Persecution
Overview
 
Persecution is the systematic mistreatment of an individual or group by another group. The most common forms are religious persecution
Religious persecution
Religious persecution is the systematic mistreatment of an individual or group of individuals as a response to their religious beliefs or affiliations or lack thereof....

, ethnic persecution, and political persecution, though there is naturally some overlap between these terms. The inflicting of suffering, harassment, isolation, imprisonment, fear, or pain are all factors that may establish persecution. Even so, not all suffering will necessarily establish persecution.
Quotations

Christianity has made martyrdom sublime, and sorrow triumphant.

Edwin Hubbell Chapin, reported in Josiah Hotchkiss Gilbert, Dictionary of Burning Words of Brilliant Writers (1895), p. 450.

Encyclopedia
Persecution is the systematic mistreatment of an individual or group by another group. The most common forms are religious persecution
Religious persecution
Religious persecution is the systematic mistreatment of an individual or group of individuals as a response to their religious beliefs or affiliations or lack thereof....

, ethnic persecution, and political persecution, though there is naturally some overlap between these terms. The inflicting of suffering, harassment, isolation, imprisonment, fear, or pain are all factors that may establish persecution. Even so, not all suffering will necessarily establish persecution. The suffering experienced by the victim must be sufficiently severe. The threshold level of severity has been a source of much debate.

International law

As part of the Nuremberg Principles
Nuremberg Principles
The Nuremberg principles were a set of guidelines for determining what constitutes a war crime. The document was created by the International Law Commission of the United Nations to codify the legal principles underlying the Nuremberg Trials of Nazi party members following World War II.- Principle...

, crimes against humanity are part of international law. Principle VI of the Nuremberg Principles
Nuremberg Principles
The Nuremberg principles were a set of guidelines for determining what constitutes a war crime. The document was created by the International Law Commission of the United Nations to codify the legal principles underlying the Nuremberg Trials of Nazi party members following World War II.- Principle...

 states that


Telford Taylor
Telford Taylor
Telford Taylor was an American lawyer best known for his role in the Counsel for the Prosecution at the Nuremberg Trials after World War II, his opposition to Senator Joseph McCarthy in the 1950s, and his outspoken criticism of U.S...

, who was Counsel for the Prosecution at the Nuremberg Trials wrote "[at] the Nuremberg war crimes trials, the tribunals rebuffed several efforts by the prosecution to bring such 'domestic' atrocities within the scope of international law as 'crimes against humanity'". Several subsequent international treaties incorporate this principle, but some have dropped the restriction "in connection with any crime against peace or any war crime" that is in Nuremberg Principles.

The Rome Statute of the International Criminal Court
International Criminal Court
The International Criminal Court is a permanent tribunal to prosecute individuals for genocide, crimes against humanity, war crimes, and the crime of aggression .It came into being on 1 July 2002—the date its founding treaty, the Rome Statute of the...

, which is binding on 111 states, defines crimes against humanity in Article 7.1. The article criminalises certain acts "committed as part of a widespread or systematic attack directed against any civilian population, with knowledge of the attack". These include:

Religious persecution

Religious persecution is systematic mistreatment of an individual or group due to their religious affiliation
Religion
Religion is a collection of cultural systems, belief systems, and worldviews that establishes symbols that relate humanity to spirituality and, sometimes, to moral values. Many religions have narratives, symbols, traditions and sacred histories that are intended to give meaning to life or to...

. Not only theorists of secularization
Secularization
Secularization is the transformation of a society from close identification with religious values and institutions toward non-religious values and secular institutions...

