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ICC Note:

Many religious freedom groups have expressed concerns after it was reported that India’s Hindu nationalist party, Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) urged Nepal to make religious conversions illegal. BJP specifically highlighted conversions to Christianity as a problem that needed to be curtailed. According to reports, Nepal is home to one of the fastest growing churches in Asia. Will this spell an end to that amazing growth?

6/6/2014 Nepal (Christian Today) – Religious freedom groups have expressed concern after reports Vice President of the Indian Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) urged Nepali leaders to outlaw religious conversion.

According to ekantipur, Bhagat Singh Koshiyari reportedly spoke to senior leaders including Prime Minister Sushil Koirala and Chairman of Maoist party Pushpa Kamal Dahal during an unofficial visit to the country, claiming that Western countries had been promoting proselytism in Nepal since it was declared a secular state in 2008.

Koshiyari called for an immediate stop to religious conversions, particularly from Hinduism to Christianity, a move that would go against Nepal’s signed agreement to allow for freedom of religion or belief in Article 18 of the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights.

Christian Solidarity Worldwide’s CEO Mervyn Thomas expressed concern that Nepali leaders were being persuaded to exclude the rights of the people to freedom of religion in the new constitution of Nepal.

“[We] urge all political and religious leaders in Nepal to ensure that the new Constitution and Penal Code guarantee all citizens the right to express and share their beliefs, the right to choose and change their religion or belief, as well as the right not to believe in any religion,” he said.

According to OM, Nepal is home to the fastest growing Christian church in Asia. Hinduism remains the major religion with over 80% of the population.

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