Monica Broussard

Christian News

U.S. Religious Freedom Report Finds ‘Worsening’ Conditions Worldwide

 

Photo Credit: Yejun Kim FI

WASHINGTON — An annual government report outlining the state of affairs for religious freedom across the globe has found “worsening” conditions worldwide, and urges the U.S. Department of State to designate 16 nations as Countries of Particular Concern (CPC).

“Overall, the Commission has concluded that the state of affairs for international religious freedom is worsening in both the depth and breadth of violations,” said U.S. Commission on International Religious Freedom (USCIRF) Chairman Thomas Reese in a statement.

“The blatant assaults have become so frightening—attempted genocide, the slaughter of innocents, and wholesale destruction of places of worship—that less egregious abuses go unnoticed or at least unappreciated. Many observers have become numb to violations of  the right to freedom of thought, conscience, and religion,” the Commission’s report also outlined.

USCIRF has determined that six additional countries meet the criteria for the CPC list, which for years has already included Burma, China, Eritrea, Iran, North Korea, Saudi Arabia, Sudan, Tajikistan, Turkmenistan, and Uzbekistan. This year, it was requested that the Central African Republic, Nigeria, Pakistan, Russia, Syria and Vietnam also be listed as countries of concern.

In Nigeria, “Christian leaders in the northern states continued to report to USCIRF that state governments discriminate against Christians by denying applications to build or repair places of worship, access to education, representation in government bodies, and employment. They also reported that Christian girls are abducted by Muslim men to be brides,” the report explained.

It noted that the Islamic terror group Boko Haram often forces Christians to convert or die, and that two Nigerian women were killed by angry mobs last year after being accused of blasphemy.

The Commission outlined that similarly, it is illegal in Pakistan to defile the Koran or to blaspheme the Islamic prophet Muhammad. Those who violate the law suffer devastating consequences.

“In January 2017, an antiterrorism court acquitted more than 100 suspects accused of participating in the January 2013 attack on Joseph Colony, a predominantly Christian neighborhood in Lahore, Punjab Province. The attack was sparked when a Christian resident was accused of blasphemy. A mob of approximately 3,000 individuals destroyed more than 150 Christian homes, Christian businesses, and two churches, and forced hundreds of Christian families to flee,” it stated, lamenting that none have yet been charged for the crime.

And while officials in Vietnam have taken steps to improve religious liberty in the nation, “USCIRF received a report that in one incident, authorities arrested at least seven Montagnard Christians from the Central Highlands after police reportedly instructed the individuals to stop believing in God.”

USCIRF believes that Russia should additionally be designated a CPC as its Supreme Court banned all Jehovah’s Witnesses activities in the country last month in its crackdown on extremism. Additionally, in July, under the guise of combatting terrorism, Russian officials outlawed “missionary activities,” such as public preaching, one-on-one witnessing and the distribution of tracts.

“Over time, the Russian government has come to treat the Moscow Patriarchate of the Russian Orthodox Church (MPROC) as a de facto state church, strongly favoring it in various areas of state sponsorship, including subsidies, the education system, and military chaplaincies,” its report outlined. “This favoritism has fostered a climate of hostility toward other religions.”

It noted that 53 individuals or groups have been prosecuted for violating the missionary ban since it went into effect, 43 of whom were non-Orthodox.

The Commission requests that both Congress and the Trump administration continually speak up about religious freedom abuses around the world, both in public and in private meetings.

“You cannot have religious freedom without the freedom of worship, the freedom of association, the freedom of expression and opinion, the freedom of assembly, protection from arbitrary arrest and detention, [and] protection from interference in home and family. And you cannot have religious freedom without equal protection under the law. And on it goes,” the report states.

“Religious freedom, at its core, is the right of individuals and communities to manifest their religion or belief, and is a basic human right. Protecting that right falls to each and every one of us, requiring people from all countries, political views, and faiths to come together to fight religious persecution and work to protect religious freedom for all.”

 

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American Journal of Medicine

The following study was done for Fetal microchimerism for Male microchimerism in women who had given birth. What is alarming is that group D had never been pregnant and had the male DNA in their brain with the conclusion being the source being sexual intercourse. Read below or go to the American Journal of Medicine.

Abstract

Purpose

Fetal microchimerism, derived from fetal cells that persist after pregnancy, is usually evaluated by tests for male microchimerism in women who gave birth to sons. We investigated male microchimerism in women without sons and examined correlation with prior pregnancy history. Immunologic consequences of microchimerism are unknown. We studied healthy women and women with rheumatoid arthritis (RA).

