The International Journal for Religious Freedom (IJRF) <p>The International Journal for Religious Freedom (IJRF) is published twice a year and aims to provide a platform for scholarly discourse on religious freedom in general and the persecution of Christians in particular. It is an interdisciplinary, international, peer reviewed journal, serving the dissemination of new research on religious freedom and contains research articles, documentation, book reviews, academic news and other relevant items.</p> <p>The IJRF is listed on the South African Department of Higher Education and Training “Approved list of South African journals” as effective from 1 January 2012.</p> <p>Manuscripts submitted for publication are assessed by a panel of referees and the decision to publish is dependent on their reports.</p> <p>The IJRF subscribes to the National Code of Best Practice in Editorial Discretion and Peer Review for South African Scholarly Journals.</p> <p>The IJRF is available as a paid print subscription, and released later as a free online version on 1 March and 1 September respectively (, as well as via SABINET and EBSCO.</p> <p><a title="Leitet Herunterladen der Datei ein" href="" target="_blank" rel="noopener noreferrer">Accreditation</a></p> <p><a href="" target="_blank" rel="noopener noreferrer">Guidelines for authors</a></p> International Institute for Religious Freedom en-US The International Journal for Religious Freedom (IJRF) 2070-5484 <p>Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International (<a href="" target="_blank" rel="noopener">CC BY 4.0</a>)</p> Interfaith harmony in Bangladesh <p>On a recent visit to Shyamnagar, one of the most vulnerable coastal subdistricts in Bangladesh, I encountered Father Paggi Luigi. The trip was organized by the Christian Commission for Development in Bangladesh as part of its Climate Change Adaptation and Mitigation Training Program. I heard about Father Luigi from the locals and decided to meet him, which was a pleasant experience.</p> Ikhtiar Mohammad Copyright (c) 2024 Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International (CC BY 4.0) 2024-04-23 2024-04-23 17 1 1–3 1–3 10.59484/DJFS1916 Abusive taxation of religious minorities <p>On 23 April 2023, US Senator Orrin Hatch passed away at age 88. Two of his main interests were tax reform and religious liberty, topics that sometimes happen to intersect. Senator Hatch was well aware that abusive taxation can target religious or spiritual movements or religiously motivated advocacy groups which, for whatever reason, are disliked by some tax bureaucrats.</p> <p>One such instance is the case of Tai Ji Men in Taiwan, which remains unresolved after more than 25 years of legal battles and public advocacy. I will compare that case with ones that the European Court of Human Rights has considered in the last two decades.</p> Willy Fautré Copyright (c) 2024 Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International (CC BY 4.0) 2024-04-22 2024-04-22 17 1 5–11 5–11 10.59484/URQV1407 Faith, hope, and power <p>Xi Jinping’s renewal of authoritarianism in the People’s Republic of China (PRC) highlights the way in which patterns of repression change over time. Xi’s effort to reinvigorate party rule hearkens back to earlier periods of repression but has not reached levels common during the early years of the PRC. This pattern holds for the regulation of religion in the PRC. This article considers the PRC’s management of religion, in particular Christianity, over the past seven decades. Whilst authoritarianism has taken diverse characteristics, one permanent feature of government repression in the PRC is the pursuit of state corporatist management of religion.</p> Paul S. Rowe Lucy Chuang Hannah Kendon Copyright (c) 2024 Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International (CC BY 4.0) 2024-04-22 2024-04-22 17 1 13–28 13–28 10.59484/HOLC5744 A path toward religious freedom in the DPRK <p>North Korea is one of the most authoritarian states in the world, and members of religious groups face severe persecution. This article explores how deeply religious persecution is anchored in the state system and how it is handled in practice. It presents a six-point plan to improve the situation of believers short of waiting for a regime change. The plan focuses on strengthening the role of religious organizations in inter-Korean dialogue, international cooperation with religious organizations of the DPRK, encouraging the DPRK in liberalizing religion in its country, while avoiding a foreign infiltration through religious organizations, and conducting reforms by taking other countries as role models.</p> Timo Schmitz Copyright (c) 2024 Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International (CC BY 4.0) 2024-04-22 2024-04-22 17 1 29–43 29–43 10.59484/IWKY1774 False accusations, arrests, and persecution of Christians <p>This article provides a critical analysis of state laws on religious freedom in India and their effect on minority communities, especially Christianity. It identifies the formative factors underlying these laws, along with the role played by religious political parties in their formulation. It also examines the motives behind the enactment of these laws and how they obstruct minorities’ rights to propagate their religion and stand as a threat to their survival. The article further explores religious violence, false accusations and arrests inflicted on Christians because of these laws.</p> D. Apostle Copyright (c) 2024 Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International (CC BY 4.0) 2024-04-19 2024-04-19 17 1 45–60 45–60 10.59484/FRLE9619 Truth enfleshed <p>Apologetics, in general, is commonly known as the logical establishment of the truthfulness of the Christian faith. The approach taken towards apologetics involves a combination of various methods and a conversational style, while still emphasizing the importance of reason, rational inference, and consensus as the objectives of this apologetic engagement. The authors acknowledge the limitations of the Western approach to apologetics, which solely focuses on propositional truth. This article aims to find ways to accurately represent Jesus in the Global South, with a specific focus on India. The intention is to develop an approach that can effectively connect with individuals of different faiths, following the example of Jesus, particularly in situations where the Christian community is a minority and persecution is heightened.