FARMS supports Christians as India’s anti-conversion laws ramp up

By May 13, 2024
stock photo, India, Unsplash, man, sunlight,

India (MNN) — The U. S. Commission on International Religious Freedom (USCIRF) has recommended that India be designated as a Country of Particular Concern (CPC). Its 2024 Annual Report released May 1, 2024 recommends adding five new countries to the 17 already on the CPC list. 

But the pushback from India against this designation has been swift and sharp. A spokesperson for the nation’s Ministry of External Affairs referred to the report as “propaganda,” and called USCIRF “a biased organization with a political agenda.” 

So what is going on? Tim Landis with FARMS International says there has been a “ramping up of new anti-conversion laws.” 

stock photo, Unsplash, woman, India, Hindu

India’s population is nearly 80% Hindu, 14% Muslim and 2% Christian. (Source: CIA Factbook) Photo courtesy of Ron Hansen/Unsplash.

Twelve states in India criminalize changing your religion, under certain circumstances. There are also concerns that India’s current government will make all of India a nationalist Hindu state. We’ll see who is in office after the general election results come in June. (More on the ongoing election here.)

For now, incidents of mob violence against Christians are on the rise, and FARMS is feeling it. One of their local partners had to move his family due to threats in their home area. 

“Church, believers, and families were persecuted, false accusations of saying that the businesses were giving people loans and beneficiaries loans to convert to Christianity, which is not the truth. It’s not even how FARMS operates,” Landis says. 

FARMS offers interest-free loans to Christians to help them work their way out of poverty. It doesn’t touch on conversion. Until recently, their work in India has not been under much threat.

“[Our partner] has had very good connections within the government, but that is starting to deteriorate, as the government kind of keeps pressing on these [anti-conversion] laws,” Landis says. 

Pray against the fear Christians are facing of losing their crops, livelihoods or lives to community attacks spurred on by anti-conversion laws.

Learn more here about how you can come alongside Christians around the world with FARMS International.



Header image is a representative stock photo of India courtesy of Akshat Vats/Unsplash.

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