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Nepal Criminalizes Christian Conversion and Evangelism

President approves new sanctions targeting non-Hindus and foreign missionaries.
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Nepal Criminalizes Christian Conversion and Evangelism

Last week, Nepal enacted a law to curb evangelism by criminalizing religious conversion, joining neighboring countries like India and Pakistan, where the region’s small-but-growing Christian minority faces government threats to their faith.

The “Nepali government [has] taken a regressive step as this law severely restricts our freedom of expression and our freedom of religion or belief,” said Tanka Subedi, chair of the national Religious Liberty Forum, to Christian Solidarity Worldwide (CSW). The pastor is 1 of an estimated 375,000 Christians living in the former Hindu kingdom.

The criminal code bill, which the parliament approved in August and President Bidhya Devi Bhandari signed last Monday, establishes further constitutional protections for Hinduism (which 80% of the population practices) by restricting religious conversion and “hurting of religious sentiment,” or blasphemy.

According to a Nepali Christian site, a section of the new law reads:

No one should ...
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