Highlights of Persecution Report

New York Times,

September 9, 1999

Highlights of Persecution Report

Filed at 5:20 p.m. EDT

By The Associated Press

Highlights from the report:

--Iraq: "Saddam Hussein has for decades conducted a brutal campaign of murder, summary execution and protracted arbitrary detention against the religious leaders and adherents of the Shiite Muslim population."

--Afghanistan: Shiite Muslims suffered persecution and killing at the hands of the Taliban-led government in Kabul. Afghan police also impose "severe physical punishment and imprisonment" for deviations from codes of worship and dress.

--Iran: The government is intent on eradicating the Baha'is through prolonged detention and imprisonment, confiscation and desecration of holy places and graveyards.

--Pakistan: Discriminatory legislation has encouraged an atmosphere of "religious intolerance, which has led to acts of violence by extremists against members of religious minorities, including Christians, Hindus, Ahmadis and Zikris."

--Saudi Arabia: There were instances of arbitrary detention of members of the Shiite sect. Non-Muslims are required to worship privately and any attempt to convert a Muslim to another faith is subject to criminal prosecution.

--Sudan: The ongoing civil war provided the basis for severe persecution of Christians and of Muslims who deviate from officially approved practices. Punishment can include "killing, prolonged arbitrary detention or imprisonment, threats, violence and forced conversion to Islam."

--Serbia: Hundreds of thousands of Muslims in Kosovo province were killed or forced from their homes by the country's security forces, dominated by Orthodox Christians.

--Burma: Security forces destroyed or looted churches and mosques, mostly in areas where anti-government rebels are active. Also, the government continued to systematically arrest and imprison Buddhist monks who promoted political and human rights.

--Israel: The country's 20 percent Arab population does not receive the same quality of education, housing, employment opportunities and social services as Jews. In addition, "government spending and financial support are proportionally far lower in predominantly non-Jewish areas than in Jewish areas."

--Turkey: The government has imposed some restrictions on religious minorities and religious expression in government offices and state-run universities. Turkey's "military and judiciary, with the support of the country's secular elite, continued to wage a private and public campaign against Islamic fundamentalism, which they view as a threat to the secular republic."

--Cuba: The government monitors and and controls religious institutions, including surveillance, infiltration and harassment of clergy and members, evictions from and confiscations of places of worship and preventive detention of religious activists.

--Vietnam: The government uses a registration process to control and monitor religious activity, severely restricting any practice by groups other than officially sanctioned organizations.

--Nepal: Conversion and proselytizing are constitutionally prohibited and punishable by fines or imprisonment or, in the case of foreigners, expulsion from the country.

©Copyright 1999, New York Times
Original Story

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