Pentecostal church faces bizarre charges in India
Police in Jaunpur district in India’s Uttar Pradesh state recently charged 271 Christians with various crimes, including “spreading misinformation” about Hinduism.
A court ordered an investigation and charges after a Hindu activist group, Hindu Jagran Manch, filed a complaint against a Pentecostal congregation. HJM claimed the Christians were drugging people to convert them, according to UCA News.
The allegations were “absolutely false and baseless,” Pastor A. Anil told UCA News. Shibu Thomas of Persecution Relief agreed, calling the drugging accusation absurd, adding, “No one would do such a thing in Christianity.”
False accusations are a common method of harassing Christians, according to International Christian Concern. “Due to police bias, these often obviously false accusations are accepted and lead to lengthy legal battles,” ICC wrote about the charges.
HJM opposes conversions from Hinduism to other religions and has tried to reconvert Muslims and Christians. In 2017, The Times of India reported HJM condemned Christian school celebrations of Christmas, claiming they were a step toward “forced conversions.” —Julia A. Seymour
A new migration route
The number of migrants illegally crossing through the western Mediterranean Sea to Spain more than doubled this year, even as the European Union saw a decline in the total number of migrant arrivals, according to the EU’s border agency.
Frontex in a statement said the total arrivals fell to about 86,500 people between January and August—down by 40 percent from the same time last year. The reduction came amid fewer arrivals along the central route from Libya into Italy, which had served as the major entry point. Frontex said arrivals coming that way dropped by 80 percent from last year.
While Italy saw fewer arrivals, Spain had 6,500 in August—double the number compared to the same time last year. The majority of arrivals came from Morocco, Guinea, and Mali. “The presence of some nationalities that in the past had mainly passed through Libya indicate that some migratory flows have shifted to the western Mediterranean route,” according to Frontex. —O.O.
China targets religious groups online
In the Chinese government’s ongoing crackdown on religious activity, the internet is the latest target. The country released new regulations that require religious groups with online services to apply for licenses and be judged morally fit and politically reliable, the State Administration for Religious Affairs said.
The regulations prevent live streaming and stop organizations from posting content anywhere other than their own platforms. The Chinese government in recent months intensified its monitoring of religious groups. On Sept. 9, it shut down Zion Church, one of the largest protestant churches in Beijing. The church refused a government mandate earlier in April to install closed-circuit cameras in the church and faced threats of eviction. —O.O.