Date:                   April 28, 2020


USCIRF News Digest - April 28, 2020
Download the 2020 USCIRF Annual Report: Key Findings and Recommendations
Top News from Around the World

Armenian leader lashes out at church (Eurasianet)

Azerbaijan: Will regime implement alternative service commitment? (Forum 18)
Ramadan to be observed in Azerbaijan under quarantine rules (JAM News)

China's Religious Persecution in the Time of Coronavirus ​(RealClear Politics)​
China resumes cross removals as virus subsides​ (UCA)
US Holocaust Museum Adds China to List of Case Studies Over Mass Internment of Uyghurs (RFA)​
China Urged to Free Tibet’s Missing Panchen Lama on Eve of 31st Birthday (RFA)​
Police in China's Hunan Charge Christian Pastor With 'Subversion' (RFA)

In Germany, where coronavirus is at bay, synagogues prepare to reopen with precautions (JTA)
Berlin Holocaust remembrance event hacked with anti-Semitic messages and images (JTA)
German Trial Accuses Iraqi of Genocide in Killing of Yazidi Girl (New York Times)
Nazi-inspired graffiti found in German town on Holocaust Remembrance Day (EJC)

Communion and the Coronavirus: COVID-19 triggers deep Orthodox divisions (Balkan Insight)

A Mixed Virus Bag in Iran for Persecuted Prisoners: 'I Was Forced to Endure all Kinds of Torture' (CBN News)

Iraq and its minorities face a new challenge with coronavirus (Al-Arabiya)

Sacred worship online. How religious organizations work in Kyrgyzstan (CABAR)

Family Cut Off From Lao Pastor Since His Mid-March Arrest For Christian Service​ (RFA)

North Macedonia
North Macedonia’s Orthodox Church Could Become a Coronavirus Super-Spreader (Foreign Policy)

North Korea
What’s Next for North Korea’s Christians?​ (RealClear Religion; op-ed)
Christians urged to call for release of deacon kidnapped, imprisoned for sharing Gospel in N. Korea​ (Christian Post)
UN airs coronavirus concerns over NK prisons​ (Korea Herald)

Bill on National Council for Minorities to be table in parliament (The Nation)

Bucharest Archdiocese replaces spokesperson accused of antisemitism (JTA)

Inside Moscow's New Military Megachurch (RFE/RL)
Russia’s New Military Mega-Church to Feature Putin, Stalin, Crimea Mosaics (Moscow Times)
Russia Unveils New Military Mega-Church (Moscow Times)
Chechen Muftiate recommends praying within families (Caucasian Knot)
KChR Mufti urges believers not to attend mosques during Ramadan (Caucasian Knot)

Blasphemy to be decriminalised in Scottish hate crime bill (The Guardian)

Intel: US watchdog calls on State Department to add Syria to list of religious freedom violators (Al-Monitor)
Advocates fear threats to religious freedom, health in northeast Syria (CNS)
America’s Abandonment of Syria (New Yorker)
Demographic change in rural Ras al-Ain: Yazidi community face systematic violations by Turkish-backed factions in more than ten villages (Syrian Observatory for Human Rights)

Tajikistan Tells Farmers To Avoid Ramadan Fast, Cites Disease And Need To Work (RFE/RL)
Tajik leader calls on farmers and those producing wealth to postpone Ramadan fasting until a more favorable time (ASIA-Plus)

Erdogan backs cleric who claims homosexuality brings disease (AP)
Turkey’s top religious official once again targets LGBT individuals (Duvar English)
Turkish NGO files complaint against Diyanet head over homosexuality comments (Ahval)
Turkey prohibits joint Ramadan meals to contain coronavirus (Bloomberg)
Interior Ministry announces ‘Ramadan measures’ against coronavirus (Bianet)
Trump calls Patriarch Bartholomew to celebrate Orthodox Easter (Duvar English)
Mass Ramadan gatherings officially forbidden in Turkey amid COVID-19 outbreak (Duvar English)

US Religious Freedom Report Signals Improvements in Uzbekistan (The Diplomat)
U.S. Religious-Freedom Report Cites Improvement in Uzbekistan, Deterioration in Russia (RFE/RL)
Uzbekistan: Towards Religious Freedom (CABAR)

The rising cost of religious freedom in Vietnam (The Hill)

The MBS paradox is on full display (Washington Post)
Coronavirus crisis fueling anti-Semitism around world, foreign minister charges (The Times of Israel)
We are all in this Together: Human Rights and COVID-19 Response and Recovery (United Nations)
These Tech Companies Managed to Eradicate ISIS Content. But They're Also Erasing Crucial Evidence of War Crimes (Time)
Ramadan Begins For World's Muslims Amid COVID-19 Pandemic (RFE/RL)
Muftiate of Dagestan allocates a mosque for ablution of COVID-19 victims' bodies (Caucasian Knot) 
To Fast or Not to Fast—That Is the Coronavirus Question for Ramadan (Foreign Policy)
Representatives from unregistered Evangelical Christian-Baptist churches protest changes to the law on freedom of conscience (SOVA Center)