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RFI President Joins Civil Society Leaders in Asking the Pakistani Government to Free Couple Sentenced to Death for Blasphemy

RFI President Joins Civil Society Leaders in Asking the Pakistani Government to Free Couple Sentenced to Death for Blasphemy

The Religious Freedom Institute's (RFI) president, Thomas Farr, has joined over a dozen civil society members of the International Religious Freedom Roundtable in calling on the government of Pakistan to release a Pakistani Christian couple who have been sentenced to death under that country’s blasphemy law.

Marshall: This Indonesian Village Tradition Has Kept Peace Between Christians And Muslims

Marshall: This Indonesian Village Tradition Has Kept Peace Between Christians And Muslims

Paul Marshall, Wilson Professor of Religious Freedom at Baylor University and Senior Fellow with the Religious Freedom Institute, writes at Religion Unplugged that “Peaceful, and even loving religious co-existence, does not require secularism or relativism, nor a belief that our differing beliefs do not matter.”

Saiya: Religious Repression and the Easter Attacks: The Hidden Connection

Saiya: Religious Repression and the Easter Attacks: The Hidden Connection

Nilay Saiya, Senior Fellow with the Religious Freedom Institute’s South and Southeast Asia Action Team, writes at The Diplomat about the relationship between religious repression and the terror attacks on Easter Sunday in Sri Lanka.

Punish Those Responsible for the Sri Lanka Attacks, Not Muslim Minorities

Punish Those Responsible for the Sri Lanka Attacks, Not Muslim Minorities

The largest single attack on Sri Lankan soil was not claimed by any extremist group until early Tuesday when ISIS declared responsibility. ISIS has conducted targeted attacks on Easter in the past, so the likelihood that the little-known Sri Lankan Islamic radical group, National Towheeth Jamaath (NTJ), is actually an ISIS affiliate or franchisee seems plausible.  

Easter Terror Attacks Reveal New Perpetrators in Asia's Rising Tide of Religious Violence

Easter Terror Attacks Reveal New Perpetrators in Asia's Rising Tide of Religious Violence

Waking to the news of the Easter morning bombings of churches and hotels in Sri Lanka, my reaction was likely different than that of most people around the globe: Buddhist nationalists did this, I thought. The reason I reacted in this way requires some explanation, given the contemporary global and particularly western association of suicide bombings with radical Islamist groups.

Indonesia, Google and the Surveillance State

Indonesia, Google and the Surveillance State

The internet promises both greater freedom and greater repression. It gives a chance of increased expression to millions of people whose views and voices have been and could still be silenced by politically repressive regimes or monopolistic media. But, it can also give those same repressive governments and media empires control so that they can erase contrary views. 

Recent events suggest that currently the push for greater control is winning, sometimes abetted by major tech companies.

Ispahani: Pakistan's Blasphemy Laws Persecute the Weakest of the Weak

Ispahani: Pakistan's Blasphemy Laws Persecute the Weakest of the Weak

In an opinion piece for CNN, RFI Senior Fellow and former Pakistani Parliamentarian, Farahnaz Ispahani, argues that Pakistan’s abuse of blasphemy laws disproportionately harms the most vulnerable in Pakistani society, such as Asia Bibi, and imperils those who would chose to stand up for them, like Rashid Rehman, a human rights lawyer murdered in 2014.

China's Uighurs and Technology-Enhanced Totalitarianism

China's Uighurs and Technology-Enhanced Totalitarianism

This new video report from the Wall Street Journal provides exclusive interviews and rare images documenting the severe persecution of Uighur Muslims by China’s communist government.  Most of China’s Uighurs live in the northwestern region of Xinjiang.  In Xinjiang, the government has woven state-of-the-art technology in with its tried-and-true methods of totalitarian oppression.

Based in part on a massively intrusive census of residents’ personal information, the communist regime has created a system that assigns a national security score to every individual and family.  It sends those it scores as “unsafe” to prison-like “study centers” for political indoctrination and re-education.