Proselytism (/ˈprɒsəlɪtɪzəm/) is the act or fact of Religious conversion, or actions inviting this.[1][2] The word proselytize is derived from the Greek language prefix προσ- (pros-, "toward") and the verb ἔρχομαι (érchomai, "I come") in the form of προσήλυτος (prosélytos, "newcomer").[3] Historically in the Koine Greek Septuagint and New Testament, the word proselyte denoted a Gentile who was considering conversion to Judaism. Though the word proselytism originally referred to Judaism[4] (and earlier Gentiles such as God-fearers), it now refers to the attempt of any religion or religious individuals to convert people to their beliefs, or any attempt to convert people to a different point of view, religious or not. Proselytism is illegal in some countries.[5]. However, the right to convert to another religion and to manifest religion is enshrined in Article 18 of the UN Declaration of Human Rights[6]. The term is generally understood as pejorative [7], by contrast with evangelism which is viewed as a term of approval[8]. The World Council of Churches has indicated that, used pejoratively, proselytism refers to attempts at conversion by 'unjust means that violate the conscience of the human person', such as by coercion or bribery.[9]

Bahá'í Faith

In the writings of the Bahá'í Faith, the endeavour to attract people to the religion is strongly emphasized.[10] The process of attracting people to the religion is referred to as teaching.[10] The term proselytism is given the connotation of aggressively teaching the religion to others - as such, it is prohibited.[11]

Every Bahá'í has the obligation of teaching their religion, as it is seen as the path toward bringing peace and justice to the world.[12] Some Bahá'ís move to other countries or cities where there are a small number of Bahá'ís to help spread the religion, and this is called pioneering.[10] Some other Bahá'ís move from place to place in a process called travel teaching.[10] When moving or travelling to other countries Bahá'ís are encouraged to integrate into their new society and apply Bahá'ís principles in living and working with their neighbours. In total, however, only a small minority of Bahá'ís are directly teaching their religion to others.[11] Despite this, religion has grown "at least twice as fast as the population of almost every UN region" over the last century.[13]

Bahá'u'lláh, the founder of the Bahá'í Faith, wrote that those who would be teaching his religion should emphasize the importance of ethics and wisdom, and he counselled Bahá'ís to be unrestrained and put their trust in God. At the same time he stated that Bahá'ís should exercise moderation, tact and wisdom and not be too aggressive in their teaching.[12] In sharing their faith with others, Bahá'ís are cautioned to make sure the person they are proposing to teach is open to hearing what they have to say. In most countries becoming a Bahá'í is a simple matter of filling out a card stating a declaration of belief. This includes acknowledgement of Bahá'u'llah as the messenger of God for this age, awareness and acceptance of his teachings, and intention to be obedient to the institutions and laws he established. It does not involve negating one's previous beliefs, due to the Bahá'í belief in progressive revelation.


Statue of St. Patrick of the Celtic Church, who was famous for proselytizing

Many Christians consider it their obligation to follow what is often termed the Great Commission of Jesus, recorded in the final verses of the Gospel of Matthew: "Go ye therefore, and teach all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit: Teaching them to observe all things whatsoever I have commanded you: and, lo, I am with you always, even unto the end of the world. Amen."[14] The Acts of the Apostles and other sources contain several accounts of early Christians following this directive by engaging in individual conversations and mass sermons to spread the Good News.

Most self-described Christian groups have organizations devoted to missionary work which in whole or in part includes proselytism of the non-religious and people of other faiths (including sometimes other variants of Christianity).

Some Christians define proselytize more narrowly as the attempt to convert people from one Christian tradition to another; those who use the term in this way generally view the practice as illegitimate and in contrast to evangelism, which is converting non-Christians to Christianity. An Eastern Orthodox writer, Stephen Methodius Hayes, has written: "If people talk about the need for evangelism, they meet with the response, 'the Orthodox church does not proselytize' as if evangelizing and proselytism were the same thing." However the boundary varies from group to group. The World Council of Churches has defined the pejorative sense as 'by unjust means', and gives a list of examples (see below).[15] For instance the Moscow Patriarchate has repeatedly strongly condemned what it describes as Catholic proselytism of Orthodox Christians within Russia and has therefore opposed a Catholic construction project in an area of Russia where the Catholic community is small. The Catholic Church claims that it is supporting the existing Catholic community within Russia and is not proselytizing.[16][17][18] In 1993 the Balamand declaration on proselytism was released between the Roman Catholic Church and Orthodox Churches.

