Buddhist monks, Catholic priests and Christian ministers from the Vietnamese American community pray for religious freedom in Vietnam.


WESTMINSTER At least 5,000 people from local Vietnamese American religious and community groups came together in Little Saigon Friday night to participate in a candlelight vigil protesting religious persecution and human rights violations in North Vietnam.

The vigil took place in the parking lot of the Vien Dong supermarket at the corner of Brookhurst Street and Westminster Avenue.

The dispute in Hanoi is over a piece of land purchased by the parish in 1928 in a town called Thai Ha. When the Communists took over in 1954, most of the clergy was imprisoned or deported, according to news report in Asia News. Only a Father Joseph Vu was left in charge of the 15 acres of land and the parish church.

But, the report states, the Communist government slowly seized the property, which has now been reduced to half an acre. Vu has stated verbally and in letters that he never donated or sold any land. Now, the members of the Thai Ha parish are fighting to get their land and religious freedom back.

Friday night's vigil saw the coming together of Buddhists and Christians in the Vietnamese American community to pray in solidarity for the Thai Ha parish and their religious freedom.