Thomas Schirrmacher
Relevant ProMundis Blogposts

The German Newspaper Süddeutsche Zeitung has declared that Evangelicals are Trigger-Happy Murderers

23. August 2016 von · Leave a Comment 

At the moment, Among the cheapest and most promising ways to defame those who think differently is to throw them into the same pot as ISIS and Islamist terrorism. While it has almost become normal for dictators around the world to declare unwelcome movements and forces to be terrorists or to be the breeding ground for the same, it is astounding that this is also happening in Germany. And as of late, it has been happening to Evangelicals, among others. In the process, a completely innocent group of people has been found to be guilty by association for three decades. This runs according to the following principle: Little strokes fell big oaks. The latest example:

A self-declared IS adherent kills 50 guests in a gay bar which he himself had frequently gone to. The newspaper Die WELT even speaks of a gay self-hatred.

The newspaper Süddeutsche Zeitung wrote the following on the incident: He could just as well have been an Evangelical Christian and have committed this act.

  • What is it, besides hatred for Evangelicals, that could make such a statement intelligible?
  • Do Evangelicals often shoot and kill homosexuals? I am not aware of a single case anywhere in the world.
  • Do Evangelicals often defect to ISIS? This also yields a negative report.
  • Do Evangelicals often conduct shootings in public? The web has also not revealed any such case.
  • Do Evangelicals at any rate shoot and kill abortion doctors?
    This is also purely fictional, although it has been repeated in public so often that people on the street actually believe it. The leading associations of abortion clinics in the USA do not even bring this charge!
  • And finally: Are there Evangelical churches even just hinting at advocating such things? Although I have often asked: No one has yet provided any evidence that Evangelicals are dangerous.

I would humorously suspect that the author grew up in an Evangelical monastery under medieval educational methods and has not yet processed that. However, there are no such monasteries. What have Evangelicals done to him that they are accused of the worst crimes one can think of without good cause, of indiscriminately killing people on a massive scale without any recognizable reason? Which Evangelical advocates such a thing, let alone allows it or carries it out?

And since the Süddeutsche Zeitung is published in Germany: Which event in Germany entitles this daily newspaper to even hint at sweepingly pushing Evangelicals into the proximity of terrorism and indiscriminate shootings?

Do anti-discrimination legislation and the anti-discrimination agenda not apply to Evangelicals and Pentecostals? Is hate speech against Muslims condemned, is action taken by the media against hate speech against Jehovah’s Witnesses, homosexuals, and Sinti and Roma but allowed at any time against Evangelicals?

Even if there were a single in-the-flesh Evangelical or Pentecostal terrorist and only a single member of an Evangelical church who had killed an abortion doctor: Does that entitled throwing one-half a billion people into a pot and ridiculing them as disguised terrorists?

Erdogan and Islamist seizure of power

18. August 2016 von · Leave a Comment 

Immediately after the attempted Putsch, an eye witness reported Erdogan’s first big appearance:

“It felt like an eternity that Erdogan just stood there while the crowd chanted: ‘Here is the army! Here is the Commander, and ‘Just say it and we will kill! Just say it and we will die!‘ And there was always the following accompanying the chants: ‘Allahu Akbar!‘ – ‘God is great!’”

In Turkey we are experiencing a second Islamist seizure of power, which supposedly is comparable to that in Pakistan and in Iran. Surprisingly, however, nothing has yet come of it.

In my 2015 blog “Turkey is a uniquely terrible disappointment: Has Erdogan always been an Islamist, or has he returned to Islamism?” I wrote:

“‘There are good reasons to think that, in his heart, Erdogan has remained what he was as the mayor of Istanbul, and that he is implementing the Ist agenda with a much more long term strategy than the very clumsy strategy used by the short term Egyptian President Mursi. Mursi wanted to implement Islamism in five minutes and thereby failed because of the opposition of the Army, which Erdogan first checkmated before implementing his larger agenda.‘

In any case, Erdogan’s system is equally as corrupt as all the Islamist systems. He makes absurd demands, such as teaching the Ottoman language in schools, although he cannot speak it. He has absurd goals, such as the reconstitution of the Ottoman Empire—dangerous for all neighboring states! Religious rules are imposed on all citizens of Turkey. The rule of law has been replaced by corruption, while the judiciary and police have become the front line for the rule of power.

