India Among Top Five Countries Where Religious Freedom at Risk: Report
In the period under review of the report, the situation for minority faith groups deteriorated in 18 of the 38 countries.
A Catholic NGO has ranked India among the top five countries where religious freedom is at risk.
The report by NGO “Aid To The Church in Need’ said, “In the period under review, the situation for minority faith groups deteriorated in 18 of the 38 countries – almost half – found to have significant religious freedom violation. Especially serious decline was noted in China and India.”
The report went on to add that that “ultra-nationalism” by both the government and non-state actors has caused a spike in hatred against faith minorities in countries including leading regional powers such as India, China, Pakistan and Burma (Myanmar).
According to the report, there has been a failure in many governments’ actions to properly aid minority groups that have been affected by extremism.
The report, produced every two years, shows that the main driver behind the growth in extremism comes from the growing clash between Sunni and Shi’a, the main sects in Islam.
There has been a rapid and unexpected resettlement of some minority faith groups in parts of the Middle East formerly occupied by Daesh (ISIS) and other hyper-extremist groups in the recent time indicating the worsening situation, the report added.
Intolerance toward religious minorities is worsening in many countries, and two new countries were added to the list for the first time in 19 years—Russia and Kyrgyzstan – who were placed in the “discrimination” category. The report said that authoritarian regimes too were responsible for the lack of religious freedom.
The report has highlighted the growth of terrorism in the West. “Such terrorism striking at the heart of liberal democracies means that the threat can be called ‘neighborhood terrorism,’ in the eyes of Western governments and the media, religious freedom is slipping down the human rights priority rankings, being eclipsed by issues of gender, sexuality, and race.” The report, however, also adds that “the danger from such terrorists is ‘universal, imminent and ever-present.’”
The report criticized Western governments saying, “Most Western governments have failed to provide urgently needed assistance to minority faith groups, especially displaced communities wanting to return home.”
Marc Fromager, in an essay called “Not Only A Religious Issue” said, “Two recent crises help illustrate the complexity of such situations, namely the war in Syria and the exodus of the Rohingyas. Generally portrayed as a civil war, the Syrian crisis entails an international geopolitical dimension (Saudi-Iranian conflict and then Russian-American confrontation), an economic component (Qatari gas and Syrian oil) and a religious element (hostile fighting between Sunnis and Shias against the backdrop of the expulsion of religious minorities).”