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We also have a list of religious tolerance news for this month. 
Sad to say, these are usually much shorter lists.

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bullet2004-APR-12: Virginia: Preacher dies after handling rattlesnake: The Rev. Dwayne Long, 45, died one day after his Easter Sunday service when he was bitten on the finger by a rattlesnake that he was handling. He refused medical treatment, so his death was a near certainty. Members of his church believe that serpent-handling is a form of obedience to God. They interpret the words of the Gospel of Mark (16:17-18) literally. It identifies the "taking up of serpents" as one of five signs that identify true believers. This belief is found in may Pentecostal congregations throughout Appalachia. It causes about one fatality a year in that region. 11
bullet2004-APR-14: Uzbekistan: Jehovah's Witness found guilty even though provably innocent: Forum 18 reported: "Even though it has been proved that a Jehovah's Witness was not teaching his faith without registration, and so not breaking the law, an Uzbek criminal court has found him guilty of this, Forum 18 News Service has learnt. Uzbekistan bans all religious teaching by unregistered religious organizations or private individuals. The persecution of Jehovah's Witnesses, along with all other religious groups, continues in Uzbekistan and is compounded by the authorities lack of knowledge of faiths. For example, a deputy public prosecutor has told a Jehovah's Witness that reading their literature causes people either to become a 'Wahhabi' (a term widely and loosely used in Central Asia for Islamic extremists), or to become a terrorist. The same prosecutor also
claimed that Jehovah's Witnesses hypnotize people.
" 12
bullet2004-APR-19: Armenia: Continuing violations over conscientious objectors: With 24 Jehovah's Witnesses in prison for refusing military service on grounds of conscience, another fined and a further three awaiting trial, Council of Europe officials have been unable to explain to Forum 18 News Service what punishment Armenia faces - if any - for violating its commitments to the organization. The commitments required Armenia to have freed all imprisoned conscientious objectors and introduced alternative service by January 2004, but it failed on both counts. One outsider involved in the issue at the Council of Europe, who preferred not to be identified, told Forum 18 that the Armenian government had deployed 'an especially successful lobbying campaign' to have the issue buried. The Jehovah's Witnesses, one of Armenia's largest religious minorities, appear no nearer to receiving state registration. 13
bullet2004-APR-22: Afghanistan: When the fundamentalist Muslim Taliban came to power in 1996, they banned all television broadcasts in the country. The Feminist Majority Foundation reports that the provincial government of the Southeastern province declared that female entertainers are un-Islamic. They ordered state-run television in Jalalabad to stop broadcasting performances Afghan women singer’s performances. Earlier this year, Afghanistan's new constitution endorsed equal rights for women and men. 14
bullet2004-APR-15: Zanzibar: Their parliament recently passed a law outlawing homosexual behavior. If, as expected, the president signs the bill into law, couples in same-sex relationships will face penalties of up to 25 years in prison. Zanzibar is located in East Africa whose citizens are mainly Muslim. 15
bullet2004-APR-26: Uzbekistan: Problems experienced by religious groups: Forum 18 news service reports: "As hundreds of religious communities are denied state registration by bureaucratic obstruction, there are hopes that a court ruling will help force officials to issue documents needed for registration. Without registration, all religious activity is banned, and harsh penalties are imposed for worshiping without registration. On 22 April, the Fergana regional civil court upheld an appeal by local human rights activist Mutobar Tajibayeva against the local administration, which has refused for three years to issue a 'letter of guarantee' needed by a local mosque to get registration. However, the justice administration might still find pretexts to block the registration. Local human rights activists seem intent on using the ruling to help dozens of other Fergana mosques get registration. 'We were waiting to see if [human rights activist] Tajibayeva would win her case, and now we are going to lobby for registration in the same way as she did,' one activist told Forum 18 News Service." 16

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  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. ReligionToday™ provides free newsletters 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
  3. Reuters is "the world's leading financial information and news group. Their web page is at: http://www.reuters.com/ 
  4. 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
  5. EWTN News carries Roman Catholic news from Catholic World News, Vatican Information Service, ZENIT, CWNews.com. See: http://www.ewtn.com/news/ 
  6. 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 
  7. 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/ 
  8. Anglican Communion News Service provides information from an Anglican perspective. See: http://www.anglicancommunion.org/acns/index.html A companion Episcopal News Service is at: http://www.ecusa.anglican.org/ens/ 
  9. AANEWS is distributed by American Atheists.
  10. CNSNews.com -- Cybercast News Service -- is a conservative news source. Their home page is at: http://www.cnsnews.com
  11. Lawrence Hammack, "For snake handlers, going to church can prove deadly," Roanoke Times, 2004-APR-18.
  12. From the forum 18 web site at: http://www.forum18.org/
  13. "Armenia" Council of Europe fails to punish commitment violations over imprisoned conscientious objectors," Forum 18. See: http://www.forum18.org/
  14. "Female Performers Banned From Television and Radio in Afghanistan," Feminist Daily News Wire, 2004-APR-22, at: http://www.feminist.org/
  15. "Law Outlawing Homosexuality Passed in Zanzibar," Feminist Daily News Wire, 2004-APR-22, at: http://www.feminist.org/
  16. "Uzbekistan: New hope for religious communities to get state registration?" Forum 18 News Service, 2004-APR-26..

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Copyright © 2004 by Ontario Consultants on Religious Tolerance
Originally written: 2004-APR-14
Latest update: 2004-APR-24
Author: B.A. Robinson

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