Date: May 9, 2013
By Joseph DeCaro, BosNewsLife International Correspondent
WASHINGTON, USA (BosNewsLife)– Of the 15 "worst violators of religious freedom" in the world, 10 are Islamic states, the U.S. Commission on International Religious Freedom (USCIRF) says.
Burma, China, Eritrea, Iran, North Korea, Saudi Arabia, Sudan, Uzbekistan, Egypt, Iraq, Nigeria, Pakistan, Tajikistan, Turkmenistan and Vietnam severely restrict religious activities by harassing individuals and groups for their beliefs, added the USCIRF in its 2013 Annual Report seen by BosNewsLife's news partner Worthy News.
In a report monitored Thursday, May 9, the USCIRF said it had classified the states as "countries of particular concern".
The Commission is an independent advisory body that monitors reported abuses of religious freedom by identifying nations such as Egypt — where it claims tha transitional government failed to protect religious minorities, usually Coptic Christians, from Islamic-inspired violence.
Muslim-dominated Iraq was cited for tolerating "violent, religiously motivated attacks" and the Islamic Republic of Iran for "prolonged detention, torture, and executions based primarily, or entirely on the religion of the accused." Neighboring Iran was singled out for often accusing converts to Christianity of crimes against state security.
SAUDI ARABIA INVOLVEMENT
Saudi Arabia suppresses all religious practices outside of its officially-sanctioned Wahhabism, the USCIRF noted. The home of Islam prosecutes individuals for apostasy, blasphemy and even sorcery and interferes with the faiths of its guest workers, the Commission said.
Pakistan strictly enforces a controversial blasphemy law while failing to prosecute acts of sectarian violence by its Muslim majority against minority religions, according to USCIRF investigators.
It also said that religious freedoms in Sudan continue to suffer long after South Sudan due to President Bashir's "criminalization of apostasy" and his government's imposition of a strict interpretation of Sharia, or Muslim, law.
Nigeria was cited for its religious violence between the militant Muslims of Boko Haram group and Christians living in the North. The violence, it said, is compounded by the government’s inability to stop the incessant sectarian attacks.
The Commission also expressed concern over abuses in countries such as Afghanistan, Azerbaijan, Cuba, India, Indonesia, Kazakhstan, Laos and Russia.