Dharmic religions

Buddhism Growth in Hellenic World
Buddhist proselytism at the time of king Ashoka (260-218 BC), according to the Edicts of Ashoka

Proselytisation is alien to Indian religions such as Hinduism, Buddhism, Jainism and Sikhism although they are largely pluralistic.


Buddhism does not have an accepted or strong proselytism tradition with the Buddha having taught his followers to respect other religions and the clergy.[19] Emperor Ashoka, however, sent royal missionaries to various kingdoms and sent his son and daughter as missionaries to Sri Lanka following his conversion to Buddhism. Aggressive proselytizing is discouraged in the major Buddhist schools and Buddhists do not engage in the practice of proselytisation.[19]

Some adherents of Nichiren Buddhism proselytise in a process called Shakubuku.


Hinduism lacks a proselytism tradition. Classical Hinduism represents diversity of views and theology. Its followers are free to follow any theistic, non-theistic or other ideas it discusses. Followers can pick or change to any philosophy or belief he or she fancies and worship any personal god or goddess in a manner they deem fit. In the modern era, religious conversion from and to Hinduism has been a controversial subject. Some state the concept of missionary activity and proselytism is anathema to the precepts of Hinduism.[20]

While proselytism is not a part of the Hindu tradition, religious conversion to various traditions within Hinduism such as Vaishnavism, Shaivism and Shaktism has a long history.[21][22][23]

The debate on proselytization and religious conversion between Christianity, Islam and Hinduism is more recent, and started in the 19th century.[24][25] Religious leaders of some Hindu reform movements such as the Arya Samaj launched Shuddhi movement to proselytize and reconvert Muslims and Christians back to Hinduism,[26][27] while those such as the Brahmo Samaj suggested Hinduism to be a non-missionary religion.[20] All these sects of Hinduism have welcomed new members to their group, while other leaders of Hinduism's diverse schools have stated that given the intensive proselytization activities from missionary Islam and Christianity, this "there is no such thing as proselytism in Hinduism" view must be re-examined.[20][26][28]

Hare Krishna

One group that takes in willing converts in Hinduism is the International Society for Krishna Consciousness also known as Hare Krishnas. Devotees of the Krishna Consciousness have no codified rituals of conversion, but promote recitation of the Hare Krishna mantra as a means to achieve a mature stage of love of God. ISKCON adherents view Krishna as the supreme deity that those of other faith traditions worship.[29] A commonly accepted notion among Krisna Consciousness devotees is that ISKCON allows one to recognize the primacy of the supreme deity, Krishna, in the practices and traditions of other faiths. Krishna Consciousness promotes the concept of Sanatana-Dharma (Hinduism), the 'eternal law' that other faiths can uncover.[30]


Mahavira (599–527 BC), the 24th Tirthankara of Jainism, developed an early philosophy regarding relativism and subjectivism known as Anekantavada. As a result of this acceptance of alternate religious practices, the phenomenon of proselytisation is largely absent in these religions but not unknown. Converts are welcome to the Jain faith.


Sikhism is not a proselytizing religion and proselytism is largely discouraged "through force or inducement" out of the belief that each person has a fundamental right to practice their religion freely.[31]


Lies-IMG 7967
Proselytizer distributing copies of the Qur'an in Switzerland. (Lies! is German for Read!)

In Islam, inviting people to the religion is a meritorious activity. The Qur'an states, "There is no (permission) to force (anyone into following this) way of life. The truth stands clear from error. Whoever rejects falsehood and believes in Allah has grasped a firm hand-hold that will never break, for Allah hears and knows (all things). Al Baqarah ('The Cow', 2:256)". Muslim scholars consider this passage to mean that force is not to be used to convert someone to Islam. Muslims consider inviting others to Islam to be the mission originally carried out by the Prophets of Allah and is now a collective duty of Muslims. In the Qur'an Allah states, "Invite (others) to the way of your Lord with wisdom and beautiful preaching, and reason with them in ways that are best. Your Lord knows best who is straying from His path and who is being guided (towards it). An Nahl ('The Bee', 16:125)"


Unlike in the Hellenistic era (Second Temple Judaism), in the modern era Judaism generally does not proselytize non-Jews. Instead, non-Jews are encouraged to follow Noahide Law, assuring a place in the world to come. In ancient times, these observant non-Jews could become geirim toshvim, a term still sometimes used informally to refer to those who strive to follow these laws and who will join the Jewish people in the world to come. A non-Jew who follows Noahide law is considered to believe in Noahidism; for this end, there is some minor outreach by Orthodox Jewish organizations.

