|Score:||64 / 100|
|Persecution Type:||Religious Nationalism|
|Persecution Level:||Very High|
|Government:||Federal Parliamentary Republic|
|Leader:||President Bidhya Devi Bhandari|
Profile of Persecution Methodology
Where Persecution Comes From
Religious nationalism is the main cause of Christian persecution in Nepal, with radical Hindu groups, the government and local communities all working to maintain Nepal’s Hindu identity. While the country’s new constitution (adopted in 2015) officially promotes secularism, radical Hindu groups seek to make Nepal a Hindu state again, and the government has declared conversion and proselytism illegal. Because Nepal has one of the fastest-growing Christian populations in the world, persecution of believers is intensified. Pressure from neighboring India has led to an increase in radical Hindu activity as of late, much of it targeting Christians.
How Christians are Suffering
All Christian communities in Nepal are experiencing some form of persecution, but at varying levels of intensity. Roman Catholic churches and others where foreigners gather experience the least problems. Converts from Hinduism experience the worst pressure, as they are viewed as deviating from the faith of their ancestors. Converts and Protestant churches are particularly pressured by family, friends, community and local authorities to recant their faith. From time to time, Hindu radicals take advantage of the ongoing political instability by attacking Christians, oftentimes with impunity.
The Christian community is petitioning the government to allot them land to officially bury their dead, but the issue remains unresolved.
In June 2016, seven people, including proprietors of two private schools, were arrested in the Dolakha district, accused of converting others to Christianity because they were distributing Bible handbooks to children. A few days later, authorities also took Rev. Shakti Pakhrin into custody for his ties with people already under investigation for proselytizing. They were all acquitted in December 2016.
In April 2017, “unknown persons” attempted to set the Catholic Cathedral in Kathmandu on fire. The fire damaged the priest’s residence and the western part of the church. A car and two motorbikes were also completely burnt. No casualties were reported. (source: UCAN)
Pray for Nepal
- Pray with converts from Hinduism, who experience persecution from their family and community and are at risk under new, restrictive laws. Pray for their protection and discernment to know when and where to share their faith.
- Pray for the Nepali government, which has recently passed an even stricter set of laws. Pray that God would move among them and change their hearts toward openness to religious freedom.
- Pray with Hindu Christians who face the ever-present threat of violence and attacks from Hindu radicals. Pray for safety and for them to sense God’s presence and love for them.