In his youth Erdogan was a member of the militant Turkish-Islamist underground organization, Akincilar Dernegi. Since 1970 he had leading positions in the various Islamist parties that took over from one another after they were outlawed, until the founding of the AKP in 2001. As the mayor of Istanbul (1994-1998) he promoted Islamist policies, for example, school busses divided by gender and a prohibition of alcohol at city facilities. In 1994 he described the EU as an association of Christians from which Turkey had nothing to gain. It was, in his assessment, impossible to be Muslim and to tolerate a secular government. In 1998 he was sentenced to prison because he positively quoted the following poem in a speech:

‘Democracy is only a train which we are boarding until we arrive at our destination. Mosques are our military bases, minarets our bayonets, domes our helmets, and believers our soldiers.‘

Should we not have known? Although we must be ready to recognize that people can change, should we not have kept in the back of our minds something about the way in which Erdogan started his career as an Islamist? Should we not have understood the ongoing indications of Islamist leanings by turns of phrases from his mouth against this background? And shouldn’t these questions have been more frequently and extensively discussed among non-Muslim politicians?

There have been many other similar examples where people do not want to perceive Islamism, even when it is standing in plain sight. For example, the King Fahd Academy in Bonn-Bad Godesberg (Germany) has been celebrated by politicians and church leaders as a place of mutual understanding for peoples and religions, as if that had ever or anywhere been the goal of Saudi Arabia. Today central Bad Godesberg has as many business signs and advertisements in Arabic as in German, and Bonn has become a virtual Mecca for Islamists. In comparison by population size, there is no other German city with so many Islamists.

To be sure, this does not have to do with Schadenfreude, nor with claiming, ‚we always knew.‘ Turkey, under the rule of law, protecting human rights, would not only have been extremely desirable, but would also have had enormous effects across the Muslim world.

In any case, whether or not the dream of a democratic Turkey ever had a chance of becoming reality, or if Erdogan is only a polished tactician who is able to hold his breath for a long time: the dream has come to an end, and under President Erdogan, Turkey is seeking to position itself as the leading voice of all Muslims, including violent Muslims, in direct competition with Iran and Saudi Arabia. Turkey is no longer a part of the solution for violence in the Middle East; it is now a part of the problem. Realpolitik must very soberly take that fact into foreign policy calculations.”

The member States of the Organisation of the Islamic Cooperation (OIC) have 300 million Christian citizens

11. August 2016 von · Leave a Comment 

A Commentary based on a table of member countries of the OIC and the religion of their citizens – a statistical research project of the International Institute of Religious Freedom (2013, translated 2016)

By Thomas Schirrmacher, 2013

This was published in German as “In den Mitgliedsstaaten der Organisation Islamischer Kooperation (OIC) leben 320 Millionen Christen”. S. 170-178 in: Thomas Schirrmacher, Max Klingberg, Ron Kubsch (Hg.). Das Jahrbuch zur Verfolgung und Diskriminierung von Christen heute – 2013. Bonn: VKW, 2013. ISBN 978-3-86269-080-0. The original German article can be found here.

This contribution is based on two tables, which list all states of the Organisation of the Islamic Cooperation (OIC) in alphabetical order and give numbers of Muslims and non-Muslim and as part of the latter group, of all Christians. Both tables can be found here (2010) and here (2012/2013).

The numbers of the first table are taken from „The World’s Religions in Figure“, 2013, based on „World Religion Database“ as of Januar 2012. „OW“ each time gives an alternative number in brackets from the second table, based on „Operation World“, 2010.)