Generally, Jews expect any convert to Judaism to come through their own accord. A common source of converts are those who have married a Jew, though there are also many people who join for spiritual or other personal reasons; these people are called "Jews by choice".[32] Rabbis will often discourage new members from joining, although they may provide guidance through seminars or personal meetings for those who are truly interested. Orthodox Judaism in theory neither encourages nor discourages conversion. Standards for conversion can be very challenging, but rabbis will acquiesce to persistent and sincere requests for conversion. Much emphasis is placed on gaining a Jewish identity.[33]

Inherited membership

Sects of some religions, such as the Druze and Zoroastrians, do not accept converts at all.[34][35]


The Muggletonians founded by John Reeve and Lodowick Muggleton in mid-17th century London believed that if a person were exposed to the full tenets of their faith and rejected it they would be irretrievably damned. This risk tempered proselytization: they hesitated to expose people to loss of salvation which may explain their low numbers. In the mid-19th century two wealthy Muggletonians Joseph and Isaac Frost broke with this cautious approach and published several books about the faith.[36]


The right to change religion and to manifest religion is protected under Article 18 of the UN Declaration of Human Rights[37]

Some countries such as Greece[38] prohibited all proselytism until 1994 when Jehovah's Witnesses were legally recognized as a religion and allowed to preach. Some countries such as Morocco prohibit it except for Islam. Some restrict it in various ways such as prohibiting attempts to convert children or prohibit offering physical benefits to new converts.

Religious groups also draw lines between what they are willing to do or not do to convert people. For instance the Catholic Church in Ad gentes states that "The Church strictly forbids forcing anyone to embrace the Faith, or alluring or enticing people by worrisome wiles."

The World Council of Churches in The Challenge of Proselytism and the Calling to Common Witness[39] states the following:

19. Proselytism as described in this document stands in opposition to all ecumenical effort. It includes certain activities which often aim at having people change their church affiliation and which we believe must be avoided, such as the following:

  • making unjust or uncharitable references to other churches’ beliefs and practices and even ridiculing them;
  • comparing two Christian communities by emphasizing the achievements and ideals of one, and the weaknesses and practical problems of the other;
  • employing any kind of physical violence, moral compulsion and psychological pressure e.g. the use of certain advertising techniques in mass media that might bring undue pressure on readers/viewers;
  • using political, social and economic power as a means of winning new members for one’s own church;
  • extending explicit or implicit offers of education, health care or material inducements or using financial resources with the intent of making converts;
  • manipulative attitudes and practices that exploit people’s needs, weaknesses or lack of education especially in situations of distress, and fail to respect their freedom and human dignity.

