U.S. religious report says Taiwan has made “significant” improvement to rights for Muslims

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A new report that was released by the U.S. Department of State last Friday says that Taiwan has made “significant” progress in order to improve the rights that are enjoyed by Muslims in the country according to the International Religious Freedom report 2018.

The Chinese-Muslim association was reported as “authorities were making significant progress in improving rights for Muslims” and this was by increasing the amount of restaurants and hotels that cater to Muslim’s dietary requirements and establishing of prayers rooms for them. The report stated that “The number of halal-certified restaurants and hotels increased from 120 to 160 during the year,”

Also, it was mentioned in the report that “Local authorities in Taoyuan, Taichung, Yunlin, Chiayi, and Yilan held Eid al-Fitr commemorations. Authorities built new prayer rooms at train stations, libraries, and tourist destinations.”

A remark from Vice President Chen Chien-jen was also mentioned in the report when he attended the canonization of Pope Paul VI and six other Catholic figures at St. Peter’s Basilica during a trip to the Vatican last October. The report said that this is an indication that Taiwan is pushing its efforts for religious freedom.

Chen was quoted in the report as saying that “As a beacon of religious freedom and tolerance, Taiwan is committed to further strengthening ties with the Holy See via substantive cooperative initiatives spanning democracy, religious freedom, and human rights,”

However, the report also had some criticism regarding Taiwan’s labour law. This has already been reported last year by the U.S. State Department regarding its concerns. The concern is that Taiwan’s labour law does not allow a day off for migrant domestic workers and caregivers.

The report states that most of them are Muslims from Indonesia and their ability to attend religious services is limited in this way. The report also mentioned Tibetan Buddhist monks’ concerns regarding resident visas.

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