 (who presume a decline of religiosity
Religiosity
Religiosity, in its broadest sense, is a comprehensive sociological term used to refer to the numerous aspects of religious activity, dedication, and belief . Another term that would work equally well, though is less often used, is religiousness...

 in general) would willingly assume that religious persecution is a thing of the past. However, with the rise of fundamentalism
Fundamentalism
Fundamentalism is strict adherence to specific theological doctrines usually understood as a reaction against Modernist theology. The term "fundamentalism" was originally coined by its supporters to describe a specific package of theological beliefs that developed into a movement within the...

 and religiously related terrorism
Religious terrorism
Religious terrorism is terrorism by those whose motivations and aims have a predominant religious character or influence.In the modern age, after the decline of ideas such as the divine right of kings and with the rise of nationalism, terrorism more often involved anarchism, nihilism and...

, this assumption has become even more controversial. Indeed, in many countries of the world today, religious persecution is a human rights
Human rights
Human rights are "commonly understood as inalienable fundamental rights to which a person is inherently entitled simply because she or he is a human being." Human rights are thus conceived as universal and egalitarian . These rights may exist as natural rights or as legal rights, in both national...

 problem.

Atheists

Atheist
Atheism
Atheism is, in a broad sense, the rejection of belief in the existence of deities. In a narrower sense, atheism is specifically the position that there are no deities...

s have experienced persecution throughout history. Persecution may refer to unwarranted arrest, imprisonment, beating, torture, or execution. It also may refer to the confiscation or destruction of property.

Bahá'ís

The persecution of Bahá'ís refers to the religious persecution
Religious persecution
Religious persecution is the systematic mistreatment of an individual or group of individuals as a response to their religious beliefs or affiliations or lack thereof....

 of Bahá'ís in various countries, especially in Iran
Iran
Iran , officially the Islamic Republic of Iran , is a country in Southern and Western Asia. The name "Iran" has been in use natively since the Sassanian era and came into use internationally in 1935, before which the country was known to the Western world as Persia...

, the location of one of the largest Bahá'í populations in the world. The Bahá'í Faith
Bahá'í Faith
The Bahá'í Faith is a monotheistic religion founded by Bahá'u'lláh in 19th-century Persia, emphasizing the spiritual unity of all humankind. There are an estimated five to six million Bahá'ís around the world in more than 200 countries and territories....

 originated in Iran, and represents the largest religious minority in that country.

Christians

The persecution of Christians is religious persecution
Religious persecution
Religious persecution is the systematic mistreatment of an individual or group of individuals as a response to their religious beliefs or affiliations or lack thereof....

 that Christian
Christian
A Christian is a person who adheres to Christianity, an Abrahamic, monotheistic religion based on the life and teachings of Jesus of Nazareth as recorded in the Canonical gospels and the letters of the New Testament...

s sometimes undergo as a consequence of professing their faith
Christianity
Christianity is a monotheistic religion based on the life and teachings of Jesus as presented in canonical gospels and other New Testament writings...

, both historically and in the current era. In the two thousand years of the Christian faith, about 70 million believers have been killed for their faith, of whom 45.5 million or 65% were in the twentieth century according to "The New Persecuted" ("I Nuovi Perseguitati"). 200 million Christians are vulnerable to persecution in the world, especially in wartorn Iraq
Iraq
Iraq ; officially the Republic of Iraq is a country in Western Asia spanning most of the northwestern end of the Zagros mountain range, the eastern part of the Syrian Desert and the northern part of the Arabian Desert....

 & other middle Eastern countries and parts of Asia
Asia
Asia is the world's largest and most populous continent, located primarily in the eastern and northern hemispheres. It covers 8.7% of the Earth's total surface area and with approximately 3.879 billion people, it hosts 60% of the world's current human population...

.

Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints

With the Missouri extermination order
Extermination order
An Extermination order is an order given by a government sanctioning mass removal or death. The term is often associated with genocide.Extermination orders were issued in conjunction with the following events:* Armenian genocide...

