Myanmar Leader Rejects Genocide Charge

Myanmar leader Aung San Suu Kyi, photo by Claude Truong-Ngoc CC

Myanmar leader Aung San Suu Kyi,
photo by Claude Truong-Ngoc CC

A 2017 crackdown in Myanmar against the country’s Rohingya Muslim minority allegedly included mass killings, rapes and arson and resulted in some 700,000 Muslims fleeing to Bangladesh. Myanmar leader Aung San Suu Kyi, speaking before the International Court of Justice in The Hague, said accusations of genocide against her country’s military were “incomplete and misleading.” She said the military were responding to Rohingya terrorist attacks against police stations. On the first day of the hearing, the United States levied sanctions against four Myanmar military leaders. Suu Kyi – a Nobel Peace Prize laureate – had been imprisoned by the same military she is now defending.

Fairness for All Bill Strikes Right Balance?
Washington Examiner columnist Brad Polumbo explores the nuances of the Fairness for All Act (FFA) as a compromise between the competing LGBTQ and religious liberty interests. He cautions that without FFA acceptance, religious liberty may be at risk under the so-called “Equality Act.” And a segment from NPR acknowledges that the bill has both opposition and support from left and right. The bill’s sponsor, Congressman Chris Stewart, a Utah Republican, says he does not yet have any Democratic cosponsors for the FFA.

Jehovah’s Witness Jailed for “Extremism”
Since 2017, Russia has banned Jehovah’s Witnesses from practicing their faith, despite international condemnation of the Soviet-style repression. Vladimir Alushkin, 55 was recently sentenced by a Penza court to six years in prison for continuing to run a Jehovah’s Witness organization which is outlawed as an “extremist organization” in Russia. Another report alleges that evangelical Christian churches are also now being shut down under the pretense of building code and fire safety violations.

Quebec Religious Symbols Law Harmful but Continues
Hijab image by Bon Bon from PixabayA law passed in Quebec last June that prohibits public employees from wearing religious symbols has been upheld by an appeals court, even while acknowledging that it “abandons” Muslim women who wear hijabs. Among others, the law affects teachers, prison guards and police officers. The ruling means the law will not be suspended before it is reviewed next year.

India’s Citizenship Bill Excludes Muslims
India’s Constitution prohibits religious discrimination against its citizens and until recently, illegal immigrants were barred from citizenship. However, a new bill would allow immigrants – who are Hindu, Sikh, Buddhist, Jain, Parsi and Christian and who fled Pakistan, Afghanistan or Bangladesh before 2015 – to obtain Indian citizenship after six years. The bill has opposition from Indians on the border with Bangladesh who fear they will be overrun by immigrants, and by Muslims who are excluded from citizenship under the new measure, as well as by those who say it will make religion a condition of citizenship, contrary to the secular guarantees of the Constitution.

Mennonites in Mexico
Mennonite girl selling apples in Chihuahua photo by Arely Flo CCSome 100,000 Mennonites live in the northern Mexico state of Chihuahua, descendants of emigrants from Canada 100 years ago. To counter drug-cartel violence which included 3,ooo murders in 2018, they have started a Christmas holiday “Parade of Lights,” to include local residents. Mennonites ordinarily live separate from the society, follow their own customs, are pacifists and are one of the historical peace churches.

Poll of Catholic Voters Reveals….
Catholic voting preferences in past election years have closely mirrored the American vote as a whole, and so could help predict the 2020 elections. A recent poll of Catholic voters showed that Democratic challengers scored higher approvals than President Trump, but a majority of Catholics over 55 approve of Trump’s job performance (55%).

California Subpoenas Catholic Dioceses
California Attorney General Xavier BecerraCalifornia Attorney General Xavier Becerra has subpoenaed the archdioceses of San Francisco and Los Angeles and the dioceses of San Jose, Sacramento, Fresno and Orange. The subpoenas will enable investigators to obtain records of child abuse and molestations that may contain medical and other confidential information.

Vatican Loses in Deal with China?
A long-awaited deal between the Holy See and the Chinese Communist government was inked in 2018 to try and reconcile the Communist-approved Catholic churches that rejected Vatican authority and the underground churches that paid homage to the Holy See. But the agreement is looking like a win for the Communists, when Bishop John Fang Xingyao said recently: “Love for the homeland must be greater than love for the Church.”

New Jersey Would Remove Religious Exemption for Vaccinations
A New Jersey bill would remove religious exemption from mandatory school vaccinations, citing 19 measles cases in the state and a need to protect the population from contagious diseases. Democrats on the Health Panel were supportive, Republicans opposed. Some religious residents said they would remove their children from school if the measure passed.