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Clergy hope for more religious freedom
Christians remain in minority and disadvantaged, say priests, but more freeCatholic parishioners celebrate outside a church
- ucanews.com reporter, Yangon
- May 13, 2011
Several of them spoke on condition of anonymity to ucanews.com.
One, from Taungngu, Shan state, said: â€śAs some of the ethnic leaders are in the civilian government, I do hope we will get some sort of religious freedom.â€ť
In the past, â€śwhen we asked to construct a new church, they seldom gave permission. As the country has a Buddhist majority, the local authorities were concerned that some Buddhists may be converted to Christianity.
â€śWe hope the new government will work for the people of Myanmar regardless of religion and race.â€ť
Another Shan state priest said: â€śAs Buddhism is the dominant religion in the country, some of the non-Christians consider that Christianity is a foreign religion.â€ť
Although there are some limitations in the country regarding the construction of new churches and celebration of Church activities, â€śthank God we are free to expose our faith and practice our religious devotions in the Churches,â€ť he said.
There are some limitations for the minority Christian religion in the country, the priest explained. â€śFor example, if a Christian applies for a job in a government office, he or she will not qualify or be selected. Officials will find out some reasons and excuses to reject the person, if the person is a Christian. And thatâ€™s why there are very few Christians who become Government officers in the country.â€ť
The US Commission on International Religious Freedom (USCIRF), whose members are appointed by the US president and the Congress, in its latest annual report, entitled â€śInternational Religious Freedom 2011,â€ť placed Myanmar alongside countries of particular concern such as Egypt, Pakistan, China, Sudan, Saudi Arabia and Vietnam.
Myanmar citizens doubt fair polls are possible