 Mormons became the only religious group to have a state of the United States legalize the extermination of their religion. Their forcible expulsion from the state caused the death of hundreds due to exposure, starvation, and resulting illnesses. The Mormons suffered through tarring and feathering
Tarring and feathering
Tarring and feathering is a physical punishment, used to enforce unofficial justice or revenge. It was used in feudal Europe and its colonies in the early modern period, as well as the early American frontier, mostly as a type of mob vengeance .-Description:In a typical tar-and-feathers attack, the...

, their lands and possessions being repeatedly taken from them, mob attacks, false imprisonments, and the US sending an army to Utah to deal with the "Mormon problem" in the Utah War
Utah War
The Utah War, also known as the Utah Expedition, Buchanan's Blunder, the Mormon War, or the Mormon Rebellion was an armed confrontation between LDS settlers in the Utah Territory and the armed forces of the United States government. The confrontation lasted from May 1857 until July 1858...

. A government militia slaughtered Mormons in what is now known as the Haun's Mill massacre
Haun's Mill massacre
The Haun's Mill massacre was an event in the history of the Latter Day Saint movement. It occurred on October 30, 1838 when a mob/militia unit from Livingston County attacked a Mormon settlement in eastern Caldwell County, Missouri, United States, after the Battle of Crooked River...

. The Founder of the Mormons, Joseph Smith, was killed in Carthage, Illinois by a mob of about 200 men, almost all of whom were members of the Illinois state militia.

Jehovah's Witnesses

Throughout the history of Jehovah's Witnesses
Jehovah's Witnesses
Jehovah's Witnesses is a millenarian restorationist Christian denomination with nontrinitarian beliefs distinct from mainstream Christianity. The religion reports worldwide membership of over 7 million adherents involved in evangelism, convention attendance of over 12 million, and annual...

, their beliefs, doctrines and practices have engendered controversy and opposition from the local governments, communities, or mainstream Christian groups.

Jews

The persecution of Jews occurred many times in Jewish history
Jewish history
Jewish history is the history of the Jews, their religion and culture, as it developed and interacted with other peoples, religions and cultures. Since Jewish history is over 4000 years long and includes hundreds of different populations, any treatment can only be provided in broad strokes...

.

Muslims

Persecution of Muslims is a recurring phenomenon from the beginning and throughout the history of Islam. Persecution may refer to unwarranted arrest, imprisonment, beating, torture, or execution. It also may refer to the confiscation or destruction of property, or incitement to hate Muslims. Persecution can extend beyond those who perceive themselves as Muslims to include those who are perceived by others as Muslims, or to Muslims which are considered by fellow Muslims as non-Muslims.

Ahmadis

The Ahmadiyya
Ahmadiyya
Ahmadiyya is an Islamic religious revivalist movement founded in India near the end of the 19th century, originating with the life and teachings of Mirza Ghulam Ahmad , who claimed to have fulfilled the prophecies about the world reformer of the end times, who was to herald the Eschaton as...

 regard themselves as Muslims, but are seen by many other Muslims as non-Muslims and "heretics". In 1984, the Government of Pakistan
Pakistan
Pakistan , officially the Islamic Republic of Pakistan is a sovereign state in South Asia. It has a coastline along the Arabian Sea and the Gulf of Oman in the south and is bordered by Afghanistan and Iran in the west, India in the east and China in the far northeast. In the north, Tajikistan...

, under General Zia-ul-Haq, passed Ordinance XX
Ordinance XX
Ordinance XX is an legal ordinance of the Government of Pakistan that was promulgated under the regime of General Zia-ul-Haq and is meant to restrict members of the Ahmadiyya Muslim Community from applying certain Islamic terms to their own religious practices and beliefs.-Precedent:Ordinance XLIV...