See also

References and sources

  1. ^ "Definition of proselytism". The Free Dictionary. Retrieved 25 November 2013.
  2. ^ "proselytism". Unabridged. Random House. Retrieved 25 November 2013.
  3. ^ προσήλυτος. Liddell, Henry George; Scott, Robert; A Greek–English Lexicon at the Perseus Project
  4. ^ Theological Dictionary of the New Testament, Bromiley ed, VI p 742
  5. ^ Religion, Politics, and Globalization: Anthropological Approaches - Page 224, Galina Lindquist, Don Handelman - 2012
  6. ^
  7. ^
  8. ^
  9. ^
  10. ^ a b c d Smith, P. (2000). A Concise Encyclopedia of the Bahá'í Faith. Oxford, UK: Oneworld Publications. pp. 334–335. ISBN 978-1-85168-184-6.
  11. ^ a b Hatcher, W.S.; Martin, J.D. (1998). The Bahá'í Faith: The Emerging Global Religion. New York, NY: Harper & Row. p. 220. ISBN 978-0-06-065441-2.
  12. ^ a b Smith, Peter (2008). An Introduction to the Baha'i Faith. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press. pp. 198–199. ISBN 978-0-521-86251-6.
  13. ^ Johnson, Todd M.; Brian J. Grim (26 March 2013). "Global Religious Populations, 1910–2010". The World's Religions in Figures: An Introduction to International Religious Demography. John Wiley & Sons. pp. 59–62. doi:10.1002/9781118555767.ch1. ISBN 9781118555767.
  14. ^ Matthew 28:19-20
  15. ^
  16. ^ Kondrusiewicz, Archbishop Tadeusz (15 February 2002). "Moscow's Catholic Archbishop Responds to Alexy II's Accusations". Innovative Media, Inc. Archived from the original on 7 March 2002. Retrieved 29 September 2007.
  17. ^ Fagan, Geraldine (3 August 2005). "Altai officials prefer eyedrops and cattle to Catholics". Forum 18 News Service. Retrieved 29 September 2007.
  18. ^ "Russian patriarch renews complaints on Catholic "proselytism"". Directions to Orthodoxy. 5 June 2005. Archived from the original on 16 October 2007. Retrieved 29 September 2007.
  19. ^ a b O'Brien, Barbara (6 March 2017). "Proselytization and Buddhism". ThoughtCo. Retrieved 18 January 2018.
  20. ^ a b c Arvind Sharma (2011), Hinduism as a Missionary Religion, State University of New York Press, ISBN 978-1438432113, pages 31-53
  21. ^ Jan Gonda, The Indian Religions in Pre-Islamic Indonesia and their survival in Bali, in Handbook of Oriental Studies. Section 3 Southeast Asia, Religions at Google Books, pages 1-47
  22. ^ Richadiana Kartakusama (2006), Archaeology: Indonesian Perspective (Editors: Truman Simanjuntak et al.), Yayasan Obor Indonesia, ISBN 979-2624996, pp. 406-419
  23. ^ Reuter, Thomas (September 2004). Java's Hinduism Revivial. Hinduism Today.
  24. ^ Rafiuddin Ahmed (1992), Muslim-Christian Polemics, in Religious Controversy in British India: Dialogues in South Asian Languages (Editor: Kenneth Jones), State University of New York Press, ISBN 978-0791408278, pages 93-120
  25. ^ Ayesha Jalal (2010), Partisans of Allah: Jihad in South Asia, Harvard University Press, ISBN 978-0674047365, pages 117-146
  26. ^ a b CS Adcock (2014), The Limits of Tolerance: Indian Secularism and the Politics of Religious Freedom, Oxford University Press, ISBN 978-0199995448, pages 1-35, 115-168
  27. ^ Harold Coward (1987), Modern Indian Responses to Religious Pluralism, State University of New York Press, ISBN 978-0887065729, pages 49-60
  28. ^ Gauri Viswanathan (1998), Outside the Fold: Conversion, Modernity, and Belief, Princeton University Press, ISBN 978-0691058993, pages 153-176
  29. ^ "Philosophy". International Society for Krishna Consciousness. Archived from the original on 20 September 2012. Retrieved 24 September 2012.
  30. ^ Sebastian, Rodney; Parmeswaran (April 2008). "Hare Krishnas in Singapore: Agency, State, and Hinduism". Sojourn: Journal of Social Issues in Southeast Asia. 23 (1): 81.
  31. ^ Āhalūwālīā, Jasabīra Siṅgha (1983). The sovereignty of the Sikh doctrine: Sikhism in the perspective of modern thought. Bahri. p. 47. Retrieved 26 September 2010.
  32. ^ Ernest Krausz; Gitta Tulea. Jewish Survival: The Identity Problem at the Close of the Twentieth Century. Transaction Publishers. p. 97. ISBN 978-1-4128-2689-1.
  33. ^ Moss, Aron. "Why Do Rabbis Discourage Conversions? - Jewish Identity". Retrieved 6 August 2012.
  34. ^ The Druze permit no conversion, either away from or to their religion. retrieved 29 March 2015
  35. ^ CONVERSION vii. Modern Zoroastrians disagree on whether it is permissible for outsiders to enter their religion. retrieved 29 March 2015
  36. ^ Lamont, W., Last Witnesses: The Muggletonian History 1652-1979, Ashgate Publishing, 2006, p. xiii, p. 174
  37. ^
  38. ^ "English translation of the Greek constitution - Article 13.2".
  39. ^ Growth in Agreement II, p. 895