The 52 member and 5 observer states of the Organisation of the Islamic Cooperation (OIC) have 1.77 billion (OW: 1.8 billion) inhabitants. 70.8 % (OW: 71 %), that is 1.254 billion (OW: 1.274 billion), are Muslims, 29.2 % (OW: 28.7 %) are non-Muslims (= 0.52 billion, OW: 0.51 billion). Roughly two thirds of the non-Muslims are Christians, that is 333 millions (OW 324 millions), or 18.8 % (OW: 18.6 %) of the inhabitants of the OIC-states.

If one does not count the observer state (which the OIC itself never leaves out), there are 1,56 billion inhabitants (OW: 1,58). 79,4 % (OW: 79,1 %) are Muslims (= 1,24 billions, OW: 1,25 millions ), 20,6 % (OW: 20,5 %) are non-Muslims (= 429 millions, OW: 323 millions), including 13,5 % (OW: 14,2 %) Christians (= 211 millions, OW: 224 millions).

As the OIC by definition only speaks on behalf of Islam and Muslims alone, more than half a billion people are represented by an organisation, that ignores or even denies their rights.

OIC’s website says (retrieved 12/06/2013):

„The Organization is the collective voice of the Muslim world and ensuring to safeguard and protect the interests of the Muslim world.“ „The Organization has the singular honor to galvanize the Ummah into a unified body and have actively represented the Muslims by espousing all causes close to the hearts of over 1.5 billion Muslims of the world.“

So it seems, that the OIC just counts the non-Muslim citizens as Muslims. And it is very clear, that they do not work for the interests of their non-Muslim citizens, but have them pay for the expansion of Islam via their taxes. The intensive actions within the United Nations – the OIC is the largest body of states in the world beside the UN – always was and still is only in favour of Islam.

The strangest members of OIC are those, where Muslims are not the majority of the population. Look at the percentage of Muslims in the following member states of the OIC:

  • Benin 24.5 % (OW: 23.5 %) Muslims
  • Cameroon 20 % (OW: 26 %)
  • Cote dÍvoire 40,6 % (OW: 41.8 %)
  • Gabon 10,2 % (OW: 10 %)
  • Gyana 7,5 % (OW: 9.4 %)
  • Mozambique 17,5, % (OW: 18.6 %)
  • Nigeria 45,5 % (OW: 45.1 %)
  • Surinam 15,9 % (OW: 16.9 %)
  • Uganda 11,7 % (OW: 11.5 %)

[One has to add the following observer states with non-Muslim majority:

  • Russia 10,4 % (OW: 12.5 %) Muslims
  • Thailand 5,9 % (OW: 7.9 % )
  • Central African Republic 13,7 % (OW: 13.8 %)]

Why are those states members of OIC? Why do they pay and work for the sole expansion and protection of Islam and against the interests of the majority of their citizens?

Think for a moment, there would be a similar organisation like the OIC made up of Christian states. Nigeria would be a member and would work towards the expansion of Christendom and bypass its Millions of Muslim citizens!

I would like to add one further thought. The OIC does not even work on behalf of Muslim minorities within their own countries. The OIC only speaks up on behalf of Muslim minorities in non-Muslim countries. And even there, it speaks up for mainstream Islam, never for minorities from minor wings of Islam, and surely not for those minorities seen as ‘sect’ outside Islam. Wikipedia writes rightly so (retrieved 17/08/2012):

„The OIC has been criticised for diverting its activities solely on Muslim minorities within majority non-Muslim countries but putting a taboo on the plight, the treatment of ethnic minorities within Muslim-majority countries, such as the oppression of the Kurds in Syria, the Ahwaz in Iran, the Hazaras in Afghanistan, the Baluchis in Pakistan, the ‘Al-Akhdam’ in Yemen, or the Berbers in Algeria.“

Wikipedia should have added the wording from the OIC-Charter, which clearly states as one of the goals of IC:

„to assist Muslim minorities and communities outside the Member States to preserve their dignity, cultural and religious identity“.

