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Religious freedom seriously lacking for three-fourths of world’s population, ambassador says

By Adelle M. Banks — August 10, 2016

WASHINGTON (RNS) Almost a quarter of the world’s countries — in which 74 percent of the world’s population lives — have serious restrictions on religious freedom, said the ambassador-at-large for international religious freedom.

Pakistani man charged with blasphemy over shoes with Hindu symbol

By RNS staff — June 21, 2016

(Reuters) Pakistani rights groups say Hindus are often at risk of discrimination and hate crimes, including forced conversions and economic discrimination.

Why I despair over Pakistan’s intractable blasphemy laws (COMMENTARY)

By Kimberly Winston — March 28, 2016

(RNS) Before leaving for Pakistan, I thought countries that enforce blasphemy laws would eventually catch up to the rest of the world. Now I’m not so sure.

Egyptian minister sacked after saying he would jail Prophet Muhammad

By Reuters — March 15, 2016

CAIRO — Ahmed al-Zend, a hard-liner and outspoken critic of the Muslim Brotherhood, had said he would jail the prophet himself if he broke the law.

Slain Pakistani Christian’s brother campaigns against blasphemy law

By Rosie Scammell — January 13, 2016

ROME (RNS) On March 2, 2011, Shahbaz Bhatti was assassinated by a militant group that called him “a blasphemer.”

Pakistan Christian TV station is back, after suspicious fire

By Tanveer Ali — December 17, 2015

LAHORE, Pakistan (RNS) The station’s equipment was lost in the fire, but the owner says he has borrowed equipment to continue broadcasting concerts, prayers and church services during the busy Christmas season.

Kardashian pope * Kim Davis * Beef party : September’s Religious Freedom Recap

By Brian Pellot — October 2, 2015

Celebrity Pope Francis photobombed selfies on his U.S. album launch tour. Conservative “It Girl” Kim Davis sat in jail and won awards for not doing her job. And India threw a “beef party” to celebrate religious tolerance and protest new meat bans.

Why repealing blasphemy laws might help promote religious freedom (ANALYSIS)

By Brandon G. Withrow — September 29, 2015

(RNS) Among those countries frequently cited by human rights groups with the most aggressive laws banning free expression are China, Pakistan and Saudi Arabia.

8 ‘blasphemous’ books banned for offending believers

By Brian Pellot — September 29, 2015

The Bible and Fifty Shades of Grey share more than a few raunchy sex scenes. On Banned Books Week and International Blasphemy Rights Day, these eight titles are still too hot to handle.

Why Thailand’s demigod king and military junta are cracking down on ‘blasphemy’

By Brian Pellot — September 24, 2015

Thailand’s lèse majesté laws shield a deified king from criticism, an outdated monarchy from reform and a military junta from accountability.

East-West Travelblog: Terrorism, blasphemy — and cookies

By Kimberly Winston — August 22, 2015

WASHINGTON, D.C. (RNS) Security is tough at the State Department. But the cookies are sweet.

Pakistan’s embattled comedians spin troubles into punchlines

By Reuters — August 21, 2015

Corruption, politicians, crime and culture are all regular fixtures but few punchlines mock the powerful military or religion. Pakistani law stipulates blasphemers be put to death.

Marijuana ministries * Chicken blood * Chocolate snakes: July’s Religious Freedom Recap

By Brian Pellot — July 31, 2015

Cannabis churches are billowing out across America. Chicken huggers are suing to keep ritual bird blood off Brooklyn’s sidewalks. And a South African prophet is being prosecuted for turning congregants into snakes and snakes into chocolate.

Told ya so! The UAE’s new ‘anti-discrimination’ law is already being abused to censor critics

By Brian Pellot — July 28, 2015

Last week’s royal decree, which leaders touted as a shield against religious hatred and discrimination, is already being used as a sword to suppress government critics.

The UAE’s new anti-discrimination law is a wolf in sheep’s clothing

By Brian Pellot — July 21, 2015

Anti-discrimination laws should protect people. The United Arab Emirates’ new law, issued by royal decree, criminalizes the criticism of religions and ideas. It should be scrapped.

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