Barnabas Briefs: Lanka, Brunei, Zanzibar & Bangladesh

March 4, 2014 by  
Filed under newsletter-asia

CHRISTIAN PUPIL PUNISHED FOR REFUSING TO TAKE PART IN BUDDHIST RITUAL AT SCHOOL

sri lanka christianSri lanka, February 17, 2014: A six-year-old Christian pupil was punished by her head teacher for refusing to take part in a Buddhist ritual at school.

The head teacher demanded on 17 February that all Christian children observe sil or else leave the school. The following day, all Christian parents were requested to join in as well.

The school was in breach of both Sri Lankan law and the country’s constitution, which state that no child can be forced to observe the activities of other religions.

 

TWO ZANZIBAR CHURCHES TARGETED IN BOMBINGS

tanzania christiansTanzania, February 24, 2014: Two churches and a popular tourist restaurant in Stone Town, Zanzibar, were targeted in bombings this week.

On Monday (24 February), explosives were detonated at the main entrance of the historic Christ Church Anglican Cathedral. The blast caused damage to a wall and vehicles parked outside the building, including the bishop’s car, but nobody was injured. The cathedral normally hosts a nursery school, but it had been transferred to a different location because of construction work; the children might otherwise have been caught up in the blast, as it happened at around 1pm, when they leave.

The previous day, an Evangelistic Assemblies of God Tanzania church was bombed as the Sunday service was coming to a close. The explosion shook the building and alarmed the congregation, but they escaped unharmed.

Mercury’s, a seafront restaurant and bar, was also bombed on Monday. It is not known who carried out the attacks.

PRO-ISLAMIST OPPOSITION DEFEATS SECULAR PARTY IN LOCAL ELECTIONS

bangladeshBangladesh, February 25, 2014: The country’s governing secular party has been defeated by pro-Islamist opposition parties in local elections.

The Bangladesh Nationalist Party (BNP) and the Jama’at-e-Islami (JI) took 40 and 11 sub-districts respectively out of 97 in the polls on 19 February. They had boycotted the country’sgeneral election last month, which resulted in the returning to power of the secular Awami League.

The JI and other Islamists, backed by the BNP, launched a violent uprising last February; they have been calling for Bangladesh to become an Islamic state and for an anti-blasphemy law that carries a death sentence for those who insult Islam or Muhammad. Christians and other minorities have been targeted in associated violence.

PRIVATE SCHOOLS BARRED FROM EXPOSING MUSLIM CHILDREN TO OTHER RELIGIONS

bruneiBrunei, February 25, 2014: Representatives from private education institutions in Brunei have been warned that they face up to five years in jail and/or a fine of up to US$20,000 if they expose a Muslim or atheist child to religions other than Islam.

Under a new sharia penal code set to be introduced in April, it is an offence to “persuade, tell, cause, offer payment to, influence, incite, encourage or permit” such a child to accept non-Islamic teachings. It is also a crime for an institution to expose the child to any ceremony, act of worship or activity of any non-Islamic religion or to participate in any activity held for the benefit of other religions.

Brunei is introducing the new law in phases. Offences punishable by fines, imprisonment or both are part of the first phase; the second phase will see harsher penalties for hudud crimes, such as the amputation of limbs for stealing; the death penalty is expected to come into force in the third phase.

– barnabas team

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