Freedom of Religion Is under Attack in Latin America

Surveying several countries in Central and South America, Tomás Henríquez notes the various threats to religious believers:

In Mexico, it is illegal for clergy to speak about politics. Since 1917, priests, pastors, and other religious figures have been stripped of their fundamental freedoms by the law that prohibits Mexican citizens who are religious ministers from speaking for or against political candidates or parties. To this day . . . religious leaders are persecuted for what they say from the pulpit, parish radios, and church publications. Simply delivering reflections on the political, social, and cultural circumstances in their country may lead to the termination of a church’s legal personhood—speaking for or against a candidate is a criminal offense.

During the Mexican federal-election period in 2021, Juan Sandoval, Mario Ángel Flores, Carlos Aguiar, and Ángel Espinosa de los Monteros—members of the Catholic clergy—issued, at different times, calls for Catholics to participate in the electoral process and to vote according to their convictions. The priests were denounced by the ruling political party of President López Obrador, tried before an electoral tribunal under Article 130 of the Mexican constitution, and found guilty of “unlawful” politically oriented speech. Not only does the silencing of religious leaders violate their fundamental right to freedom of speech, it is also inherently discriminatory. . . .

In Argentina, there is growing discrimination in access to public office based on religious belief. Judicial officials have been known to question applicants as to whether they are religious believers in order to filter them out. There have also been instances of political impeachment of judges for daring to criticize the tenets of gender ideology underpinning the Argentine supreme court’s decision that liberalized abortion. These are but a few examples of an insidious climate of hostility that has permeated the interplay of faith and civic life in Argentina, threatening the country’s democratic processes at their core.

Read more at National Review

More about: Argentina, Freedom of Religion, Latin America, Mexico

Iran’s Program of Subversion and Propaganda in the Caucasus

In the past week, Iranian proxies and clients have attacked Israel from the West Bank, Gaza, Lebanon, and Yemen. Iran also has substantial military assets in Iraq and Syria—countries over which it exercises a great deal of control—which could launch significant attacks on Israel as well. Tehran, in addition, has stretched its influence northward into both Azerbaijan and Armenia. While Israel has diplomatic relations with both of these rival nations, its relationship with Baku is closer and involves significant military and security collaboration, some of which is directed against Iran. Alexander Grinberg writes:

Iran exploits ethnic and religious factors in both Armenia and Azerbaijan to further its interests. . . . In Armenia, Iran attempts to tarnish the legitimacy of the elected government and exploit the church’s nationalist position and tensions between it and the Armenian government; in Azerbaijan, the Iranian regime employs outright terrorist methods similar to its support for terrorist proxies in the Middle East [in order to] undermine the regime.

Huseyniyyun (Islamic Resistance Movement of Azerbaijan) is a terrorist militia made up of ethnic Azeris and designed to fight against Azerbaijan. It was established by the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps . . . in the image of other pro-Iranian militias. . . . Currently, Huseyniyyun is not actively engaged in terrorist activities as Iran prefers more subtle methods of subversion. The organization serves as a mouthpiece of the Iranian regime on various Telegram channels in the Azeri language. The main impact of Huseyniyyun is that it helps spread Iranian propaganda in Azerbaijan.

The Iranian regime fears the end of hostilities between Armenia and Azerbaijan because this would limit its options for disruption. Iranian outlets are replete with anti-Semitic paranoia against Azerbaijan, accusing the country of awarding its territory to Zionists and NATO. . . . Likewise, it is noteworthy that Armenian nationalists reiterate hideous anti-Semitic tropes that are identical to those spouted by the Iranians and Palestinians. Moreover, leading Iranian analysts have no qualms about openly praising [sympathetic] Armenian clergy together with terrorist Iran-funded Azeri movements for working toward Iranian goals.

Read more at Jerusalem Institute for Strategy and Security

More about: Azerbaijan, Iran, Israeli Security