INDIA (BP) -- As persecution appears to be intensifying in India, government officials in the state of Madhya Pradesh have charged six Christians, including some pastors, with kidnapping and forced conversion for chaperoning children on the way to church camp. Local police arrested the group in May along with more than 70 children en route to a summer Bible camp, according to International Christian Concern (ICC). Local Hindu radicals told railway police the party of Christians was trafficking children for forced conversion, a crime in that state. Police intervened, detaining everyone at a train station.
CHINA (BP) -- Amid increasing attempts to suppress religious activities, Chinese authorities have detained, fined, and imprisoned Christians for public worship, buying and selling devotionals and group Bible study. In late April, a court in Xinjiang convicted five Protestants who attended a Bible study in 2016, charging them with "gathering a crowd to disrupt social order," Asia News reported. The verdict came with five-year prison sentences for two pastors, and four- and three-year sentences for three others. They plan to appeal.
MEXICO (BP) -- Evangelical Christians in rural villages of southern Mexico have suffered persecution for decades. For many years, their suffering went unnoticed except by persecution watchdog groups like Christian Solidarity Worldwide, International Christian Concern (ICC), Open Doors, and Voice of the Martyrs.
CANADA (BP) -- A conservative, pro-family women's group in Canada wants greater protections for Christians' religious freedom and rights of conscience. REAL Women of Canada says religious freedom has eroded as Canada has sanctioned things like gay marriage, so the group recently launched a petition to present to Parliament.
MOROCCO (BP) -- In a new series of YouTube podcasts, Moroccan Christians are stepping out of the shadows, showing their faces, and telling their stories. Speaking to their countrymen, they proclaim themselves "Moroccan and Christian."
NEPAL(BP) -- Eight Nepali Christians arrested in June, including one pastor and two teachers, could soon be tried for trying to proselytize children. The Christians were working in Dolahka District, in northern Nepal, a part of the nation hard hit by the 2015 earthquakes. Authorities arrested them June 8 for distributing religious literature to children in an attempt to convert, a violation of the anti-conversion statute in the 2015 constitution, according to Asia News. Officials tortured the Christians while they were in custody, according to Asia News' sources.
MALAYSIA (BP) -- A Malaysian court affirmed the right of a former Muslim to convert to Christianity in a landmark ruling handed down just before Easter. Rooney Rebit converted to Christianity in 1999 and was baptized at age 24, according to World Watch Monitor (WWM). But he was officially considered Muslim due to his parents' conversion to Islam when he was 8.
NORTHEAST Kenya (BP) -- Islamic militants with Somalia's al-Shabaab are suspected of attacking a commuter bus in northeast Kenya. The attack killed two people and injured at least six others in late December. A group of Islamist gunmen ambushed the bus, boarded it, and attempted to divide passengers into Muslim and Christian groups. But Muslim passengers refused to cooperate, Reuters reported.
NORTHERN INDIA (BP) -- Missionaries in northern India say Hindu extremists are increasingly trying to entrap them with trumped-up accusations of forced conversions. But the rise in persecution isn't dissuading true converts, who are turning to Christ in larger numbers, according to new census data. People have the freedom to change their religion in India, but forced conversions are illegal.