This is further proved by a report of the General Seceretary of OIC, Ekmleddin Ihsanoglu, in his major work (The Islamic World in the New Century: The Organisation of the Islamic Conference. Columbuia University Press: New York, 2010. 127-142).

International human rights indexes

A search through major international indexes related to specific human rights shows, that the OIC states first of all should urge each other to protect the dignity and human rights of its citizens. Following are some examples (these indices are all available in the web under their name, so we do not provide detailed links here):

The Democracy Index (2011) does not list one OIC member state as a ‘Full Democracy’, and only 3 of the 57 members are rated as ‘Flawed Democracy.’ The rest are rated either as ‘Authoritarian Regime’ or as ‘Hybrid Regime.’ The situation is even worse when looking at the countries only, which have a Muslim majority.

The Freedom in the World Report (2010) ranking the political rights and civil liberties only list 3 OIC member states as ‘Free’.

The Press Freedom Index (2011) by „Reporters Without Borders“ rated only Mali and Suriname among the 57 member states of the OIC having a ‘Satisfactory Situation’. All other members were rated between ‘Noticeable Problems’ down to ‘Very Serious Situation.’

The global rankings of global restrictions of religious freedom worldwide by the PEW Forum on Religion & Public Life and by the Hudson Institute report Religious Freedom in the World show that the OIC member countries, which have a large Muslim majority, mostly belong tot he countries with the highest restrictions on religions and that these restrictions have been growing between 2009 and 2011 (see „Global Restrictions on Religion“, Pew Forum on Religion & Public Life, December 2009. pp. 49-52; „Rising Restrictions on Religion“, Pew Forum on Religion & Public Life, August 2011; Hudson Institute’s Center for Religious Freedom: Paul A. Marshall. Religious Freedom in the World. Plymouth UK, 2008. pp. 5-7).

The newest published research by the US Commission on International Religious Freedom, which only studied the written constitutions and laws of the OIC member states with a Muslim majority, not the actual situation, shows, that Islam is the state religion and sharia the highest law of the country in 18 states, while another 4 states only declare Islam to be the state religion and one state mentions sharia as the highest law alone.

Comment on the approximate numbers for South-Sudan, which had to be subtracted from Sudan (united), as all available figures come from the time before the division of the country (10 Mio. inhabitants, 220.000 Muslims, 9,8 Mio. Non-Muslims including 7,7 Mio. Christians). [The statistics of the „The World’s Religions in Figures“ already list North- and Southsudan seperately.]

Inside the Vatican Synod on Family
An Expert Evangelical’s View as a Fraternal Delegate

7. August 2016 von · Leave a Comment 

Collected blog posts October 4 – 25 on Christian Post

During the Vatican synod I blogged more or less daily on Christian Post. Now those blogs have been proofread by Thomas K. Johnson and nicely collected into a PDF-file:


Downloads:

Plausibility test of PEW reports on restrictions of religion: Cross-sectional country comparison for the years 2007 to 2014

3. August 2016 von · Leave a Comment 

Thomas Schirrmacher (translated by Christof Sauer)

This is a plausibility test of the “Restriction of Religion” Reports of the PEW Forum of Religion and Public Life published 2009-2016

Introductory notes

Between 2009 and 2016, the Pew Research Center’s Forum on Religion & Public Life published five global reports on religious freedom. They include comprehensive rankings, the development of which were compared in different variations.

A plausibility assessment at an early stage is standard procedure regarding all statistics and scientific research outcomes. It has the potential to uncover weaknesses in investigations early on without having to say where the implausible results stem from.