, which banned proselytizing by Ahmadis and also banned Ahmadis from referring to themselves as Muslim
Muslim
A Muslim, also spelled Moslem, is an adherent of Islam, a monotheistic, Abrahamic religion based on the Quran, which Muslims consider the verbatim word of God as revealed to prophet Muhammad. "Muslim" is the Arabic term for "submitter" .Muslims believe that God is one and incomparable...

s. According to this ordinance, any Ahmadi who refers to oneself as a Muslim by words, either spoken or written, or by visible representation, directly or indirectly, or makes the call for prayer as other Muslims do, is punishable by imprisonment of up to 3 years. Because of these difficulties, Mirza Tahir Ahmad
Mirza Tahir Ahmad
Mirza Tahir Ahmad was Khalifatul Masih IV, Caliph of the Ahmadiyya Muslim Community and fourth successor to Mirza Ghulam Ahmad...

 migrated to London, UK.

Hindus

Persecution of Hindus refers to the religious persecution
Religious persecution
Religious persecution is the systematic mistreatment of an individual or group of individuals as a response to their religious beliefs or affiliations or lack thereof....

 inflicted upon Hindu
Hindu
Hindu refers to an identity associated with the philosophical, religious and cultural systems that are indigenous to the Indian subcontinent. As used in the Constitution of India, the word "Hindu" is also attributed to all persons professing any Indian religion...

s. Hindus have been historically persecuted during Islam
Islam
Islam . The most common are and .   : Arabic pronunciation varies regionally. The first vowel ranges from ~~. The second vowel ranges from ~~~...

ic rule of the Indian subcontinent
Indian subcontinent
The Indian subcontinent, also Indian Subcontinent, Indo-Pak Subcontinent or South Asian Subcontinent is a region of the Asian continent on the Indian tectonic plate from the Hindu Kush or Hindu Koh, Himalayas and including the Kuen Lun and Karakoram ranges, forming a land mass which extends...

 and during Portuguese
Portugal
Portugal , officially the Portuguese Republic is a country situated in southwestern Europe on the Iberian Peninsula. Portugal is the westernmost country of Europe, and is bordered by the Atlantic Ocean to the West and South and by Spain to the North and East. The Atlantic archipelagos of the...

 rule
Goa Inquisition
The Goa Inquisition was the office of the Inquisition acting in the Indian state of Goa and the rest of the Portuguese empire in Asia. It was established in 1560, briefly suppressed from 1774–1778, and finally abolished in 1812. The Goan Inquisition is considered a blot on the history of...

 of Goa
Goa
Goa , a former Portuguese colony, is India's smallest state by area and the fourth smallest by population. Located in South West India in the region known as the Konkan, it is bounded by the state of Maharashtra to the north, and by Karnataka to the east and south, while the Arabian Sea forms its...

. In modern times, Hindus in Kashmir
Kashmir
Kashmir is the northwestern region of the Indian subcontinent. Until the mid-19th century, the term Kashmir geographically denoted only the valley between the Great Himalayas and the Pir Panjal mountain range...

, Pakistan
Pakistan
Pakistan , officially the Islamic Republic of Pakistan is a sovereign state in South Asia. It has a coastline along the Arabian Sea and the Gulf of Oman in the south and is bordered by Afghanistan and Iran in the west, India in the east and China in the far northeast. In the north, Tajikistan...

 and Bangladesh
Bangladesh
Bangladesh , officially the People's Republic of Bangladesh is a sovereign state located in South Asia. It is bordered by India on all sides except for a small border with Burma to the far southeast and by the Bay of Bengal to the south...

 have also suffered persecution.

Falun Gong

Falun Gong
Falun Gong
Falun Gong is a spiritual discipline first introduced in China in 1992 by its founder, Li Hongzhi, through public lectures. It combines the practice of meditation and slow-moving qigong exercises with the moral philosophy...

 was introduced to the general public by Li Hongzhi
Li Hongzhi
Li Hongzhi is the founder and spiritual master of Falun Gong , a "system of mind-body cultivation" in the qigong tradition. Li Hongzhi introduced Falun Gong on 13 May 1992 in Changchun, and subsequently gave lectures and taught Falun Gong exercises across China...

