Tags: India | Christians | climate of hate

Al Jazeera: India Christians Made Wary of Christmas Amid 'Climate of Hate'

Al Jazeera: India Christians Made Wary of Christmas Amid 'Climate of Hate'

An Indian laborer working on preparing a temporary structure for Christmas celebrations is silhouetted against a giant-sized star erected to welcome Christmas and the New Year in Thiruvananthapuram, Kerala state, India. (AP Photo/R S Iyer)

By    |   Sunday, 24 December 2017 04:01 PM

Fearing a "climate of hate," Christians in India are being discouraged from celebrating the Christmas holiday, Christian groups reportedly told Al Jazeera.

"There are open letters being written to schools in Uttar Pradesh asking them not to celebrate Christmas," Reverend Theodore Mascarenhas said. "What is going on in this country? This is not about Hindus, Christians, Muslims or Sikhs. It is about our beloved India."

A right-wing Hindu group, Hindu Jagran Manch, warned Christian schools against celebrating Christmas, claiming "forced conversions" amid a battle of "foreign influence corrupting Indian society" and saying Christmas gift exchanges "may lure children to convert to Christianity," according to the report.

"It is not just about Christmas Day," Hindu Jagran Manch's Avinash Rana said. "It is about Hindu culture and what is foreign to us. Be it Christmas Day or Valentine's Day – all this is not Indian culture. See, by adopting Western festivals, Hindu youth are forgetting their roots and their own culture. We are against this. We will see to it that such Western ideas are stopped."

Activist John Dayal denounces attacks on Christians and calls "for police and the government to act" against religious persecution.

"This accusation of forced conversions is a criminal conspiracy to paint a picture of Christians as the way they have already painted a terrible picture of the Muslims," Dayal said. "This is a conspiracy to try and frame Christians."

Christians make up 2.3 percent of India's population of 1.27 billion and around one-fifth identify with a religion other than Hinduism, per the report.

"We will continue living our faith," Mascarenhas said. "Christians have grown most when they have been persecuted."

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Fearing a "climate of hate," Christians in India are being discouraged from celebrating the Christmas holiday, Christian groups reportedly told Al Jazeera. "There are open letters being written to schools in Uttar Pradesh asking them not to celebrate Christmas," Reverend...
India, Christians, climate of hate
273
2017-01-24
Sunday, 24 December 2017 04:01 PM
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