The categorization of individual countries in the PEW reports did not appear very plausible to me. Countries with rather liberal religious freedom received very poor evaluations, and countries with serious restrictions received positive ratings. For instance, in 2013 Germany received a Social Hostilities Index (SHI) rating of 4.5, worse than Saudi Arabia’s rating of 3.6. Additionally, a number of countries fluctuated significantly over the six years examined, during which, from my point of view, there were no notable changes standing out regarding the situation. Furthermore, there were significant differences in the classification of countries when compared to the results of other researchers.

I thus began to compare countries by looking at a number of countries over time. I then looked at countries reported on for a single year period, and then over time, and compared countries with each other. The outcome of this sample examination can be found below and raises considerable doubts regarding the reliability of the results.

One possible reason for such results could lie in the fact that the data base for the reports is very thin. There is actually no on-site research underlying the PEW religious freedom reports. Likewise, there is no elaboration by experts within the prospective countries or by external experts on those countries. [That is unusual since the Pew Foundation otherwise conducts comprehensive surveys and research on religion, etc., in many countries.] The results emanate exclusively from encoding other reports. Again, among those reports there is none which results from on-site research. Additionally, all 18 reports are highly dependent upon each other.

Reports, abbreviations, scores

  • PEW report 2009 = status mid-2007
  • PEW 2011 = mid-2009
  • PEW 2012 = mid-2010
  • PEW 2013 = end 2011
  • PEW 2014 = end 2012
  • PEW 2015 = end 2013
  • PEW 2016 = end 2014

All dates given below refer to the status date and not to the years in which the PEW reports were published.

GRI = Government Restrictions [on Religion] Index

SHI = Social Hostilities Index

GRI: „Very high“ = 6.6 or higher; „High“ = 4.5 to 6.5; „Moderate“ = 2.4 to 4.4; „Low“ = 0.0 to 2.3

SHI: „Very high“ = 7.2 or higher; „High“ = 3.6 to 7.1; „Moderate“ = 1.5 to 3.5; „Low“ = 0.0 to 1.4

Testing the scores on Germany

a) Chronological cross-section

Germany GRI scores: 2007: 3.1; 2008: 3.2; 2009: 3.5; 2010 4.0; 2011 3.5; 2013: 4.5; 2014: 3.4. Has there really been a worsening in government restrictions on religious freedom from moderate in 2007 to high in 2013 and then back again? No. The score was already too high in 2007. In addition, there is no proof whatsoever that legal restrictions on religious freedom have strongly increased during this six-year period.

Germany SHI scores: 2007: 2.1; 2008: 2.5; 2009: 3.3; 2010: 5.3; 2011: 5.0; 2013: 4.3; 2014: 2.5. This set of scores suggests considerable fluctuation, whereas in reality the situation is quite stable. The scores for 2007 to 2009 and 2014 may be considered valid, the scores for 2011 and 2013 are much too high.

The GRI should be quite low and the SHI much higher in Germany, but PEW says that in 2007 the SHI was by far the lower of the two scores, and in 2013 it was still slightly lower, in opposition to reality.

b) Cross-national comparisons with Germany for 2013

Germany GRI 2013: 4.5:
Countries with comparable scores (+/– 0.2) included Libya, Palestinian autonomous regions, Ethiopia, UAE, Greece, and Nepal
Countries with a slightly better score than Germany included Nigeria and Liberia
Countries with a much better score than Germany included South Sudan, Serbia, Hungary, Italy, and Cambodia.
That is really a strange result.

Comparison between Germany and the geographical area of Europe on the 2013 GRI:

Only three countries scored worse than Germany: Belarus, Bulgaria, Russia. Countries scoring better included Austria, Bosnia-Herzegovina, Georgia, Italy, Malta, Serbia, Greece, and Hungary. Accordingly, Germany would place near the bottom in matters of governmental restrictions of religious freedom within Europe. That is far from reality.

Testing other countries

Bulgaria SHI: 2007: 2.2; 2009: 4.0; 2010: 2.2; 2011: 4.7; 2012: 4.4; 2013: 3.6; 2014: 2.8. The score constantly fluctuates, even though the situation on the ground is stable.