(李洪志) in Changchun
Changchun
Changchun is the capital and largest city of Jilin province, located in the northeast of the People's Republic of China, in the center of the Songliao Plain. It is administered as a sub-provincial city with a population of 7,677,089 at the 2010 census under its jurisdiction, including counties and...

, China
China
Chinese civilization may refer to:* China for more general discussion of the country.* Chinese culture* Greater China, the transnational community of ethnic Chinese.* History of China* Sinosphere, the area historically affected by Chinese culture...

, in 1992. For the next few years, Falun Gong was the fastest growing qigong
Qigong
Qigong or chi kung is a practice of aligning breath, movement, and awareness for exercise, healing, and meditation...

practice in Chinese history and, by 1999, there were between 70 and 100 million people practicing Falun Gong in China. Following the seven years of widespread popularity, on July 20, 1999, the government of the People's Republic of China
People's Republic of China
China , officially the People's Republic of China , is the most populous country in the world, with over 1.3 billion citizens. Located in East Asia, the country covers approximately 9.6 million square kilometres...

 began a nationwide persecution campaign against Falun Gong practitioners, except in the special administrative regions of Hong Kong
Hong Kong
Hong Kong is one of two Special Administrative Regions of the People's Republic of China , the other being Macau. A city-state situated on China's south coast and enclosed by the Pearl River Delta and South China Sea, it is renowned for its expansive skyline and deep natural harbour...

 and Macau
Macau
Macau , also spelled Macao , is, along with Hong Kong, one of the two special administrative regions of the People's Republic of China...

. In late 1999, legislation was created to outlaw "heterodox religions" and retroactively applied to Falun Gong. Amnesty International
Amnesty International
Amnesty International is an international non-governmental organisation whose stated mission is "to conduct research and generate action to prevent and end grave abuses of human rights, and to demand justice for those whose rights have been violated."Following a publication of Peter Benenson's...

 states that the persecution is "politically motivated" with "legislation being used retroactively to convict people on politically-driven charges, and new regulations introduced to further restrict fundamental freedoms".

Ethnic persecution

Ethnic persecution refers to perceived persecution based on ethnicity. Its meaning is parallel to racism
Racism
Racism is the belief that inherent different traits in human racial groups justify discrimination. In the modern English language, the term "racism" is used predominantly as a pejorative epithet. It is applied especially to the practice or advocacy of racial discrimination of a pernicious nature...

, (based on race). Rwandan genocide
Rwandan Genocide
The Rwandan Genocide was the 1994 mass murder of an estimated 800,000 people in the small East African nation of Rwanda. Over the course of approximately 100 days through mid-July, over 500,000 people were killed, according to a Human Rights Watch estimate...

 remains an atrocity that the indigenous Hutu
Hutu
The Hutu , or Abahutu, are a Central African people, living mainly in Rwanda, Burundi, and eastern DR Congo.-Population statistics:The Hutu are the largest of the three peoples in Burundi and Rwanda; according to the United States Central Intelligence Agency, 84% of Rwandans and 85% of Burundians...

 and Tutsi
Tutsi
The Tutsi , or Abatutsi, are an ethnic group in Central Africa. Historically they were often referred to as the Watussi or Watusi. They are the second largest caste in Rwanda and Burundi, the other two being the Hutu and the Twa ....

 peoples still believe is unforgivable. The Japanese occupation of China caused the death of millions of people, mostly peasants murdered after the Dolittle Raid in early World War II.

Germans

The persecution of ethnic German
Ethnic German
Ethnic Germans historically also ), also collectively referred to as the German diaspora, refers to people who are of German ethnicity. Many are not born in Europe or in the modern-day state of Germany or hold German citizenship...

s refers to systematic activity against groups of ethnic Germans based on their ethnicity.

Historically, this has been due to two causes: the German population were considered, whether factually or not, linked with German nationalist regimes such as those of the Nazis or Kaiser Wilhelm
Kaiser Wilhelm
Kaiser Wilhelm is a common reference to two German emperors:* Wilhelm I, German Emperor , King of Prussia; became the first Kaiser of a united Germany...

