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Protecting Faith in a World Filled with Religious Persecution and Repression

May 14, 2019 in Economics

By Doug Bandow

Doug Bandow

The Easter bombings in Sri Lanka offered a reminder both
dramatic and tragic that religious minorities suffer brutally
around the world. What made that instance unusual is that members
of a minority faith, Muslims, targeted members of another minority
faith, Christians. The more usual persecutors in Sri Lanka are
Buddhist nationalists, who routinely target both Christians and
Muslims.

But Sri Lanka is not considered to be one of the world’s
worst examples of religious repression. In many nations government
restriction combines with social hostility to make life
extraordinarily difficult for those who believe differently. The
U.S. Commission on International Religious Freedom has just
released its latest report on religious liberty around the
world.

The Commission highlighted 33 countries or other entities for
their uniquely harsh treatment of people of faith. Talking about
“religious liberty” has an ivory tower quality to it.
But whether members of minority faiths are free typically has a
huge impact on their daily lives: discrimination, harassment, and
persecution, often violent, are a constant for many people.

The Easter bombings in
Sri Lanka offered a reminder both dramatic and tragic that
religious minorities suffer brutally around the world.

USCIRF cited 16 nations as “countries of particular
concern.” That means systematic, ongoing, egregious
violations” of religious freedom. Five non-state actors were
rated as “entities of particular concern.” Following
slightly behind were 12 countries placed on the Commission’s
Tier 2 list, meaning they met one or two of the three tests for CPC
status.

The 16 worst nations are Burma/Myanmar, Central African
Republic, China, Eritrea, Iran, Nigeria, North Korea, Pakistan,
Russia, Saudi Arabia, Sudan, Syria, Tajikistan, Turkmenistan,
Uzbekistan, and Vietnam. The five terrible entities are
Hay’at Tahrir al-Sham (Syria), Houthis (Yemen), Islamic State
(Syria and Iraq), al-Shabab (Somali), and Taliban (Afghanistan).
The slightly less bad persecutors are Afghanistan, Azerbaijan,
Bahrain, Cuba, Egypt, India, Indonesia, Iraq, Kazakhstan, Laos,
Malaysia, and Turkey.

There are two broad categories of persecutors. The most
important are Islamic, mostly in Muslim majority states. The
genesis of violence in 10 of 16 and five of five resulted from
Islam. Seven of the 16 are communist or former communist (the three
Central Asian states are both Muslim and communist, though in this
case the latter factor likely predominates). Burma is
Buddhist/authoritarian. Eritrea is generic totalitarian, if such a
thing can exist. Nine of the 12 Tier 2 are Muslim. Four are
communist or former communist (the two Central Asian nations are
both but lean communist on persecution). India is majority
Hindu.

In only two of the 33 named are Christians also persecutors.
Central African Republic is majority Christian and politics is
entwined with the religious violence; there has been Christian
retaliation against Muslim …read more

Source: OP-EDS

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