Methods

Y-chromosome-specific real-time quantitative polymerase chain reaction was used to test peripheral blood mononuclear cells of 120 women (49 healthy and 71 with RA). Results were expressed as the number of male cells that would be equivalent to the total amount of male DNA detected within a sample containing the equivalent of 100 000 female cells.

Results

Male microchimerism was found in 21% of women overall. Healthy women and women with RA did not significantly differ (24% vs 18%). Results ranged from the DNA equivalent of 0 to 20.7 male cells per 100 000 female cells. Women were categorized into 4 groups according to pregnancy history. Group A had only daughters (n = 26), Group B had spontaneous abortions (n = 23), Group C had induced abortions (n = 23), and Group D were nulligravid (n = 48). Male microchimerism prevalence was significantly greater in Group C than other groups (8%, 22%, 57%, 10%, respectively). Levels were also significantly higher in the induced abortion group.

Conclusions

Male microchimerism was not infrequent in women without sons. Besides known pregnancies, other possible sources of male microchimerism include unrecognized spontaneous abortion, vanished male twin, an older brother transferred by the maternal circulation, or sexual intercourse. Male microchimerism was significantly more frequent and levels were higher in women with induced abortion than in women with other pregnancy histories. Further studies are needed to determine specific origins of male microchimerism in women.

Science Daily

Science News
from research organizations

Male DNA commonly found in women’s brains, likely from prior pregnancy with a male fetus

Date:
September 26, 2012
Source:
Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center
Summary:
Male DNA is commonly found in the brains of women, most likely derived from prior pregnancy with a male fetus, according to first-of-its-kind research conducted at Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center. While the medical implications of male DNA and male cells in the brain are unknown, studies of other kinds of microchimerism – the harboring of genetic material and cells that were exchanged between fetus and mother during pregnancy – have linked the phenomenon to autoimmune diseases and cancer, sometimes for better and other times for worse.

 

Male DNA is commonly found in the brains of women, most likely derived from prior pregnancy with a male fetus, according to first-of-its-kind research conducted at Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center. While the medical implications of male DNA and male cells in the brain are unknown, studies of other kinds of microchimerism -- the harboring of genetic material and cells that were exchanged between fetus and mother during pregnancy -- have linked the phenomenon to autoimmune diseases and cancer, sometimes for better and other times for worse.

The study findings are published Sept. 26 in PLOS ONE. Lead author William F. N. Chan, Ph.D., in the Department of Biochemistry at the University of Alberta, conducted the research while working in the Hutchinson Center laboratory of J. Lee Nelson, M.D., a member of the Center's Clinical Research Division and a leading international authority on microchimerism. Nelson is senior author on the paper.

Chan said the study is the first description of male microchimerism in the female human brain. The findings support the likelihood that fetal cells frequently cross the human blood-brain barrier and that microchimerism in the brain is relatively common. Until this study, it was not known whether these cells could cross the barrier in humans. For this research, scientists examined brain autopsy specimens from 59 women who had died between the ages of 32 and 101. Male microchimerism was detected in 63 percent of subjects, was distributed in multiple brain regions and was potentially persistent throughout the human lifespan; the oldest female in whom male fetal DNA was detected in the brain was 94.

Twenty six of the women had no neurological disease and 33 had Alzheimer's disease. The brains of women with Alzheimer's had a somewhat lower prevalence of male microchimerism, which appeared in lower concentrations in regions of the brain most affected by the disease. However, the authors noted that the small number of subjects and largely unknown pregnancy history of the women means a link between Alzheimer's disease and level of male cells of fetal origin cannot be established.

The study also does not provide an association between male microchimerism in the female brain and relative health versus disease. "Currently, the biological significance of harboring male DNA and male cells in the human brain requires further investigation," Chan said.

However, other Hutchinson Center studies of male microchimerism in women have found it to impact a woman's risk of developing some types of cancer and autoimmune disease. In some conditions, such as breast cancer, cells of fetal origin are thought to confer protection; in others, such as colon cancer, they have been associated with increased risk. Hutchinson Center studies also have linked lower risk of rheumatoid arthritis to women who previously had given birth at least once as compared to nulliparous women. Grants from the National Institutes of Health and the Canadian Institutes of Health Research funded the study, which also involved researchers from the Department of Pathology and Division of Rheumatology at the University of Washington School of Medicine.