic

In June media reported the Barkan kosher winery had removed workers of Ethiopian descent from their positions in the production of wine after the NGO Badatz Eda Haredit expressed doubt that Ethiopian-Israelis were Jewish. Tzohar’s decision followed a September 2017 Supreme Court ruling allowing a business to display “a true presentation regarding the standards it observes and the manner of supervising their observance,” but without using the word “kashrut,” which the court affirmed only the Chief Rabbinate had authority to determine. On February 6, Tzohar, a network of Zionist Orthodox rabbis, announced it was opening a nongovernmental certification authority for businesses adhering to Jewish dietary laws.

The majority of the Muslim population belongs to the Hanafi Sunni school, although some are part of the Sufi Tarikat community. Police initiated a disciplinary procedure against the officers in charge of security for the religious services, suspending one lieutenant for 48 hours. Police arrested five ethnic Albanians for disturbing public order and three ethnic Albanian minors for causing damage to the buses. The Kosovo Islamic Community continued to report social and employment discrimination against devout Muslims, работа трейдером на дому particularly in the public sector. On March 23, a Pristina Basic Court panel acquitted Shefqet Krasniqi of a February 2017 indictment by Kosovo’s Special Prosecution on charges of incitement for terrorism, incitement to religious hatred, and tax evasion. The embassy utilized social media to promote religious plurality and tolerance, such as posts highlighting diverse religious traditions. The Ministry of Women, Youth, and Social Affairs reported receiving no complaints from other groups regarding the tradition.

The press reported examples of anti-Semitic graffiti and posters, including depictions of swastikas on walls, anti-Semitic stereotypes, and praise of neo-Nazi groups in cities such as Rome, Milan, and Pisa. Contrary to previous years, the government did not issue statistics on religiously motivated incidents. Conference participants agreed to strengthen their efforts to combat anti-Semitism throughout the continent through government-led public information campaigns, interfaith dialogue, and greater security measures for Jewish communities. In January it hosted a conference on combating anti-Semitism that brought together representatives from government, civil society, and religious communities from across Europe.

By law, members of one religious group may submit a personal status dispute to a different religious group for adjudication if the disputants agree it is appropriate to do so. Recognized religious groups may establish ecclesiastical courts to issue legally binding rulings on personal status and some property matters for members of their religious communities. The Basic Law also proscribes discrimination based on religion and stipulates all citizens are equal before the law. It provides for freedom of belief, worship, and the performance of religious rites unless they violate public order or morality. area H1 under PA control and area H2, where approximately 800 Israeli settlers live and where internal security, public order and civil authorities relating to Israelis and their property are under Israeli military control. Palestinians in the West Bank are subject to Jordanian and Mandatory statutes in effect before 1967, military ordnances enacted by the Israeli Military Commander in the West Bank in accordance with its authorities under international law, and in the relevant areas, PA law. U.S. officials met with political, religious, and civil society leaders to promote interreligious tolerance and cooperation.

Section Iii Status Of Societal Respect For Religious Freedom

According to press reports, on August 4, a demonstration in Tel Aviv comprised of approximately 90,000 members of the Druze community and Jewish supporters protested the law. The law called for promoting “Jewish settlement,” which non-Jewish organizations and leaders said they feared would lead to increased discrimination in housing and land issues. Authorities designated the platform for members of the Conservative and Reform movements of Judaism, including for religious ceremonies such as bar and bat mitzvahs. In response, the government stated that large numbers of Israeli police, ushers, and security personnel maintained order on occasions when Women of the Wall prayed there.

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