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NEWS OF RELIGIOUS INTOLERANCE & CONFLICT

2000-MARCH

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We also have a list of religious tolerance news items for this month.

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bullet2000-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.
bullet2000-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.  
bullet2000-MAR-6: Russia: Religious oppression: According to Newsroom: 2
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."
bulletMAR-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 others.
bulletMAR-8: Canada: Cathedral vandalized. According to ZENIT.org: 8
"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.
bulletMAR-17: Uganda: Mass murder of cult members: According to many sources:
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.
bulletMAR-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 Kaduna.

bulletMAR-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

bulletMAR-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.

bulletMAR-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 religion.' 

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 village (their
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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References:

  1. DayWatch is a daily service of Maranatha Christian Journal. It provides "a daily summary of news headlines with a Christian perspective..." The newsletter is free on request. Their web site is at: http://www.mcjonline.com 
  2. Newsroom is a service of Worldwide Newsroom Inc. Their articles are written by "a network of journalists, scholars and other professional contacts in country." You can subscribe to their free service from their website at http://www.newsroom.org/ 
  3. ReligionToday provides free newslatters to which you can subscribe at: http://www.ReligionToday.com. These summaries are part of GOSHEN.net, which also includes LiveIt.net, Devotionals.net, ChristianShareware.net, ChristianClassifieds.net, ChristianMessageBoards.net, BibleStudyTools.net, MediaManagement.net, WorldNewsToday.net, WebCastGuide.net, and ChristianCollegeGuide.net
  4. Reuters is "the world's leading financial information and news group. Their web page is at: http://www.reuters.com/ 
  5. Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR): E-mail: cair1@ix.netcom.com
    URL: http://www.cair-net.org To join CAIR-NET, CAIR's read-only mailing list: Send subscribe cair-net in the body of a message to majordomo@cair-net.org
  6. EWTN News carries Roman Catholic news from Catholic World News, Vatican Information Service, ZENIT, CWNews.com. See: http://www.ewtn.com/news/ 
  7. Ecumenical News International (ENI) in Geneva Switzerland distributes news free religious news highlights to subscribers. They can be contacted at PO Box 2100, CH - 1211, Geneva 2, Switzerland. Telephone: (41-22) 791 6087/6515. Fax: (41-22) 788 7244 Email: eni@eni.ch. Their web site is at http://www.eni.ch 
  8. ZENIT.org is "an International News Agency based in Rome. Our mission is to provide objective and professional coverage of events, documents and issues emanating from or concerning the Catholic Church for a worldwide audience, especially the media." Their web site is at: http://www.zenit.org/english/ 
  9. Anglican Communion News Service provides information from an Anglican perspective. See: http://www.anglicancommunion.org/acns/index.html 

Copyright 2000
Originally written: 2000-MAR-1
Latest update: 2000-APR-28
Author: B.A. Robinson

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