NCPA - National Center for Policy Analysis

State Department Identifies Countries Denying Religious Freedom

October 8, 2002

Religious freedom suffers in two types of countries, according to a new State Department report. Communist countries designated as "authoritarian" suppress all religion. And predominantly Muslim countries display "state hostility" to unapproved faiths.

These classifications were assigned in the fourth annual "Report on International Religious Freedom."

Here are some highlights:

  • Thirty-two countries violate religious freedom -- but North Korea, Iran, Iraq, Burma and Sudan were singled out as "particularly severe" violators.
  • The International Religious Freedoms Act, passed in 1998, mandates the annual study and requires State Department sanctions against "countries of particular concern."
  • When asked whether Saudi Arabia should appear on the worst-case sanctions list, State Department officials admitted that would be a "tough call."
  • The department has already been criticized for not singling out Sudan and China for inclusion on the list.

Source: Larry Witham, "U.S. Lists Nations Curbing Religion," Washington Times, October 8, 2002.

For State Department report


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