External links

Boko Haram

The Islamic State in West Africa or the Islamic State's West Africa Province (abbreviated as ISWA or ISWAP), formerly known as Jamā'at Ahl as-Sunnah lid-Da'wah wa'l-Jihād (Arabic: جماعة أهل السنة للدعوة والجهاد‎, "Group of the People of Sunnah for Preaching and Jihad") and commonly known as Boko Haram until March 2015, is a jihadist terrorist organization based in northeastern Nigeria, also active in Chad, Niger and northern Cameroon.Founded by Mohammed Yusuf in 2002, the group has been led by Abubakar Shekau since 2009. When Boko Haram first formed, their actions were nonviolent. Their main goal was to "purify Islam in northern Nigeria." From March 2015 to August 2016, the group was aligned with the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant. Since the current insurgency started in 2009, Boko Haram has killed tens of thousands and displaced 2.3 million from their homes and was ranked as the world's deadliest terror group by the Global Terrorism Index in 2015.After its founding in 2002, Boko Haram's increasing radicalisation led to the suppression operation by the Nigerian military forces and the summary execution of its leader Mohammed Yusuf in July 2009. Its unexpected resurgence, following a mass prison break in September 2010, was accompanied by increasingly sophisticated attacks, initially against soft targets, but progressing in 2011 to include suicide bombings of police buildings and the United Nations office in Abuja. The government's establishment of a state of emergency at the beginning of 2012, extended in the following year to cover the entire northeast of Nigeria, led to an increase in both security force abuses and militant attacks.Of the 2.3 million people displaced by the conflict since May 2013, at least 250,000 have left Nigeria and fled into Cameroon, Chad or Niger. Boko Haram killed over 6,600 in 2014. The group have carried out mass abductions including the kidnapping of 276 schoolgirls from Chibok in April 2014. Corruption in the security services and human rights abuses committed by them have hampered efforts to counter the unrest.In mid-2014, the militants gained control of swathes of territory in and around their home state of Borno, estimated at 50,000 square kilometres (20,000 sq mi) in January 2015, but did not capture the state capital, Maiduguri, where the group was originally based. On 7 March 2015, Boko Haram's leader Abubakar Shekau pledged allegiance to the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant, rebranding as Islamic State in West Africa. In September 2015, the Director of Information at the Defence Headquarters of Nigeria announced that all Boko Haram camps had been destroyed but attacks from the group continue.

Christian mission

A Christian mission is an organized effort to spread Christianity to new converts. Missions involve sending individuals and groups, called missionaries, across boundaries, most commonly geographical boundaries, to carry on evangelism or other activities, such as educational or hospital work. There are a few different kinds of mission trips: short-term, long-term, relational and ones meant simply for helping people in need. Some might choose to dedicate their whole lives to missions as well. Missionaries have the authority to preach the Christian faith (and sometimes to administer sacraments), and provide humanitarian aid. Christian doctrines (such as the "Doctrine of Love" professed by many missions) permit the provision of aid without requiring religious conversion.

Christianity in Nepal

Christianity is, according to the 2011 census, the fifth most practiced religion in Nepal, with 375,699 adherents, or 1.4% of the population. However, it is widely claimed that non-Hindus are systematically under-reported in Nepal's censuses, and informed observers have estimated that there are at least 1 million Nepali Christians. According to a report by Gordon Conwell Theological Seminary, Nepal's church is the fastest growing in the world. The vast majority of Nepali Christians are evangelical Protestants (if evangelical is defined broadly to include charismatics and Pentecostals); there is also a small Catholic population of roughly 10,000.The first Christian mission to Nepal was established in 1715 by Catholic Capuchin friars, who worked in the Kathmandu Valley. The Capuchins were expelled following Nepal's unification in 1768-9, and Christian groups were officially banned from the country for the next two centuries. After the revolution of 1951, foreign missionaries were permitted to enter Nepal to perform social service work, but proselytization and conversion were still legally prohibited. It was only after the introduction of multi-party democracy in 1990, and the relaxation of restrictions on conversion, that the Nepali church began to grow rapidly.The expansion of Christianity is a controversial subject in Nepal, and Nepali Christians have been subject to sporadic violence and widespread social exclusion. It is frequently claimed in Nepali media and political discourse that missionaries offer the poor material incentives to convert, but research has indicated that most Nepali Christians convert for reasons other than contact with missionaries.Nepal's constitution-writing process of 2006-15, and the 2007 designation of the country as a secular state, intensified controversies surrounding Christianity. The constitution of 2015 re-affirmed secularism but also prohibited proselytism and ‘disturbing the religion of other people’. In 2017, Nepal's parliament passed a bill which prohibited ‘hurting the religious sentiment of any caste, ethnic community or class by writing, through voice/talk or by a shape or symbol or in any other such manner’.


Da‘wah (also daawa, dawah, daawah or dakwah; Arabic: دعوة‎ "invitation") is the proselytizing of Islam.

