Freedom of religion under threat in Nepal

Last June, Christian in Nepal asked the Church in Britain topray for freedom of religion in Nepal. This has been threatened bya draft law (Article 160 the 'Offence against religions act'.)which would make it illegal to do anything which might be construedas influencing someone to change their religion. Such a phrasemight cover almost anything a religious person might do.

Despite the lobbying and concerns raised with the Nepal Governmentat that time and over the intervening months, the draft act has nowbeen submitted to the 'billing committee.' This committee hasresponsibility for finalizing the wording, before it is submittedto parliament for approval.

The wording of the draft clause remains unchanged from last June,despite the concerns that have been raised with theGovernment.

Steve Pearce, world church partnership coordinator for theMethodist Church in Britain, said: "Article 160 is a clear breachof basic human rights, and undermines both Nepal as a secular stateand the progress made on freedom of religion."

Mark Galpin, Executive Director of partner organisation UnitedMission to Nepal, writes: "I would therefore urge you to continueyour prayers on this issue, and mobilise others to pray aswell."

Prayer for Nepal:

Creator God,
we thank you that we can share your creative nature as we grow andcan develop ideas in arts, sciences and religion.
Help us to enjoy these riches in a spirit of thankfulness andjoy.
When we are tempted to let differences divide us, give us a spiritof generosity and grace.
We pray especially now for Nepal, where freedom of religion may bethreatened by a new law,
And for Pakistan where the blasphemy law spawns injustice andfear.
May your Church in these countries know the strength of your loveand justice,
And may their politicians seek the best for all the people theyserve.
May your will be done.