On February 15, 2011, prosecutors in the town of Sevan brought charges against Pentecostal pastor Vladlmir Bagdasaryan for aUegedly obstructing the work of television reporters from the private Shant television station. The incident foUowed a murder case, which Armenian Public Television blamed on Jehovah's Witnesses. The Jehovah's Witnesses denied that the accused murderer had ever been associated with them. Religious minorities claim that media are biased against them. In this case, reporters had come to Bagdasaryan's church along with two Armenian Orthodox priests. No services were taking place at the time, and there was no previous request for permission to film. Bagdasaryan put his hand over the cameras as the reporters were fuming and tried to lead them to the door. They left after Bagdasaryan caUed the pohce, but eventuaUy it was Bagdasaryan who faced charges.
Despite reports of some unusual coUaboration between Muslims and Coptic Christians during the demonstrations that led to the resignation of Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak, tensions between the two communities later reemerged. Violence broke out on March 9, 2011, when Copts gathered to protest the burning of a church. Nine people were killed, and over one hundred were wounded. Casualties appeared to be roughly equal between the two communities.
Christians in the western part of Ethiopia suffered violent attacks starting March 2, 2011, following a rumored desecration of a Koran. One report said that sixty-nine churches, of which fifty-five were evangeUcal churches, were burned. Approximately 43 percent of Ethiopians are members of the Ethiopian Orthodox Church, while 40 percent are Muslims and 18.6 percent are Protestants. The federal government dismissed the local administrator for falling to stop the violence. Prime Minister Meles Zenawi blamed the attacks on an obscure Muslim extremist group named Kwarej.
On February 22, 2011, a large number of poUce entered the Center for Teaching Biodynamism in Nyon, Drôme Department, at the request of the Inter-Ministerial Mission Monitoring and Fighting against Sectarian Deviations. They stopped a teaming session devoted to building self-confidence and took four people, including the dUector of the center, into custody. The leader supposedly had mental control over the attendees and abused theU weaknesses.
On February 28, the administrative court of Lillie ruled against a local penitentiary administration that had refused to let Jehovah's Witnesses receive visits by chaplains. Administrators had claimed that there were too few Jehovah's Witness prisoners to justify a chaplain. There have been similar rulings in the recent past regarding other local administrations that had this practice.
As of April 1 1 it became illegal for women to wear a fuU face covering in pubUc in France as some Muslims do. Women may wear the covering at home, in a place of worship, or whüe riding Ui a private car. Traffic poUce may stop veiled women who are driving if they beUeve the women do not have a clear field of vision. Punishment is a fine of euro150 and a citizenship class about republican values and gender equality.
The European Court of Human Rights rejected the appeal of a Munich man, Johannes Wasmuth, who had sued in German courts to prevent tax officials from telling his employer that he had no affiliation with a church that received the church tax coUected by the government. Though Wasmuth had tried eariier to sue in the matter, the current case began in 2002. Among other things, Wasmuth complained that the tax card that is requUed for his employer violates his right not to say what his religious conviction is. Further, he argued that the treasury had no legal basis for the church tax because the system benefits churches that debase bis identity as a gay man. Local and national courts had said that the …