Edicts of Ashoka

The Edicts of Ashoka are a collection of more than thirty inscriptions on the pillars as well as boulders and cave walls, made by Emperor Ashoka of the Mauryan Empire during his reign, from 268 BCE to 232 BCE. Ashoka used the expression Dhaṃma Lipi (Prakrit in the Brahmi script: 𑀥𑀁𑀫𑀮𑀺𑀧𑀺, "Inscriptions of the Dharma") to describe his own Edicts. These inscriptions were dispersed throughout the areas of modern-day Bangladesh, India, Nepal, Afghanistan and Pakistan, and provide the first tangible evidence of Buddhism. The edicts describe in detail Ashoka's view about dhamma, an earnest attempt to solve some of the problems that a complex society faced. According to the edicts, the extent of Buddhist proselytism during this period reached as far as the Mediterranean, and many Buddhist monuments were created.

These inscriptions proclaim Ashoka's adherence to the Buddhist philosophy which, as in Hinduism, is called dharma, "Law". The inscriptions show his efforts to develop the Buddhist dharma throughout his kingdom. Although Buddhism as well as Gautama Buddha are mentioned, the edicts focus on social and moral precepts rather than specific religious practices or the philosophical dimension of Buddhism. These were located in public places and were meant for people to read.

In these inscriptions, Ashoka refers to himself as "Beloved of the Gods" (Devanampiya). The identification of Devanampiya with Ashoka was confirmed by an inscription discovered in 1915 by C. Beadon, a British gold-mining engineer, at Maski, a village in Raichur district of Karnataka. Another minor rock edict, found at the village Gujarra in Datia district of Madhya Pradesh, also used the name of Ashoka together with his titles: "Devanampiya Piyadasi Asokaraja". The inscriptions found in the central and eastern part of India were written in Magadhi Prakrit using the Brahmi script, while Prakrit using the Kharoshthi script, Greek and Aramaic were used in the northwest. These edicts were deciphered by British archaeologist and historian James Prinsep.The inscriptions revolve around a few recurring themes: Ashoka's conversion to Buddhism, the description of his efforts to spread Buddhism, his moral and religious precepts, and his social and animal welfare program.The edicts were based on Ashoka's ideas on administration and behaviour of people towards one another and religion.


In Christianity, evangelism is the commitment to or act of publicly preaching (ministry) of the Gospel with the intention of spreading the message and teachings of Jesus Christ.

Christians who specialize in evangelism are often known as evangelists, whether they are in their home communities or living as missionaries in the field, although some Christian traditions refer to such people as missionaries in either case. Some Christian traditions consider evangelists to be in a leadership position; they may be found preaching to large meetings or in governance roles.

Christian groups who encourage evangelism are sometimes known as evangelistic or evangelist. The scriptures do not use the word evangelism, but evangelist is used in (the translations of) Acts 21:8, Ephesians 4:11, and 2 Timothy 4:5.

Freedom of religion in Mongolia

The Constitution of Mongolia provides for freedom of religion, and the Mongolian Government generally respects this right in practice; however, the law somewhat limits proselytism, and some religious groups have faced bureaucratic harassment or been denied registration. There have been few reports of societal abuses or discrimination based on religious belief or practice.

Freedom of religion in Sri Lanka

it is not secular

Freedom of religion in Sri Lanka is a protected right under Chapter II, Article 9 of the constitution of Sri Lanka. This applies to all religions, though Buddhism is given primary protection as the state religion. Buddhism was given the foremost place by President J. R. Jayawardene in 1978, though Sri Lanka is regarded by its Supreme Court as being a secular country.Limitations on proselytism were outlined by the Supreme Court of Sri Lanka in 2018, with the ruling against a Catholic organisation stating that the provision of economic and financial support to vulnerable individuals while promulgating a faith was an infringement upon those individuals' right to freedom of religion.

Heather Mercer

Heather Marie Mercer (born 1976) is an American who was one of 24 aid workers arrested in August 2001 by the Taliban in Afghanistan in connection with their work with the Germany-based Christian aid organization Shelter Now International. She, along with seven other Western missionaries and their sixteen Afghan coworkers, was arrested on August 3, 2001, and put on trial for violating the Taliban prohibition against proselytism.

She was held captive in Kabul until anti-Taliban forces freed her in November 2001. She co-authored a book with her fellow captive, Dayna Curry, published in 2002 and entitled Prisoners of hope : the story of our captivity and freedom in Afghanistan.

Joint Working Group between the Roman Catholic Church and the World Council of Churches

The Joint Working Group between the Roman Catholic Church and the World Council of Churches (JWG) is an ecumenical organization working to improve ties between the Catholic Church and its separate brethren, mainly consisting of Eastern Orthodox and Protestant Christians.

