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State Department Issues Religious Freedom Report, No Change in Countries of Particular Concern E-mail
Written by Don Byrd   
Tuesday, 13 September 2011

Today, Secretary of State Hilary Clinton released the International Religious Freedom Report covering the six-month period from July to December 2010. (The State Department is switching to calendar-year reporting periods in the future.) You can read her remarks here.

Importantly, the report indicates there are no changes in the State Department's list of Countries of Particular Concern. Burma, China, Eritrea, Iran, North Korea, Saudi Arabia, Sudan and Uzbekistan remain the most "worst violators of religious freedom."

A few additional notes from the Executive Summary stand out:

      • Violent extremist groups continue to target religious minorities around the world. The report specifically mentions violent eruptions during the last half of 2010 in Iraq, Afghanistan, Pakistan, and Nigeria.
      • The report offers this chilling sentence with regard to anti-Semitism: "Anti-Semitism continued or increased on every continent in the last year."
      • Anti-muslim restrictions grew across much of Europe
      • Many government during the past year have used security concerns as a justification to increase restrictions on religious freedom.
      • In an addendum referencing activity since the reporting period ended, the State Department offers strong condemnation of Pakistan, where recent events show "symptoms of deep societal intolerance and demonstrate the Government of Pakistan's inability or unwillingness to prevent violence and to hold perpetrators accountable."

Read the full report here.

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