Nepal to criminalise evangelisation and religious conversion


The Nepalese president is expected to approve a bill that will outlaw any attempt to convert someone to a different faith, alongside the “hurting of religious sentiment”.

The country’s parliament passed the law, which will effectively ban evangelisation, on 8 August as fears grow of a crackdown on religious minorities, especially the country’s small Catholic population.

Anyone convicted under the new law, including foreign visitors, could face up to 5 years in prison for seeking to convert a person or “undermine the religion, faith or belief that any caste, ethnic group or community has been observing since sanatan [eternal] times.

Anyone who “hurts religious sentiment” also faces up to two years in prison and 2,000 rupee fine.

Although the bill does not mention any religious group specifically, it is similar to Pakistan’s blasphemy law, which is frequently abused to harass minorities, particularly Christians. Nepal is over 80 per cent Hindu, with Christians making up barely one per cent of the population.

International free speech group the Alliance for Defending Freedom (ADF) says that in 2016 eight Christians were arrested in Nepal after sharing a comic book on Jesus with children.

Since the overthrow of the monarchy in 2008, Nepal’s republican regime has become increasingly authoritarian. The country’s government has been dominated by Moaists and Leninists who have struggled to establish a stable government.

A new constitution, finally approved in 2015, already forbids any attempt to convert a person from one religion to another, but no law to that effect has been formally enacted until now.

Tehmina Arora, legal counsel and director of ADF India, said: “International law and the human rights treaties the country has signed protect religious minorities. They explicitly allow conversion, missionary work, and public worship. Nepal risks returning to a totalitarian society in which individual rights are being severely curbed.”

 

source: Catholic Herald

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3 thoughts on “Nepal to criminalise evangelisation and religious conversion

  1. Until 1960, there was no missionary work in Nepal, now Nepal is ranked as the no 1 nation in religious conversion.

    The roots of Christianity is well established in Nepal: the politicians through law can’t and will not be able to uproot that; on the other hand, through the oppression of the minority Christians, the conversion number will be rapidly increasing.

    What happened in China? When Mao took control of China in 1948, the 5 million Christian population went underground due to persecution but began to grow rapidly. Now, approximately 10% of the Chinese population are Christians.

    This is an open question to the politicians. How many people converted to Christian faith are terrorists or law breakers of the society? They found the new faith in JESUS CHRIST and worshiping the living GOD in peace and happiness. If you are trying to block their freedom of religion, that is a failing political strategy.

    Also, the near-sighted politicians must read the writing on the wall, how the Christian nations of the world are materially prospered. JESUS is living today, those who worship HIM through trials will be winners finally, and the persecutors will be ashamed.

    1. Why look toward China? Look at its Indian neighbor where the might of Indian Parliamentary Democracy imposed the nefarious “Freedom of Religion Bill” in 1977 to stall the missionary work… and promote Hinduism among animists… That law is still in force in Arunachal… Yet, after almost 40 years, today there are two Catholic dioceses in the state which in 1977 had any catholics, and scores of Protestant churches and denominations working there… The best way to increase missionary work in any place is to impose prohibitory laws…. and it will attract the missionaries… to that place. Hence, every state in India should impose the anti-missionary laws…. and reap the benefits of progress.

      1. Dr. Chowdhury, what you are telling is an historical fact. Without persecution, Christianity will not spread anywhere in the world. How mysterious and surprising it was, one dozen very ordinary people began set forth the fire of evangelization 2000 years back, penetrated so strongly within 300 years to Europe-Africa and Asia? How the shipwreck close to the shore of Malta led St. Paul to start Christianity there, and that Church is the leading denomination of Malta now. That is the magic of the Christian faith. The current RSS rulers would be delighted if the Christian community will bow their heads in front of Modi-Amith Shaw dictators; but it will not work at all. There will be a world-wide Christian revival coming, India will be part of that with all the attacks generated by the current rulers of India.

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