Kokkinakis v. Greece

Kokkinakis v. Greece (application No. 14307/88) is a landmark case of the European Court of Human Rights, decided in 1993 and concerning compatibility of certain sanctions for proselytism with Articles 7 and 9 of the European Convention on Human Rights. It ruled by a vote of six-to-three that a Jehovah's Witness man's freedom to manifest his religion, protected by Article 9, had been violated by the Greek government. One of the judges wrote that this case was "of particular importance" because it was "the first real case concerning freedom of religion to have come before the European Court since it was set up" in 1959.

Minos Kokkinakis

Minos Kokkinakis (25 February 1909 [1], Sitia, Crete – 28 January 1999 Sitia) was a Greek member of Jehovah's Witnesses. He is most notable for his repeated clashes with Greece's ban on proselytism.

Organic centralism

Organic centralism is a method of political organisation advocated by party-orientated left communists, in particular the Italian Left. It was a concept advanced in the Theses of Lyons (1926) in the context of the Third International:

"The communist parties must achieve an organic centralism which, whilst including maximum possible consultation with the base, ensures a spontaneous elimination of any grouping which aims to differentiate itself. This cannot be achieved with, as Lenin put it, the formal and mechanical prescriptions of a hierarchy, but through correct revolutionary politics.""The repression of fractionism isn't a fundamental aspect of the evolution of the party, though preventing it is."This text then argues that fractionism would have a positive basis, where it arises in response to the relapse of the party into opportunism, as particularly illustrated by Social Democracy. It is further argued that bourgeois tendencies are not manifested in fractionism, but "as a shrewd penetration stoking up unitary demagoguery and operating as a dictatorship from above".

The concept was put forward as against bolshevisation.

"One negative effect of so-called bolshevisation has been the replacing of conscious and thoroughgoing political elaboration inside the party, corresponding to significant progress towards a really compact centralism, with superficial and noisy agitation for mechanical formulas of unity for unity's sake, and discipline for discipline's sake.This method causes damage to both the party and the proletariat in that it holds back the realisation of the «true» communist party. Once applied to several sections of the International it becomes itself a serious indication of latent opportunism. At the moment, there doesn't appear to be any international left opposition within the Comintern, but if the unfavourable factors we have mentioned worsen, the formation of such an opposition will be at the same time both a revolutionary necessity and a spontaneous reflex to the situation."(ibid)The concept remains utilized by the International Communist Party, which was formed in 1945.

"The meaning of unitarism and of organic centralism is that the party develops inside itself the organs suited to the various functions, which we call propaganda, proselytism, proletarian organisation, union work, etc., up to tomorrow, the armed organisation; but nothing can be inferred from the number of comrades destined for such functions, as on principle no comrade must be left out of any of them.".

Orthodox brotherhood

Brotherhoods (Ukrainian: братства, bratstva; literally, "fraternities") were the secular unions of Eastern Orthodox citizens or lay brothers affiliated with individual churches in the cities throughout the Ruthenian part of the Polish–Lithuanian Commonwealth such as Lviv, Wilno, Lutsk, Vitebsk, Minsk, and Kiev. They adapted the structure of the Western medieval confraternities and trade guilds.The Orthodox brotherhoods, first documented in 1463 (Lviv Dormition Brotherhood), were consolidated in the aftermath of the Union of Brest (1596) in order to oppose a rise in Roman Catholic proselytism, Jesuit expansionism and general Polonization. The brotherhoods attempted to stem the state-supported Catholic missionary activities by publishing books in the Cyrillic script and financing a net of brotherhood schools which offered education in the Ruthenian language. The famous Kiev Mohyla Academy grew out of one such school under the umbrella of the Brotherhood Monastery in Kiev. The Dormition Church, Lviv was financed by the brotherhood of the same name; its members also supported the Cossack risings in the east of Ukraine. The powerful Ostrogski family provided political support for their activities.

The activity of the Orthodox fraternities helped preserve the national culture of Ukraine and Belarus throughout the Counter-Reformation era. Most were closed in the course of the 18th century when Catholic proselytism was on the wane. Some were revived in the late 19th century in order to stem "atheist propaganda" of the Nihilists. The Brotherhood of Saints Cyril and Methodius promoted national awareness, helping the Ukrainians of Imperial Russia discover their national identity. The Ostrog bratstvo was reinstituted by Countess Bludova, an ardent admirer of the Ostrogski family.

