Church Worldwide: Religious Freedom Seriously Lacking for Three-fourths of World’s Population, Ambassador Says

The U.S. State Department warned that religion-based terrorists as well as some governments across the globe are threatening the liberties of religious minorities.

“One of the best ways to deny these murderers their victory is by ensuring that those they have sought to destroy not only survive, but thrive,” said Deputy Secretary of State Antony Blinken, announcing the 2015 Annual Report on International Religious Freedom on August 10.

Though the report has often focused on serious violations of religious freedom by governments across the globe, Blinken said it also details the “major threat” by groups like Daesh (or the Islamic State group), al-Qaida, al-Shabab, and Boko Haram.

“There is, after all, no more egregious form of discrimination than separating out the followers of one religion from another—whether in a village, on a bus, in a classroom—with the intent of murdering or enslaving the members of a particular group,” he said.

The document, in its 18th year, includes details of how almost 200 countries are faring in protecting the religious liberty of their citizens.

David Saperstein, ambassador-at-large for international religious freedom, said 24 percent of the world’s countries—in which 74 percent of the world’s population lives—have serious restrictions on religious freedom, based on government policies or hostile acts by individual organizations or societies.

He highlighted the report’s emphasis on laws around the globe about blasphemy and apostasy: “No one region, country, or religion is immune to the pernicious effects of such legislation.”

The report notes that people are imprisoned with death sentences in Mauritania and Pakistan for allegedly criticizing the Prophet Muhammad or desecrating the Quran, while Saudi Arabia has overturned a poet’s death sentence for apostasy charges, but he was instead sentenced to eight years in prison and 800 lashes.

Saperstein cited the example of a boy who was playing soccer in Syria, “said a bad word out of his frustration,” and was detained by the Islamic State for cursing God.

“In a matter of days he was marched out into a public square and murdered by a firing squad in front of a crowd of hundreds, including his parents,” said Saperstein. “Chilling stories like this show how terrorist organizations have committed by far some of the most egregious abuses when claiming individuals have engaged in apostasy, blasphemy, or cursing God.”

State actions based on blasphemy charges include Iran’s executions of prisoners of conscience for their beliefs, Pakistan’s arrests of Muslims and Christians, and the fining of an avowed atheist in Muenster, Germany, for bumper stickers that challenged Roman Catholic beliefs.

Saperstein, who has visited 25 countries in the year-and-a-half he has held his State Department role, said the U.S. is working with governments and other organizations to press for changes in the laws. He cited Iceland’s dropping of its blasphemy law last year as a model for others.

But he also credited those outside government for taking action to fight blasphemy laws as well as working to protect religious minorities in other ways. He praised groups, including Muslim youths, who formed human rings around synagogues facing anti-Semitic threats and Muslims who attended Masses in France in solidarity with their communities after the recent beheading of a Catholic priest.

The State Department also designates “Countries of Particular Concern,” which are known for ongoing religious freedom violations. In February, it announced the current list of those countries: Burma, China, Eritrea, Iran, North Korea, Saudi Arabia, Sudan, Tajikistan, Turkmenistan and Uzbekistan.

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What about the threat to religious majorities within their own countries of origin? I am thinking partucularly of the threat that is posed to the church by Islamic immigrants to America, Canada, Western Europe. When you have the creeping in of Sharia blasphemy laws through such seemingly innocent phrases such as, not wanting to give offense, that is when you have religious persecution of the church.

Why is Islam being catered to in such areas as prayer facilities at work, hijab indoctrination days at public schools, hate speech laws which are only blasphemy laws in disguise, removal of pork and alcoholic products from public places and events? When the public space is being dominated by Muslims in their occupation of public throughfares for prayer isn't that an act of intimidation? When the public space is interrupted with the Muslim call to prayer which is a declaration of the superioirty of Allah over all others isn't that psychological intimidation?

We in the West are ceding the public space to Islam, and only Islam, when we misinterpret the private Constitutionally protected right to the exercise one's religious choice as he/she pleases, to mean that the public space must be sanitized of the presence of anything that offends Islam. Freedom of religion was never meant to be taken as others having a Constitutional obligation to enable the believers of another relgion to practise their religion at the expense of those who do not share the same belief. This is the way that the the interpretation of freedom of religion has come to be understood under imperialistic and supremacist Islam.

If a Western woman isn't properly attired the Muslims think nothing of assulting her verbally and physically. This is becaus of Islam's inherent misogyny and its inherent hatered of all non-Islamic faiths and Western civilzation. In Islam pure women are veiled and impure women are not. The non-vieled woman is candidate for sexual assault because she is not following the Prophet's instruction.

There is no other immigrant group to the West that has come and stated that "it will give us fetility". This is a statement of conquest and ethnic cleansing of non-Muslim countries. In other words Islam is out to commit genocide now just as it has done at other times in its 1400 yr. history.

It is interesting to note that a good deal of the countries on the list are Muslim countries. Just as it is interesting to note that the majoirty of the threat to Christianity both in West and in 3 World countries also comes from those who belong to Islam. None of which is an accident.

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