October 7, 2011. (Romereports.com)
In some countries, religious freedom isn't always an option. Religious
minorities are sometimes faced with threats, attacks, jail time and in
extreme cases even death.
Every year the U.S Commission on International Religious Freedom lists countries that are of “particular concern.”
This year, it lists 14 countries under this category. They include Burma, China, Egypt, Eritrea, Iran, Iraq, Nigeria, North Korea, Pakistan, Saudi Arabia, Sudan, Turkmenistan, Uzbekistan and Vietnam. From the list, eight countries are long term offenders.
Officials say it's the actual government of these countries that deny religious freedom, or simply tolerate these type of attacks.
According to the report, most recently, Egypt's government has failed to protect Coptic Christians. The community became ever more vulnerable after former president Hosni Mubarak stepped down in February. Since then, the report says military and security forces have attacked Christian Churches as well as Christian demonstrators.
The report also includes countries that are on a 'watch list” so to speak. Among others this list includes Afghanistan, Cuba, India, Russia, Turkey, Somalia and Venezuela.
This report is used to make policy recommendations to the U.S President, Secretary of State and to Congress.