The New York Times today reported in separate stories on two cases of religious persecution this week, concerning headscarves in France and public prayer in China.
France's ban on headscarves that fully veil the face came into effect today, resulting in the detention of two women who protested at Notre Dame Cathedral. The law is expected to affect 2.000 women who were a naqib or burqa.
The Times reports, "As debate flared over the law last year, Jean-François Copé, the parliamentary leader of President Nicolas Sarkozy’s party, defended the bill on the grounds of public security and as an important assertion of French identity and values. Mr. Sarkozy himself has said, “The burqa is not welcome in France because it is contrary to our values and contrary to the ideals we have of a woman’s dignity.”" Find the full article here.
In China, officials are cracking down on Christians who worship at non-state sanctioned churches. This weekend, 100 members of a Protestant house church were detained for praying in a public plaza in Beijing. The pastor of the church responded to the crackdown in his sermon: "At this time, the challenges we face are massive. For everything that we have faced, we offer our thanks to God. Compared with what you faced on the cross, what we face now is truly insignificant.” Read more here.