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U.S. State Department releases country-by-country analysis of religious freedom

2014-07-30

Another grim milestone for humanity. 2013 was one of the worst years for the displacement of entire religious communities around the world. A comprehensive report from the U.S. State Department tracked down the state of religious freedom in nearly 200 countries. 

KENNETH HACKETT
U.S. Ambassador to the Holy See
"Religious freedom takes a lot of interpretations. In our own countries there are some very fine lines on interpretation. But the actual persecution of people because of their religion is one of the horrors of our day.”

The report highlighted areas where entire communities are targeted simply for their religion. It recorded increased persecution of Christians in 2013, noting that in countries like Syria, Egypt and Iraq, entire Christian communities have been decimated by violence.

Meanwhile, the report also details repressive government policies against Christians and other minorities in places like Saudi Arabia, Turkmenistan and Pakistan. The Vatican expressed their concern for these policies.

MSGR. MARCELO SANCHEZ SORONDO
President, Pontifical Academies for Sciences
"First off, the Holy See wants to warn the world about the issue. Second, to work with Christians so they stay. And third, to get the universal Church to pray and take social actions to stop persecution.”

But the U.S. Ambassador to the Holy See pointed out that the report highlights the plight of all religious communities, not just Christians. Whether it's rising anti-Semitism in Europe to discrimination against Shia Muslims in countries like Bahrain, Ambassador Hackett said the U.S. and the Holy See have a a common stance. 

KENNETH HACKETT
U.S. Ambassador to the Holy See
"Wherever we can, we want to find a common cause with the Church, and the Holy See itself, on issues of religious persecution of all people, not just Christians. It's for all people, and the Holy See has been a loud and abiding voice for those kinds of concerns.”

American agencies will use the latest report on religious freedom to help determine U.S. policy in those countries, and determine the best way to help promote religious freedom.


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