</p> Jose Philip Godfrey Harold Copyright (c) 2024 Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International (CC BY 4.0) 2024-04-19 2024-04-19 17 1 61–77 61–77 10.59484/BKAE3482 Augustine and Luther on toleration and coercion <div class="page" title="Page 1"> <div class="layoutArea"> <div class="column"> <p>Augustine of Hippo (354–430) and Martin Luther (1483–1546) both argued in favor of toleration and freedom of religion in their younger years, but both changed their policy toward dissenters as they grew older. They also adjusted their reading of the Parable of the Weeds (Matt 13) to varying situations. The older Augustine and Luther both called on the secular authorities to suppress their theologi- cal opponents, using the sword that God has given them (Rom 13) to protect both tables of the law: religion and morals. This article describes and explains their similar development in this regard.</p> </div> </div> </div> Peter Olsen Copyright (c) 2024 Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International (CC BY 4.0) 2024-04-19 2024-04-19 17 1 79–91 79–91 10.59484/DRWA8357 Addressing the growing global persecution of Christians <p>Some states have shown interest in human rights violations targeting Christians, but in most cases the interest has not translated into concrete actions. Hungary is one exception to this pattern. In 2017, the Hungarian government created Hungary Helps, an international development initiative that concentrates on religious oppression with a focus on persecuted Christians. After a review of data on Christian persecution and state responses, this article examines the guiding principles that inform Hungary Helps and its programs. The paper suggests that other states could consider incorporating various dimensions of Hungary Helps into their foreign policy initiatives to address the growing global persecution of Christians.</p> David R. Hodge Copyright (c) 2024 Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International (CC BY 4.0) 2024-04-22 2024-04-22 17 1 93–105 93–105 10.59484/IBIR1395 Respecting individual religious autonomy at secular public universities in South Africa <p>The implementation of mandatory COVID-19 vaccination policies by several South African public universities highlighted the interpretive struggles of a secular polity regarding freedom of religion or conscience. Such workplace policies relied on the claim that society’s collective interests took precedence over the individual’s constitutional rights. In essence, the policies allowed for accommodating conscientious objectors, but in reality, the conditions for ob- jection went beyond prioritizing collective interests and neglected the constitutional duty to protect human rights. This article examines how the restrictive vaccination policies of public universities reveal the shortcomings in secular polity’s engagement with and appreciation for individual religious self-determination.</p> Werner Nicolaas Nel Copyright (c) 2024 Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International (CC BY 4.0) 2024-04-19 2024-04-19 17 1 107–126 107–126 10.59484/VFDT9414 The Old Baltic Faith Romuva movement and state recognition <p>This article describes the efforts by the Old Baltic Faith Romuva movement to gain official state recognition from the government of Lithuania. By analysing the existing legal basis for such recognition and the national parliament’s reluctance to grant this status to the Romuva, it highlights the dynamics of the relationship between the state and religious minorities in Lithuania. The case study describes the difficulties faced by (non-Christian) religious minorities seeking recognition and reveals various problematic issues in the process: discrepancies in the basis for a such recognition; political decision making based not on legal but on cultural and worldview aspects of the issue; and the Roman Catholic Church’s ability to influence the process.</p> Rasa Pranskevičiūtė-Amoson Copyright (c) 2024 Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International (CC BY 4.0) 2024-04-19 2024-04-19 17 1 127–143 127–143 10.59484/ORUH4320 Noteworthy <div class="page" title="Page 1"> <div class="layoutArea"> <div class="column"> <p>The noteworthy items are structured in three groups: annual reports and global surveys, regional and country reports, and specific issues. Though we apply serious criteria in the selection of items noted, it is beyond our capacity to scrutinize the accuracy of every statement made. We therefore disclaim responsibility for the contents of the items noted. The compilation was produced by Janet Epp Buckingham.</p> </div> </div> </div> Janet Epp Buckingham Copyright (c) 2024 Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International (CC BY 4.0) 2024-04-19 2024-04-19 17 1 145–148 145–148 10.59484/TCLZ5180 Book Reviews <ul> <li>Religious Freedom in a Secular Age: A Christian Case for Liberty, Equality, and Secular Government (Michael E. Bird)</li> <li>The Jewish Underground of Samarkand: How Faith Defied Soviet Rule – A Memoir and a History (Rabbi Hillel Zaltzman)</li> <li>The gospel and religious freedom: Historical studies in evangelicalism and political engagement (David W. Bebbington, editor)</li> <li>The Disintegration of the Conscience and the Decline of Modernity (Steven D. Smith)</li> <li>I Will Give Them an Everlasting Name: Pastoral Care for Christ’s Converts from Islam (Duane Alexander Miller)</li> <li>Demystifying the Sacred: Blasphemy and Violence from the French Revolution to Today (Eveline G. Bouwers and David Nash, eds.)</li> <li>&nbsp;</li> </ul> IJRF Copyright (c) 2024 Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International (CC BY 4.0) 2024-04-19 2024-04-19 17 1 149–161 149–161 10.59484/UVXZ4793