. This was the case in the World War I era persecution of Germans in the United States
United States
The United States of America is a federal constitutional republic comprising fifty states and a federal district...

, and also in Eastern and Central Europe following the end of World War II. While many victims of these persecutions did not, in fact, have any connection to those regimes, cooperation between German minority organisations and Nazi regime did occur, as the example of Selbstschutz
Selbstschutz
Selbstschutz stands for two organisations:# A name used by a number of paramilitary organisations created by ethnic Germans in Central and Eastern Europe# A name for self-defence measures and units in ethnic German, Austrian, and Swiss civil defence....

 shows, which is still used as a pretense of hostilities against those who did not take part in such organisations. After World War II, many such Volksdeutsche
Volksdeutsche
Volksdeutsche - "German in terms of people/folk" -, defined ethnically, is a historical term from the 20th century. The words volk and volkische conveyed in Nazi thinking the meanings of "folk" and "race" while adding the sense of superior civilization and blood...

 were killed or driven from their homes in acts of vengeance, others in ethnic cleansing of territories prior to populating them with citizens of the annexing country. In other cases (e.g. in the case of the formerly large German-speaking populations of Russia, Estonia, or the Transylvanian (Siebenbürgen) German minority in Rumania and the Balkans) such persecution was a crime committed against innocent communities who had played no part in the Third Reich.

People with albinism

Persecution on the basis of albinism
Albinism
Albinism is a congenital disorder characterized by the complete or partial absence of pigment in the skin, hair and eyes due to absence or defect of an enzyme involved in the production of melanin...

 is frequently based on the belief that albinos are inferior to persons with higher concentration of melanin
Melanin
Melanin is a pigment that is ubiquitous in nature, being found in most organisms . In animals melanin pigments are derivatives of the amino acid tyrosine. The most common form of biological melanin is eumelanin, a brown-black polymer of dihydroxyindole carboxylic acids, and their reduced forms...

 in their skin. As a result albinos have been persecuted, killed and dismembered, and graves of albinistic people dug up and desecrated. Such people have also been ostracized and even killed because they are presumed to bring bad luck in some areas. Haiti also has a long history of treating albinistic people as accursed, with the highest incidence under the influence of François "Papa Doc" Duvalier
François Duvalier
François Duvalier was the President of Haiti from 1957 until his death in 1971. Duvalier first won acclaim in fighting diseases, earning him the nickname "Papa Doc" . He opposed a military coup d'état in 1950, and was elected President in 1957 on a populist and black nationalist platform...

.

Persecution based on army service

Persecution on the basis of army service, or the lack of it, exists in Israel. In Israel, Jewish citizens who receive an exemption from army service are denied many prestigious career options, especially in the field of security. The root of discrimination on the basis of army service lies in the fact that at age 17, non Arab citizens (including Druze
Druze
The Druze are an esoteric, monotheistic religious community, found primarily in Syria, Lebanon, Israel, and Jordan, which emerged during the 11th century from Ismailism. The Druze have an eclectic set of beliefs that incorporate several elements from Abrahamic religions, Gnosticism, Neoplatonism...

) are called up to be examined for eligibility to compulsory military service. A record for each potential conscript is created, and those who actually serve in the military are distinguished from those rejected from service, by a Discharge Card, which has additional information on it, including the soldier's rank, military profession, and behavior during army service. Employers are particularly interested in the Discharge Card, since it is a universally available source of information about a potential employee. Citizens rejected from the army are frequently looked down upon by employers, who typically believe that "those who are unfit for army service are also unfit for the work environment", and those who succeeded in the army are also likely to be good employees. It is very frequent in Israel to see job advertisements requiring "Full Army Service", and the main problem is that the decisions taken by the draft board regarding a 17 year minor, affect their entire life.

External links

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