Christians disappointed with religious freedom commission

By May 18, 2006

USA (MNN/CD) — Christians weary of a multifaceted, state-backed assault on them were disappointed by the U.S. Commission on International Religious Freedom (USCIRF) failure to include India in its 2006 recommendations as a Country of Particular Concern (CPC)

The USCIRF recommended the U.S. State Department keep India off the CPC list even though “concerns about religious freedom in India remain, particularly indications that attacks on Christian churches and individuals persist — in some areas at alarmingly high levels — without adequate prosecution.”

President of Open Doors, USA, Carl Moeller says the US is being hypocritical. “We’re trying to promote reform in countries that we’re against, but in our friends we just turn a blind eye to it and I just feel that’s inconsistent and I know that our brothers and sisters in India and all those that have been monitoring the situation are somewhat disappointed that we didn’t take the opportunity in 2006 to create this additional pressure on India to make changes.”

In a May 3 letter to U.S. Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice, the commission noted that the state of Rajasthan, led by the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP), has been the scene of recent, serious attacks on Christian individuals and institutions by members of extremist groups espousing Hindu nationalism.

Rajasthan is where radical Hindus pulled the licenses and froze bank accounts of Hopegivers International and arrested key leaders, claiming they printed a comparative religions book that criticized two Hindu deities. The leaders are free on bail, but still face court hearing on communal disharmony charges.

All India Christian Council leaders suggest at least 75 incidents of anti-Christian attacks so far this year. Moeller tells us what’s driving these incidents. “Recognizing that 80-some percent of India is Hindu, these nationalists feel that, that’s what makes India, India. And of course, we know Christianity has a 2,000 year history in India and has every human right to exists and be the church.”

Anti-conversion laws have been passed by a handful of states in India. A few of them have even sponsored re-conversion programs — programs designed to convert Christians back to Hinduism, hypocritical of their own law.

Hundreds of thousands of people in India are turning to Christ each year, many from the untouchable caste, which angers many Hindus.

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