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The Aum Shinrikyo Executions: Why Now?

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With the execution of Aum Shinrikyo leader and six of his followers, Japan looks to leave behind an era of tragedy. 
On July 6, 2018, Japanese authorities executed seven members of the religious movement Aum Shinrikyo (Aum true religion, or supreme truth), which carried out the 1995 Tokyo subway sarin attack and a series of other atrocities. None of the seven of the executed men were directly involved in releasing the gas on that tragic day; four of those who did remain under a death sentence, and their executions may be imminent.
The seven executed were involved in planning and organizing the various crimes committed by Aum. Asahara Shoko (born Matsumoto Chizuo), was the founder and leader of the movement, having developed the doctrinal system instrumental to Aum’s violence and its concept of a final cosmic war of good (Aum) against evil (the corrupt material world and everyone — from the Japanese government to the general public — who lived in it). Asahara is believed to have given …

USCIRF: Pakistan & Iran have the worst blasphemy laws in the world

Blasphemy laws in the world
The U.S. Commission on International Religious Freedom (USCIRF) has released a ground-breaking report that takes a look at blasphemy laws around the world and compares them to international human rights standards.

The report covers instances of the blasphemy laws in 71 countries which include countries like Pakistan and Indonesia, known for harsh punishments like the death penalty to countries like Canada and Switzerland which have minor penalties like fines. 

Among the six countries which were ranked the worst in terms of blasphemy laws, Iran topped the list while Pakistan ranked second, followed by Yemen, Qatar, Somalia, and Egypt.

USCIRF scored the countries based on Severity of the Penalty, Freedom of Religion, whether the State protected or preferred certain Religion Protections, Freedom of Expression and Discrimination Against Groups.

Of the 71 states studied, 59 or 83 percent sanction blasphemy with imprisonment. Iran and Pakistan, the two countries with the highest-scoring laws for Severity of the Penalty, include the death penalty as punishment for “insulting the Prophet.”.

USCIRF is an independent, bipartisan U.S. federal government commission created by the 1998 International Religious Freedom Act (IRFA) that monitors the universal right to freedom of religion or belief abroad. USCIRF uses international standards to monitor religious freedom violations globally, and makes policy recommendations to the President, the Secretary of State, and Congress. USCIRF Commissioners are appointed by the President and Congressional leaders of both political parties. Their work is supported by a professional, nonpartisan staff. USCIRF is separate from the State Department, although the Department’s Ambassador-at-Large for International Religious Freedom is a non-voting ex officio Commissioner.

➢ The full report can be found here.

Source: Rabwah Times, August 10, 2017

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