Date:                  June 16, 2020


USCIRF News Digest - June 16, 2020
Download the 2020 USCIRF Annual Report: Key Findings and Recommendations
Top News from Around the World

Muslim Unity activist detained for 15 days (Turan)
Azerbaijani activists detect 108 political prisoners in country (Caucasian Knot)
U.S. religious report reflects abuses in Azerbaijan (Turan)
The court did not restore the rights of an official who adopted Christianity (Turan)

China's war on religion – What US must do to support freedom (Fox News)

Prominent Uyghur Journalist Confirmed Detained After Nearly Three Years (RFA)​​
Victims' Families Say Uighur Religious Leaders Main Target in China (VOA)​
Third China-recognized Catholic bishop installed (UCA)​
China Increased Detentions For ‘Extremist’ Religious Behavior in Xinjiang in 2019: Report (RFA)​
China removes over 250 church crosses in first 4 months of 2020: report (Christian Post)​​
This US church with expansion in its DNA wants to open a temple in China (CNN)​
Protestant House Church Raided For Second Time in China's Xiamen (RFA)​
Disabled Tibetans Must Denounce Dalai Lama to Get Jobs (RFA)​

Protesters shout ‘dirty Jews’ at Paris rally against police racism (JTA)
France Launches Sahel Coalition to Fight Rising Jihadi Violence (Reuters)

US Department of State says Georgian laws, policies continue to grant Orthodox Church ‘unique privileges’ (

Germany’s Misleading Classification of Antisemitic Hate Crimes (The National Review)

Rage fuels Pertamina's Ahok, Indonesia's most talked about Christian (Nikkei Asian Review)
Legal Aid Foundation Finds More Than 30 Blasphemy Cases in Five Months (Jakarta Globe)

History is made in Malaysia as man challenges Shariah law for LGBTQ rights (Mashable)
Latest study finds Muslim women face discrimination under Malaysian Shariah system (MalayMail)

At least half of mystery deaths in Nigeria's Kano due to COVID-19 – minister (Reuters)
Suspected Boko Haram Fighters Kill 81 in Nigeria's Northeast (New York Times)
20 soldiers, 40 civilians killed in attacks Nigeria's Borno state (Al Jazeera)

US panel urges commitments from Pakistan on religious freedom (AFP/Yahoo News)
The ordeal at the Taftan quarantine camp (The Express Tribune)

Hajj organizers prepare to cancel pilgrimage because of pandemic (Causasian Knot)
Russian Military's Cathedral Consecrated Without Mosaic Featuring Putin (RFE/RL)
Russia Consecrates Grandiose Armed Forces Cathedral (Moscow Times)
Pandemic Blasts Change Through Russia’s Church (Carnegie Moscow Center)

Saudi Arabia
Saudi Arabia considers cancelling hajj for first time in modern history (Financial Times)
Saudi cleric says fighting anti-Semitism ‘a religious and moral obligation’ (Times of Israel)
Top Saudi cleric: Jews, Muslims need to join forces to fight antisemitism (Jerusalem Post)

Spanish Jews congratulate Balearic Parliament for comprehensive resolution against antisemitism (EJC)

Sudan, UNAMID agree to investigate killing of civilians in Kalma camp (Sudan Tribune)
ICC prosecutor renews calls to hand over Sudan’s al-Bashir, former officials (Sudan Tribune)

Iraq and Syria synagogues are earmarked for ‘urgent’ repair (Jewish News)

Tajik Opposition Activist Extradited From Austria Jailed 20 Years For Extremism (RFE/RL)
Mosques can reopen for indoor services within the next few days, says Tajik grand mufti (Asia Plus)

Usual suspects: Iran and Turkey’s scapegoating of minorities during Covid-19 (ADL)
Presidency of Religious Affairs is not legitimate, says HDP MP Kaya (Bianet)
Islamist opposition party says waiting on Erdoğan to lead prayer at Hagia Sophia (Ahval)
Turkey seeks to ‘break the chains’ of historic Hagia Sophia, minister says (Ahval)
New poll reveals 73% of Turks want Hagia Sophia to become a mosque (Greek City Times)
Turkey carrying out a demographic change in N. Syria – U.S. Commission Vice Chair (Ahval)
US watchdog group: Turkey’s actions in Syria endanger religious diversity (Al-Monitor)
Turkey ‘directing’ severe religious freedom violations in northern Syria – U.S. commission (Ahval)
Turkey only NATO member put on special watch list in U.S. religious freedoms report (Ahval)
US criticizes Turkey for deportation, entry bans of non-Muslims in its report on religious freedoms (Duvar)

Uzbek police officers charged with torturing man who later died (RFE/RL)
U.S. hails ‘real progress’ on religious freedom in Uzbekistan (RFE/RL)

Venezuelan Regime Still Pushing Antisemitism Disguised as Anti-Zionism, Says New US State Department Report (Algemeiner)

It’s Time to Work Together to Prevent an Upsurge of Anti-Semitism (The Forward)
ASEAN’s Human Rights Struggle (The Asean Post)