Ultranationalism is the chief reason behind the growing number of countries ranked worse than before on guaranteeing citizens their religious freedom, according to Thomas Heine-Geldern, executive president of Aid to the Church in Need. One example was India’s “Hinduistic nationalist approach,” Heine-Geldern said, “which leads to condemning everyone who is a non-Hindu a non-Indian. Then comes the discrimination.”
Aid to the Church in Need is an international papal charity that provides pastoral and humanitarian aid to persecuted and oppressed Christians and supports various church projects in more than 140 countries. As reported by americamagazine, the organization’s report, “Religious Freedom in the World 2018”—one of the few non-U.S. sources for unbiased documenting of religious freedom issues—cited the case of 10 Muslims who have been murdered by radical Hindus who are known as “cow vigilantes.” Cows are considered sacred in Hinduism. The report’s executive summary took note of documentation by the human rights group Persecution Relief, which said that last year, there were 736 documented attacks against Christians in India, more than double 2016’s figure of 358.
The situation, the report said, is unchanged in Afghanistan, Algeria, Azerbaijan, Bangladesh, Bhutan, Egypt, Eritrea, Laos, Nigeria, North Korea, the Palestinian Territories, Qatar, Saudi Arabia, Sudan, Turkmenistan, Ukraine, Uzbekistan and Vietnam.