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Cameroon: Far North Region Bans Burka, Face-Covering Veils

(July 22, 2015) It was reported on July 17, 2015, that Cameroon’s Far North Region instituted a ban on July 15 against women wearing burkas (a covering for the face and the whole body) and veils that cover the face. The ban comes in the aftermath of two suicide bombings, said to have been instigated […]

United Arab Emirates: New Law Banning Discrimination

(July 22, 2015) On July 20, 2015, the United Arab Emirates (UAE) issued a law prohibiting discrimination on the basis of religion or ethnic identity. The law also bans discrimination on the grounds of caste, doctrine, color, or race. (Steven Wildberger, UAE Issues Religious Tolerance Law, PAPER CHASE (July 21, 2015).) The Attorney-General of the […]

Chad: New Governmental Measures Following Two Suicide Bombings

(June 25, 2015) On June 19, 2015, Prime Minister Kalzeubet Payimi Deubet of Chad announced that his government was imposing new measures to enhance security in the country, notably the issuance of new identity cards and passports and the prohibition of activities along the Chari River from Gassi to Karkandjéri, including clothes washing. Police forces […]

Indonesia: Law Proposed to Protect Religious Minorities

(June 11, 2015) Indonesia’s government has proposed a law on the protection of religious minorities. It is currently listed as in committee with the legislature, the Dewan Perwakilan Rakyat. (Rancangan Undang-Undang Tentang Perlindungan Umat Beragama [Draft Law on the Protection of Religious Communities], Dewan Perwakilan Rakyat website (last visited June 8, 2015).) While some leaders […]

Egypt: Court Sentences TV Show Host to Five Years of Imprisonment

(June 4, 2015) On May 31, 2015, an Egyptian court of first instance found television show host Islam El-Beheiry guilty of insulting the religion of Islam under article 98(f) of the Penal Code. Article 98(f) provides that confinement for a period of not less than six months and not exceeding five years or a fine […]

Bangladesh: Murder of Avijit Roy, American-Bangladeshi Blogger

(Mar. 20, 2015) Bangladeshi-American secular blogger Avijit Roy was killed by a number of assailants in Dhaka, Bangladesh, on February 27, 2015, after he had attended a book fair with his wife, who was attacked in the same incident. (Ray Sanchez, Prominent Bangladeshi-American Blogger Avijit Roy Killed, CNN (Feb. 27, 2015).) A United States citizen […]

Burma: Men Sentenced on Charges of Insulting Buddha

(Mar. 20, 2015) On March 17, 2015, a court in Burma (also known as Myanmar) sentenced a New Zealand manager of a bar and his Burmese associates to spend time in prison on charges of insulting the Buddhist religion. The three individuals, Philip Blackwood, Tun Thurein, and Htut Ko Ko Lwin, were sentenced to two […]

Russia: Bill Approved to Allow Foreign Organizations to Be Declared Undesirable

(Feb. 24, 2015) On January 20, 2015, the State Duma of the Russian Federation (the lower chamber of the legislature) approved on the first reading a draft law that amends several legislative acts regulating the activities of foreign and international organizations working in Russia, including religious ones. (Bill No. 662902-6, Russian legislative database (in Russian) […]

Russia: Registered Clergy May Be Allowed to Meet with Prisoners

(Jan. 6, 2015) On December 9, 2014, the State Duma of the Russian Federation (lower chamber of the legislature) approved on the first reading legislation that amends the country’s Correctional Code to allow prisoners to communicate with members of the clergy. (Bill No. 614607-6, Duma legislative database (Dec. 9, 2014).) If passed, the law will […]

China: Designation of Sanctioned Places of Worship in Online Database

(Dec. 30, 2014) On December 26, 2014, at a national conference on religious work, Wang Zuoan, the director of China’s State Administration for Religious Affairs (SARA), announced that SARA will make public a list of officially registered Buddhist and Taoist worship venues, by means of a government-created online database. The purpose of disseminating the list […]