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Religious change, conflict and/or intolerance

News items during 2007-August

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We also have a list of religious tolerance & information news for this month.
Sad to say, these are usually much shorter lists.

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Events:

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2007-AUG-02: Egypt: Convert from Islam to Christianity seeks legal change:  Mohammed Ahmed Higazi converted from Islam to Coptic Christianity at the age of 16. He is now 25, and his wife is pregnant. He wants to have his religion officially on his identity card changed so that his son would be born Christian. He would have attempted to change his records earlier except that there were many hurdles preventing the action. This is believed to be the first such case in Egypt. He is represented by the Kalima Center, a Coptic rights group.

Grand Mufti Ali Gomaa, who is Egypt's top Muslim religious advisor, reaffirmed that Muslims can choose to change their own religion, although apostasy would still amount to a "grave sin." from the Muslim perspective.

A second case involving 12 former Christians who converted to Islam and are now trying to revert to Christianity will be heard by Egypt's supreme administrative court in September. 1

bullet2007-AUG-09: Greece: Protest against the persecution of Falun Gong: The Global Human Rights Torch Relay was launched at Syntagma Square, in front of the Hellenic Parliament buildings in Athens, Greece. Representatives of the Coalition to Investigate the Persecution of Falun Gong (CIPFG) from four delegations in Europe, Asia, North America and Australasia and other supporters from various organizations were present to observe the launch at the birthplace of the Olympic movement. During the next 12 months, the torch will travel through 100 cities around the world. According to CIPFG:

"Its purpose is to call on the international community to focus on brutal violations of human rights and the Olympics spirit by the Chinese Communist regime, in order to stop such crimes and not let the 2008 Olympic Games that symbolizes peace and freedom of humanity become the 'Bloody Harvest Games'."

bullet2007-AUG-10: TX: Child dragged behind vehicle at Christian boot camp: The director and one employee of Love Demonstrated Ministries -- a conservative Christian 32 day boot camp -- were arrested and charged with aggravated assault for allegedly tying a 15-year-old girl to a van with a rope. She allegedly fell repeatedly while trying to keep up to the vehicle and was dragged. She was allegedly being punished for falling behind during a run. A cook at the camp reported the abuse and was fired.

TV station KRIS reported that parents of children at the boot camp had to sign a release stating:

"I realize that Christian boot camp is a strenuous and highly intense program. I further realize that the possibility of accident, injury or even fatality to my child does exist."

District Attorney Carlos Valdez said:

"I just couldn't believe that anybody would sign something like this... Your child may be killed at this boot camp, and the parent signs it anyway." 5

bullet2007-AUG-22: TX: Texas executes 400th person since 1982: Johnny Ray Connor was executed for the murder of a grocery clerk during a failed robbery in 1998. He was the 400th person to be executed by the state since Texas resumed capital punishment in 1982. About 17 opponents of the death penalty gathered in Houston to protest the execution. Hooman Hedayati, of Texas Students Against the Death Penalty said: "It's the 400th execution in Texas. That's really important because it shows how Texas executes people. It needs to stop. It's a barbaric practice." 3
bullet2007-AUG-20: Tibet: Chinese occupation forbids Buddhist monks from reincarnating: Newsweek describes this as "one of history's more absurd acts of totalitarianism." Chin has banned Buddhist monks in Tibet from reincarnating without government permission. The new law goes into effect in October. The State Administration for Religious Affairs describes the new regulation as "an important move to institutionalize management of reincarnation." Paul Harrison, a Buddhism scholar at Stanford University said:

"It will be a very hot issue. The Dalai Lama has been the prime symbol of unity and national identity in Tibet, and so it's quite likely the battle for his incarnation will be a lot more important than the others." 4

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Links to religious news sources:

bulletLinks to general religious, conservative Christian, other Christian, and non-Christian news sources is available elsewhere on this web site.

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References used:

The following information sources were used to prepare and update the above essay. The hyperlinks are not necessarily still active today.

  1. "Christian convert seeks recognition in Egypt," Middle East Times, 2007-AUG-02, at: http://www.metimes.com/
  2. "Athens, Greece: Human Rights Torch Lighted To End the Persecution." Email from CIPFG, 2007-AUG-12.
  3. Rosanna Ruiz, "Texas executes 400th person since 1982," Knight Ridder Tribune, 2007-AUG-23, at: http://www.romingerlegal.com/
  4. "BeliefWatch: Reincarnate," Newsweek, 2007-AUG-20, at: http://www.msnbc.msn.com/
  5. "Christian Boot Camp Officials Accused of Dragging Teen Behind Van," Associated Press, 2007-AUG-11, at: http://www.foxnews.com/

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Copyright © 2007 by Ontario Consultants on Religious Tolerance
Originally written: 2007-AUG-04
Latest update: 2007-SEP-19
Author: B.A. Robinson

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