The United States Commission on International Religious Freedom has released its annual report that is raising alarm about the world’s second most populous country.
The report highlights the efforts the Trump administration has made to advocate for religious freedom around the globe.
Despite successes such as convening a Ministerial to Advance Religious Freedom at the State Department, and the formation of the International Religious Freedom Alliance, the reported noted a setback in one prominent nation: India.
Tony Perkins, who chairs the commission, says a nation is considered a “country of particular concern” if there is evidence that persecution of religion is systematic, ongoing, and egregious.
India, he says, meets all three.
India is the world’s second-most populous nation, with a population of 1.3 billion, where Hinduism is practiced by approximately 80 percent of its people.
“They have enforcement of anti-conversion laws which they continue to uphold,” Perkins says. “They have their officials making statements that incite violence against religious minorities.”
OneNewsNow reported in a 2019 story that an anti-conversion law, passed by the majority BJP party, contradicts the country’s own constitution but gives legal authority to attack minority religions.
The leader of a persecution watchdog group said Hindu radicals routinely raid church services, and assault the pastor and churchgoers, accusing them of attempting to convert others to their faith.
Perkins tells OneNewsNow the anti-conversion laws also target the minority Muslim population, which is required to prove their citizenship.
“And in many cases,” he says, “these are poor, impoverished people who don't have good record-keeping, and they could ultimately be left stateless.”
Elsewhere in the annual report, Perkins says the Islamic country of Sudan is operating with a transitional government that is lifting blasphemy laws and allowing freedom of religion.