NCPA - National Center for Policy Analysis

Don't Count on Religious Freedom in Islamic World

November 6, 2001

Several human rights organizations report that many Muslim-ruled countries have dismal records when it comes to religious freedom and tolerance. Christians are particularly discriminated against.

In fact, Christianity is banned in Saudi Arabia, Afghanistan and Kuwait.

  • The latest U.S. State Department religious freedom report rates Afghanistan among the worst offenders -- along with Burma, China, Cuba, Laos, North Korea and Vietnam.
  • Runners-up include Iran, Iraq, Pakistan, Saudi Arabia and Sudan, where leaving Islam for another religion is a capital offense.
  • Turkmenistan -- where four Baptists were tortured for having religious literature in their car -- made the list, along with Uzbekistan.
  • Nigeria, Indonesia and Sudan lead the world in actual death tolls of Christians, according to the Center for Religious Freedom at Freedom House -- and the number of Christians and animists who have perished in Sudan is estimated at 2 million.

By contrast, roughly 1.8 million to 2 million Muslims in the U.S. are free to construct mosques, set up their own nonprofit groups, evangelize for their own religion and raise funds here -- protected by the First Amendment.

Source: Julia Duin, "Christians Face Dismal Plight in Islamic Realms," Washington Times, November 6, 2001.


Browse more articles on International Issues