RELIGIOUS INTOLERANCE & CONFLICT
We also have a list of religious tolerance news
items for this month.
||2000-MAR-1: Iran: Morality police crack down: According to
ReligionToday: 3 "Religion police are
cracking down in Iran in a backlash against last week's elections.
Squads of police are searching apartments for satellite receivers,
forbidden in the Islamic nation to protect against foreign cultural
influences, Reuters said, and are removing men and women from shops
and restaurants who violate dress codes or socialize with the opposite
sex. Most of the raids are happening in northern Tehran."
||2000-MAR-7: USA: Presidential primaries: Senator John McCain, Republican presidential
candidate, had made allegations that
front-runner Texas Governor George W. Bush had tied himself to leaders
of the Religious Right who peddle intolerance and division. The attack
seems to have backfired. On MAR-7, called "Super Tuesday,"
presidential primaries were conducted in some very important states
(CA, OH, NY, etc). Most people interviewed in exit polls who said that
they were influenced by McCain's comments voted for Bush. McCain has
the support of few delegates, compared to Governor Bush, and is
expected to withdraw.
||2000-MAR-6: Russia: Religious oppression: According to
The justice administration of Belgorod, a region in Southern
Russia, has continued to reject the registration of the Roman Catholic
parish. Their church building has been turned over to the Orthodox
diocese. Metropolitan Ioann Popov of the Orthodox church has demanded
that a Catholic parish be forbidden. According to a regional
official there are "only a few religious minorities, and they
will become ever fewer -- there is no room here for non-traditional
religions." The U.S. State Department's most recent Country
Reports on Human Rights Practices reported that "there are
numerous reports that religious organizations either were denied
registration or experienced long delays in re-registration, as local
authorities sought to obstruct the activities of religious groups."
||MAR-8: USA/Canada: Hatred in a cartoon: The King
Features Syndicate released a Six Chix cartoon for MAR-8.
It portrayed two female witches talking in front of a display of
genetically engineered apples in a grocery store. They were drawn in
black dresses with tall hats and long noses -- one with a prominent
wart. One said to the other: "What are we supposed to do with
these, further poison them?" The cartoon propagates the lie
that witches attempt to hurt or kill people by poisoning their food.
Witches, generally called Wiccans in North
America, are prohibited by the Wiccan Rede of behavior from harming
||MAR-8: Canada: Cathedral vandalized. According to
"On International Day of the Woman, March 8, a group of
feminist activists vandalized the Montreal Cathedral. The group, part
of a crowd of activists demonstrating in the city, rushed into the
church shouting anti-Catholic and anti-religious slogans, according to
eye-witnesses." Among the more serious examples of vandalism,
they painted slogans on the altar, overturned flowers, tore hymnals
and stole two altar cloths. Seven people, both men and women, were arrested and charged with
unlawful assembly. The police explained that they did not charge the
women under a hate crime law because: "the elements were not
there for charges of that kind."
||MAR-17: Uganda: Mass murder of cult members: According to
As many as 500 members of a Christian doomsday cult in Uganda, the
"Movement for the Restoration of the Ten Commandments of God"
died in an intentionally-set fire that gutted their church in Kanungu,
Uganda. Earlier reports had estimated the death toll at 235 to 470.
Almost all were burned beyond recognition. Thus, the total number of
the dead will never be known. The press originally described the
tragedy as a mass murder. More recent information indicates that it
was probably a mass murder. More details.
||MAR-19: Nigeria: Violence continues. According to ACNS: 9
The city and state of Kaduna have been embroiled in communal violence since
21st February. Much of the infrastructure of the city of Kaduna has been destroyed;
churches, mosques, homes and businesses have been burnt. 80,000 people have
been made homeless, and hundreds have been killed. "Our people are being
shot, butchered and roasted", said Bishop Josiah Fearon, Bishop of
||MAR-27: Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia: Anti-Protestant
feelings. According to ENI: 7
On 15 December last year, Boris Trajkovski, a Methodist lay preacher
from the centre-right Democratic Party for Macedonian National Unity,
became the first Protestant president of the small Balkan republic
officially known as the Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia (FYROM).
Less than 1 per cent of the republic's 2 million citizens are
Protestant (66 per cent of the population are Orthodox, 30 per cent
Muslim, and 2 per cent Roman Catholic), but Trajkovski's rise to
prominence has prompted such deep resentment among some sectors of the
population that anti-Protestant graffiti has appeared on buildings in
the capital, Skopje, and a Methodist church in a suburb of the city
has been stoned on several occasions
||MAR-28: USA: Anti-Catholic vandalism: According to Maranatha
Christian News Service:
Roman Catholic churches in New York City are on the lookout for
vandals after a spate of attacks have left sacred statues smashed
and marred...Eleven Brooklyn Roman Catholic churches have been
struck in the past six months, raising concerns among parishioners
and police..."It certainly is an attack on the Catholic
religion," New York Police Deputy Inspector Barbara
Sicilia told the Bergen County Record. "It's all religious
statues of some sort. Whether it's Christ, the Blessed Mother, or
Pope Pius, it's anti-religion in nature." Vandals also
left a note on a statue of Pope John Paul II calling the pontiff
"Satan who deceived the earth.
||MAR-31: Vietnam: oppression of Buddhists: According to
the U.S. Commission on International Religious Freedom:
The Commission "condemned the government of Vietnam's actions
in preventing Hoa Hao Buddhists from freely assembling to commemorate
one of the holiest days of their calendar.
'Such interference by the authorities with a peaceful religious
group's celebration of one of its holy days is totally unwarranted and
a violation of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights,' said Rabbi
David Saperstein, the Commission's chairman. 'It's past time for the
Hanoi government to respect its own constitution, fulfill its
international obligations, and stop such repression of
Some of the 2 million to 4 million Hoa Hao Buddhist practitioners
tried to assemble March 29 and 30 on their 'sacred ground' in Hoa Hao
founder's birthplace), in Chau Doc Province in the Mekong Delta.
Vietnamese authorities, however, forcibly prevented any of the
faithful from entering the grounds. According to reliable reports
reaching the Commission, key leaders were arrested or their houses
were surrounded by police. Other devotees were threatened or detained
on their way to the site. Eventually only about 1,000 people made it
to Hoa Hao village, where a phalanx of police met them."
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Copyright © 2000
Originally written: 2000-MAR-1
Latest update: 2000-APR-28
Author: B.A. Robinson