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Religion Today Blog Christian Blog and Commentary

Government Attacking Religious Freedom in 'Nearly Half the World's Countries'

  • Religion Today
    Religious persecution, missions, Christianity around the world
  • 2012 Aug 03
  • Comments

Attacks on Christians are rising in Arab Spring countries, anti-Semitism is growing around the globe, and people worldwide are paying with their lives for their religious beliefs, according to the 2011 International Religious Freedom Report, released this week at the State Department, reports. "[In] nearly half of the world's countries, governments either abuse religious minorities or did not intervene in cases of societal abuse," said Suzan Johnson Cook, U.S. ambassador-at-large for international religious freedom. In all eight countries named last August as "countries of particular concern" -- Burma, China, Eritrea, Iran, North Korea, Saudi Arabia, Sudan and Uzbekistan -- religious freedom deteriorated during the last year, according to the report. In North Korea, "genuine religious freedom does not exist," Cook said, while religious freedom in Iran "has deteriorated from an already horrible situation." Other countries, especially in the Muslim world, are "increasingly using blasphemy and apostasy and dissent laws to curb religious freedom," she said.