Date:                   March 24, 2020


USCIRF News Digest - March 24, 2020
Upcoming Events

April 28 – USCIRF Annual Report Release
Download the 2019 USCIRF Annual Report: Key Findings and Recommendations
Top News from Around the World

Activists link arrest of Azerbaijani poet with song about Bagirzade (Caucasian Knot)
All political prisoners should be released after Mukhtarly – PACE rapporteur (Turan)

China demolishes church, removes crosses as Christians worship at home​ (Christian Post)
Xinjiang County Sends Uyghur Camp Detainees to Prison, Interior of China (Radio Free Asia)​
Former Tibetan Political Prisoner Tashi Phuntsok Dies at 60  (Radio Free Asia)
Your favorite Nikes might be made from forced labor. Here’s why. (The Washington Post; op-ed)

Understanding India's Citizenship Controversy (New Atlanticist)

The Building Permit Problem that Curses Indonesian Churches (International Christian Concern)
Indonesia halts Islamic assembly, quarantining 9,000 people (ABC News) 
Charity For ‘Jihad’ In Syria: The Indonesian-Uyghur Connection – Analysis (Eurasia Review)

Iran Releases a Third of Christian Prisoners Due to Coronavirus Concerns (Christianity Today)
Coronavirus Epidemic Hits Iran's Small Zoroastrian Community Very Hard (Radio Farda)
As Coronavirus Worsens, Iranian Regime Intensifies Pressure on Baha'is (IranWire)

Coronavirus keeps families apart on eve of Iranian new year (Reuters)

Kyrgyzstan to strengthen higher religious education in the country (CABAR)

Coronavirus: Maronite Church slams minority opposed to communion in hand​ (AsiaNews)

How a 16,000-Strong Religious Gathering Led Malaysia to Lockdown (Bloomberg)

Jihad is as contagious as covid-19 in the Maldives​ (Economist)

Middle East
The Coronavirus Is Exacerbating Sectarian Tensions in the Middle East (Foreign Affairs)

Saudi Arabia
MWL: Closure of mosques due to coronavirus a religious duty (Saudi Gazette)

Sri Lanka
Legal Confusion in Sri Lanka Fans Flame of Buddhist Nationalist Hostilities, Sources Say (Morning Star News)

'The Worst of the Persecution No Longer Exists': Sudanese Christians See the Light After Years of Oppression (CBN News)

Syria’s Hidden Victims - Seta Kale (CNA)

Missing mother of Syriac priest found dead in southeast Turkey (Ahval)
Şimoni Diril might be found alive if search had been sincerely conducted’ (Bianet)
As coronavirus cases spike in Turkey, so does anti-Semitism (Haaretz)

Vietnamese Catholics prevented from fencing off statue (UCA)​
Communist Vietnam lauds church steps against coronavirus  (UCA)​

Yemen Huthis uphold death sentence for Baha'i, community says (AFP)

In a Pandemic, Religion Can Be a Balm and a Risk​ (New York Times)
Under Caesar's Sword - Report: In Response to Persecution (RFI)
Too little, too late? Religions slow to react to Covid-19 (UCA; op-ed)
Coronavirus Is Spreading at Religious Gatherings, Ricocheting Across Nations (Wall Street Journal)
COVID-19's Effect on Religious Liberty: 'It Doesn't Disappear During Public Emergencies' (CBN News)

Is coronavirus hampering religious freedom rights worldwide? USCIRF explains​ (Christian Post)