Religious Freedom at Risk


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ABSTRACTZENIT - Religious Freedom at Risk Indexed Archive | Advanced Search | The World Seen From Rome Zenit? All about Zenit Testimonies Services Conditions of use How is Zenit financed Prizes and Recognitions Faqs Identity and Organization Technical Problems Receive zenit Subscribe by Email Unsubscribe Gift-Subscriptions Zenit in RSS Zenit on your Web Conditions of use Problems receiving Zenit Support zenit Send a donation How is Zenit financed Legal Status Participate Help Zenit Spread Zenit Give the gift of Zenit Recommend Zenit Contact us FAQ Identity and Organization Technical Problems Advertising Contact us English > See information Why I support ZENIT... SEND DONATION ZE12033006 - 2012-03-30 Permalink: http://www.zenit.org/article-34550?l=english Religious Freedom at Risk Latest Report Highlights Dangers By Father John Flynn, LC ROME, MARCH 30, 2012 (Zenit.org).- The U.S. Commission on International Religious Freedom (USCIRF) released its 2012 annual report, along with its recommendations to the Secretary of State as to which nations should be included on the list of “countries of particular concern” or CPCs. On the list were: Burma, China, Egypt, Eritrea, Iraq, Iran, Nigeria, North Korea, Pakistan, Saudi Arabia, Sudan, Tajikistan, Turkey, Turkmenistan, Uzbekistan, and Vietnam. “Nations that trample upon basic rights, including freedom of religion, provide fertile ground for poverty and insecurity, war and terror, and violent, radical movements and activities,” commented USCIRF Chair Leonard Leo. The report, at more than 300 pages long, contained detailed information both on the CPC countries and another group that are on a Watch List for the period from April 1 last year up to the end of February. In its introduction the report noted that while much attention has been paid to the ongoing economic problems there has been an unnoticed crisis of equal severity regarding religious freedom. “To an alarming extent, freedom of thought, conscience, and religion or belief was being curtailed, often threatening the safety and survival of innocent persons, including members of religious minorities,” the report affirmed. The introduction also criticized the lack of action by the federal government regarding USCIRF’s recommendations. Currently only eight countries have been listed by the State Department as CPCs and for two of them, Saudi Arabia and Uzbekistan, Presidential waivers have been granted, meaning that no actions have been taken against them. Arab Spring The report examined the consequences of the Arab Spring in Egypt. In general it has led to a dramatic worsening of religious freedom. Coptic Christians and their churches have suffered repeated attacks and instead of defending them military forces have, instead, turned their guns on Christians, the report denounced. “The ongoing violence, and the failure to prosecute those responsible, continued to foster a climate of impunity, especially in Upper Egypt,” the report commented. In fact, during 2011around 100 Coptic Christians were killed in sectarian attacks, more than the total for the previous ten years, the report noted. It called upon the transitional government to undertake reforms to guarantee religious freedom. Discrimination against Christians means they are very scarce in the upper ranks of government or the military. There are only a few Christian members of parliament and none who are university deans or judges. Another CPC examined in the report was Nigeria. Over 800 people were killed in the riots in the north of the country following the presidential elections in April last year, and over 430 churches were bu.......