Members of interfaith council detained in Vietnam

(UCAN) Four members from a Vietnamese group of religious leaders from unregistered faiths were detained at a police station in Dong Thanh commune, Vinh Long province on Feb. 13.

They are Pastor Nguyen Manh Hung, Venerable Thich Khong Tanh of the Unified Buddhist Sangha of Vietnam, Hua Phi, head of Cao Dai, an indigenous faith, and Redemptorist Father Anthony Le Ngoc Thanh.

They are among 27 members of the Interfaith Council of Vietnam, a group of religious leaders from unregistered faiths working together to protect themselves from government persecution.

Father Thanh wrote on his Facebook account on Feb. 15 that, while they were visiting Bui Van Luot, a leader of the Hoa Hao Buddhist sect who lives in the commune, 30 policemen forced entry and checked the personal papers of the four visitors. The four were then hauled off to a police station.

Police separated and questioned the visitors for hours and accused them of causing public disorder but the four men remained silent. After that, they were released and forced to leave the area.

Police also forcibly stopped some Hoa Hao followers from meeting the visiting delegates.

The council members were visiting the Hoa Hao followers to show solidarity and pray for national prosperity on the occasion of the Lunar New Year festival. [More]