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Tags: religious | conversion | crime | nepal

Religious Conversion Now a Crime in Nepal

Religious Conversion Now a Crime in Nepal
(CTK via AP Images)

By    |   Wednesday, 25 October 2017 04:34 PM EDT

Nepal's president last week signed a bill making forced religious conversion a punishable offense by up to five years in prison, a move that brands evangelism a criminal offense, targets minorities, and makes religious tensions worse, human rights group and religious leaders warn, according to The Christian Post.

India and Pakistan have also adopted anti-evangelism, anti-conversion and blasphemy laws.

A section of the new law, inked by Nepalese President Bidhya Devi Bhandari, reads: No one should involve or encourage conversion of religion. No one should convert a person from one religion to another religion or profess their own religion and belief with similar intention by using or not using any means of attraction and by disturbing religion or belief of any ethnic groups or community that has been practiced since ancient times.

Anyone who "hurts religious sentiment" also faces up to two years in prison along with a 2,000 rupee fine.

Hinduism remains the country's dominant religion, but the country has one of the fastest growing Christian populations in the world.

"We are deeply saddened that this bill is now law," Pastor Tanka Subedi, the founding member and chair of Dharmik Chautari Nepal and Religious Liberty Forum Nepal, said in a press release issued by Christian Solidarity Worldwide.

"Our appeals to the president and other policy makers to amend this have been ignored. Nepali government have taken a regressive step as this law severely restricts our freedom of expression and our freedom of religion or belief."

Added Tehmina Arora, legal counsel and director of Alliance for Defending Freedom in India: "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."

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Nepal's president last week signed a bill making forced religious conversion a punishable offense by up to five years in prison, a move that brands evangelism a criminal offense, targets minorities, and makes religious tensions worse...
religious, conversion, crime, nepal
298
2017-34-25
Wednesday, 25 October 2017 04:34 PM
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