Indonesia GRI: 2007: 6.2; 2012: 8.3; 2013: 8.5; 2014: 7.9: Allegedly increasing significantly, although in reality the problems are decreasing. Compare Iran GRI: 2007: 7.9; 2012: 8.6; 2013: 8.3; 2014: 7.7. Is the situation in Indonesia as bad as or even a little worse than in Iran? I think that is nonsensical.

Mexico GRI: 2007=2008: 4.7; 2009: 4.2; 2010: 3.5; 2011: 3.6; 2012: 3.9; 2013 3.4; 2014: 4.5; SHI: 2007: 5.5; 2008: 4.7; 2009: 5.1; 2010: 3.6; 2011: 3.2; 2012: 6.7; 2013: 3.7; 2014: 4.2: Did the situation really improve decidedly in 2013? Is a jump in the SHI score from 6.7 in 2012 to 3.7 within one year plausible? And is there any evidence for such movement?
Also see the SHI: the 2012 and 2007 scores are very bad; 2010. 2011, and 2013 are much better. But there is no evidence for that.

Brazil SHI: 2007: 0.8; 2013: 3.7; 2014: 3.5. There is no evidence for such a dramatic worsening from one of the best countries to a country with real problems, while the GRI is one of the best all those years.

Iraq SHI: 2007: 10.0; 2012: 9.0; 2013: 7.4; 2014: 8.5. Has there been such an improvement regarding social hostilities in Iraq for 2013? The same could be asked about Syria.

Saudi Arabia: SHI: 2011: 6.5; 2012: 6.4; 2013: 3.6; 2014: 3.6: There is no evidence for such a strong improvement of the SHI, which has fallen to the same level as for Germany.

Hungary GRI: 2007: 0.3; 2011: 1.0; 2012: 2.4; 2013: 2.9; 2014: 2.8; SRI: 2007: 1.0; 2011: 2.0; 2012: 2.7; end of 2013: 2.4; 2014: 2.2: In reality there has been a considerable worsening of the situation, which is not reflected in the scores. Hungary here scores considerably better than Germany, whereas religious minorities see the situation the other way around.

Various countries received a very low SHI score (below 0.5) in 2013 when in fact a deeply rooted hatred of other ‘races’ or social groups and a strong antagonism between the respective religiously diverse groups exist. Examples: Jamaica SHI 2013: 0.4; Cambodia 0.4; Cuba 0.0; Kazakhstan 1.0; Taiwan 0.0; Turkmenistan 0.4; Oman 0.1; Western Sahara 0.0; Congo 0.0.

Examination of the sources (18 reports)

Only 4 out of the 18 reports deal specifically with religious freedom. All other reports deal with discrimination in a broader sense or with other topics.

It is explicitly stated that the second source is the main source and that all others are consulted in addition only when there are discrepancies (Jan 2014: p. 40). This means e.g. that Germany owes its poor scores mainly to the very negative comments in source 2.

I choose the report for 2013. The report for 2014 deletes one report on religious freedom (Hudson, no. 6) and the reports by Amnesty International (no. 11) and replaces them by the Global Terrorism Database (now no. 10), which weakens the direct religious freedom data further.

All reports that mention tensions are relevant for the SHI, which reports on tensions due to racial and other reasons. But none of them gather data specifically focused on discrimination carried out by the majority population due to their religious adherence. Therefore, the SHI for Germany rather makes a statement about the relationship of Germans to foreigners than about their relationship to adherents of other religions. However, this problem is nowhere addressed by PEW.

None of the said reports is striving for exhaustiveness by their nature. They tend to report what information they receive or learn through the media. Does this mean that if there is a lot of negative reporting about a country, the score rises, whereas if there is little reporting at all, the score falls? Or how does the score evaluate the quantity and quality of instances in relationship to the size of a country’s population?