Religious conversion

Religious conversion is the adoption of a set of beliefs identified with one particular religious denomination to the exclusion of others. Thus "religious conversion" would describe the abandoning of adherence to one denomination and affiliating with another. This might be from one to another denomination within the same religion, for example, from Baptist to Catholic Christianity or from Shi’a to Sunni Islam. In some cases, religious conversion "marks a transformation of religious identity and is symbolized by special rituals".People convert to a different religion for various reasons, including active conversion by free choice due to a change in beliefs, secondary conversion, deathbed conversion, conversion for convenience, marital conversion, and forced conversion.

Conversion or reaffiliation for convenience is an insincere act, sometimes for relatively trivial reasons such as a parent converting to enable a child to be admitted to a good school associated with a religion, or a person adopting a religion more in keeping with the social class they aspire to. When people marry, one spouse may convert to the religion of the other.

Forced conversion is adoption of a different religion under duress. The convert may secretly retain the previous beliefs and continue, covertly, with the practices of the original religion, while outwardly maintaining the forms of the new religion. Over generations a family forced against their will to convert may wholeheartedly adopt the new religion.

Proselytism is the act of attempting to convert by persuasion another individual from a different religion or belief system. (See proselyte).

Apostate is a term used by members of a religion or denomination to refer to someone who has left that religion or denomination.

Roman Catholic Diocese of Darjeeling

The Diocese of Darjeeling is a Latin Roman Catholic suffragan diocese situated in the north east of India, in the ecclesiastical province of the Metropolitan Archdiocese of Calcutta, yet depends on the missionary Roman Congregation for the Evangelization of Peoples.

It includes within its territory the independent (essentially Buddhist) Himalayan state of Bhutan, where Christianity is practiced by a tiny minority and proselytism is forbidden.

The cathedral episcopal see is the Marian Immaculate Conception Cathedral, in Darjeeling, West Bengal state, India.

Spiritist centre

A Spiritist centre, also called Spiritist society or Spiritist house, is the basic unit of organisation of Spiritism, which is a distinct form of Spiritualism.

In legal terms, Spiritist centres are ordinary non-profit associations, whose members are in charge of providing funds to run the centre itself and the various charity activities kept by it. Each centre is run by a president or one or more directors elected for a term. Spiritist centres differ from Spiritualist churches in that they are not formally organized as ecclesiastical bodies.

In addition to the legal and corporeal aspects of its existence, a Spiritist centre is also believed by its members to have an informal and incorporeal level of existence in the spirit world which comprises its patron and a series of protector spirits (which may be shared by other centres in the world).

Tribe of Issachar

According to the Hebrew Bible, the Tribe of Issachar (Hebrew: יִשָּׂשכָר, Modern: Yissakhar, Tiberian: Yiśśâḵār) was one of the twelve tribes of Israel. It is one of the ten lost tribes. In Jewish tradition, the tribe of Issachar was seen as being dominated by religious scholars and influential in proselytism.In the Biblical narrative of the Book of Joshua, following the completion of the conquest of Canaan by the Israelite tribes, Joshua allocated the land among the twelve tribes. The territory which it was allocated was immediately north of (the western half of) Manasseh, and south of Zebulun and Naphtali, stretching from the Jordan River in the east, to the coast in the west; this region included the fertile Esdraelon plain . There is a consensus among scholars that the accounts in the Book of Judges are not historically reliable. Alternatively, scholars and historians such as Barry G. Webb believe Judges to be a challenging book to parse and grasp, but nevertheless believe it possesses substantially greater historicity than most modern secular scholars give it credit for.


Valmouth is a 1919 novel by British author Ronald Firbank. Valmouth is an imaginary English spa resort that attracts centenarians owing to its famed pure air. The town's name evokes actual seaside towns in the southwest peninsula of Britain, such as Falmouth, Dartmouth, Teignmouth, Exmouth and Weymouth.

The novel's plot concerns, among other things, the effects of a black woman and her niece moving into a spa resort inhabited by wealthy centenarians. The ironic novel is about eroticism and exoticism in the milieu of quaint but lewd old British ladies at the fictional spa. The novel is noted for its florid and baroque style and parody-like humour, and its sexual innuendos both heterosexual and homosexual. There is also a fanciful brand of Catholicism, a blend of mortification of the flesh, high-flown mysticism, and proselytism.

In 1958, a musical adaptation was made by Sandy Wilson.

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