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European Union Expands Asylum For Religious Persecution

Private worship no longer impediment to refugees seeking asylum.

The European Union (EU) will now grant refugee status to those who seek asylum on the basis of religious persecution, even when applicants are still able to practice their faith in private.

The European Court of Justice had been asked to decide whether or not refugees could seek asylum on the basis of religious persecution if they had only been banned from practicing their faith in public, not in private. The court ruled that EU members must grant asylum to refugees in certain cases of severe religious freedom violations, including "a person's freedom not only to practice his faith in private circles but also to live that faith publicly."

The court stated, "It is not the public or private, or collective or individual, nature of the manifestation and practice of the religion which will determine whether a violation of the right to freedom of religion should be regarded as persecution, but the severity of the measures and sanctions adopted or liable to be adopted against the person concerned." ...

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