Furthermore, the reports assess quite varying time frames, and they often make statements that go beyond the previous 12 months. Nevertheless, they are still attributed to a fixed one-year period by PEW.

None of these reports aims to determine any kind of ranking or scores. The PEW methodology simply makes use of the events listed in those reports. If any statement in the PEW reports gives the impression that they are based on value judgments found in other reports, such a statement is misleading.

Many of the source reports, such as USCIRF, report only on selected countries, usually 36 or fewer (source no. 17 for 2012 = 0; source no. 12 for 2012 = 29). Only source no. 2 is reporting on all countries (except the USA). This means that a given country may be mentioned in only half of the 18 reports. No methodology is given that would prevent those countries that are mentioned in almost reports from faring worse than those covered in only a few of the sources.

The reports are in part strongly interdependent and point to each other as sources. This makes them unsuitable for a scholarly ranking. For example, the reports by the US State Department quote most of the other 17 reports of human rights organizations (e.g. AI, HRW). In turn, these other reports frequently quote the reports by the State Department or the US government in general.

Reports no. 2, 3, 4, 14 and 16 are political and official government reports from within US government, but not scholarly reports. Reports no. 9 and 10 emanate from other governments or networks of governments.

No scholars in the countries themselves are being consulted by PEW, not even for a plausibility assessment of the results.

None of the reports contain original research on or in the countries (as PEW often does it, or as is done by the World Watch List [WWL] which focuses on Christianity only9.

Comments on the 17 reports used as sources by PEW (latest report)

1. Country constitutions

This information rarely changes from one year to the next and says little about the actual situation. Iran, for instance, has a good statement on religious freedom in its constitution.

2. US State Department annual Reports on International Religious Freedom

Their content is anecdotal, meaning that only events are included which have been reported to the State Department. It does not represent systematic global research. The contents are strongly dependent on positions of US foreign policy (see e.g. the report on Saudi Arabia) and on stereotypical views of other cultures.

The reports always start with what is listed under no 1. above and frequently refer to the reports named below as sources.

The points where Germany is scoring negatively on State Department reports are its alleged system of state-acknowledged religious bodies and alleged persecution of Scientology.

3. US Commission on International Religious Freedom annual reports

Annually covers between 10-15 countries of varying composition. Not significantly dependent on positions of US foreign policy, but the main task is to recommend “countries of concern” to the US Department of State.

4. UN Special Rapporteur on Freedom of Religion or Belief reports

Annually only reports on very few countries, changing from year to year based on what countries have been visited by the rapporteur. This means there is no comparative reporting on the same country year after year.

5. Human Rights First reports in first and second years of coding; Freedom House reports in third, fourth and fifth years of coding

This is a general report on democracy, which does not specifically cover religious freedom.

6. Hudson Institute publication: “Religious Freedom in the World” 2008 (Paul Marshall)

This is a very good report. But since it appeared only once, it cannot be used for year-to-year comparisons.

7-17. All these are human rights reports which do not specifically deal with questions of religion and only provide anecdotes.

7. Human Rights Watch topical reports

8. International Crisis Group country reports

9. United Kingdom Foreign & Commonwealth Office annual report on human rights

10. Council of the European Union annual report on human rights

11. Amnesty International reports

12. European Network against Racism shadow reports

13. UN High Commissioner for Refugees reports

14. US State Department annual Country Reports on Terrorism

15. Anti-Defamation League reports

16. US State Department Country Reports on Human Rights Practices

17. Uppsala University’s Uppsala Conflict Data Program, Armed Conflict Database

18. Human Rights Without Frontiers, “Freedom of Religion or Belief” newsletters

This is a very good newsletter, but it (1) almost exclusively forwards news from other sources, and (2) forwards only what is readily available. Therefore, some countries are almost never covered, whith others being reported almost on a daily basis.

Thomas Schirrmacher