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Mosque Free to Open, a Win for All Religious Houses of Worship PDF Print E-mail
Monday, 13 August 2012 14:08

Washington DC, August 10, 2012--Today, in a great victory for religious freedom, the Islamic Center of Murfreesboro, Tennessee, will be able to use its newly built mosque for prayer for the first time. The mosque has faced opposition from a small group of local residents, who filed a lawsuit seeking to prevent the mosque from being used. But on July 18th, after lawsuits filed by The Becket Fund for Religious Liberty and the United States Department of Justice, a federal court ruled in the mosque’s favor, concluding that the mosque was entitled to a certificate of occupancy on the same terms as any other house of worship.

"We are very happy that such a basic religious freedom right, namely the freedom worship, has been preserved," said ICRF president Dan Fefferman. "Special congratulations to the Becket Fund for their important, unselfish work on this case."

“Today marks a triumph not just for the Muslims of Murfreesboro, but for people of all faiths. No house of worship should be kept from meeting just because the neighbors dislike their religious beliefs,” said Luke Goodrich, Deputy General Counsel at the Becket Fund.

Italy Establishes Observatory on Religious Freedom PDF Print E-mail
Friday, 06 July 2012 16:13


Archbishop William Lori (l) & Massimo Introvigne (Photo Fabio Bernabei)Following the lead of the United States, Canada and other countries, Italy too has set up an Observatory on Religious Freedom to monitor and combat violations of religious freedom around the world, beginning with the areas at risk where religious minorities are being persecuted. The Observatory was established by the Italian Minister of Foreign Affairs and the City of Rome and is run by a Coordinator, the sociologist Massimo Introvigne and four members: two diplomats expert on Human Rights, Diego Brasioli and Roberto Vellano, and two representative from NGOs: Attilio Tamburrini and Roberto Fontolan.

The initiative was presented on 28 June in Rome at the Foreign Press Association with a speech by Archbishop of Baltimore William Lori entitled “Religious Liberty: God’s Gift to all Nations is our Responsibility to Defend.”

The Problem with European 'Human Rights' PDF Print E-mail

"Judges at the court in Strasbourg have assumed an activist role for too long" (AP)By Jacob Mchangama and Aaron Rhodes

Last week ministers from the Council of Europe met in Brighton to consider British proposals on reforming the European Court of Human rights. The meeting concluded with agreements for timid tweaks to the tribunal, but didn't touch the serious problems it faces. This is not surprising, given that the court's judges and leading human-rights organizations are all resistant to meaningful change. But it is disappointing, because the same problems that hobble the European court in Strasbourg are endemic throughout the rest of the international human-rights machinery.

The U.K. failed to achieve fundamental reform in part because it did such a poor job of articulating the urgency of the task. Conservative leaders and pundits chafe under the court's rulings that they consider intrusive, for instance its judgments constraining how Britain may deal with terrorists. The British proposals focused on making the court more deferential to the rulings of national courts, and thus fed the impression (however unfair) that they were driven solely by concerns over sovereignty rather than principle. Proponents of the court counter that shortening its reach or weakening its independence would harm its ability to address serious human-rights violations in Russia and other non- or partly free members of the Council of Europe.

The president of the court, British Judge Sir Nicholas Bratza, said reform was unnecessary and has criticized the U.K.'s modest proposals as an attempt to "dictate" the tribunal's case law. As evidence that some reform is clearly necessary, Westminster points to a backlog of more than 150,000 dockets. But according to Mr. Bratza, the solution is more financial resources, not changing the way the court operates. Major nongovernmental human-rights organizations have piled on against the reform proposals, arguing that the case overload only confirms the need for the court's work.

President of French anti-religious organization MIVILUDES convicted by Criminal Court of Paris PDF Print E-mail
Thursday, 28 June 2012 19:50

Georges Fenech

Georges Fenech, the president of French anti-religious organization MIVILUDES (an acronym for Mission interministérielle de vigilance et de lutte contre les dérives sectaires – Interministerial Mission for Monitoring and Combatting Cultic Deviances), was convicted for public defamation by the Paris criminal court on June 1, 2012 .

The defamation case started because of a defamatory accusations against lay Catholics association called French Society for the Defense of Tradition, Family and Property (TFP) whiuch were published in the 2009 annual report of MIVILUDES.

The 17th Chamber of the Criminal Court of Paris, specializing in cases concerning the press, stressed the lack of accuracy in the report as well as the lack of restraint in its expressions. The court also emphasized that a state agency such as MIVILUDES should not use vague approximations in its work.

Both George Fenech and MIVILUDES have earned an international reputation for repressing religious minorities and violating the European Convention on Human Rights. By being convicted of public defamation, George Fenech has tarnished his name – and the reputation of MIVILUDES.

Central-European Religious Freedom Institute congratulates the Paris Criminal Court for convicting Fenech – and in so doing, taking a step forward in advancing the rights of religious minorities in France.


Posted courtesy Forum for Religious Freedom Europe

Source: CERF Institute

Human rights in North Korea: An International Coalition To Stop Crimes Against Humanity PDF Print E-mail

Willy Fautré, the director of Human Rights Without Frontiers International is author of the study, “Human rights in North Korea: An International Coalition To Stop Crimes Against Humanity.” In it he describes the work he has done with North Korean refugees. North Korea ranks on every survey as one of the world's most egregious violators of human rights and religious freedom. Please see the ICRF Country Report on the Democratic People's Republic of Korea.

This paper (entire text follows) was presented at a conference entitled "Commemorating Human Rights Day 2011" at the Houses of Parliament in London on December 9, 2011.


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