Just as press freedom around the world has been steadily declining in recent years, religious freedom is also under attack.
“By any measure, religious freedom abroad has been under serious and sustained assault since the release of our commission’s last Annual Report in 2015. From the plight of new and longstanding prisoners of conscience, to the dramatic rise in the numbers of refugees and internally displaced persons, to the continued acts of bigotry against Jews and Muslims in Europe, and to the other abuses detailed in this report, there was no shortage of attendant suffering worldwide," a new report issued by the U.S. Commission on International Religious Freedom states. "[These] are crises in their own right which cry out for continued action on the part of the international community, including the United States. To be effective, such action must recognize the unmistakable fact that religious freedom is a common thread in each of these challenges, and deserves a seat at the table when nations discuss humanitarian, security, and other pressing issues. The United States and other countries must fully accord this right the respect it deserves and redouble their efforts to defend this pivotal liberty worldwide."
The report suggests the State Department add Egypt, Iraq, Nigeria, Pakistan, Syrian and number of other countries to its list of "countries of particular concern."
"ISIL threatens the region, Iraq’s stability, and human rights and religious freedom for all Iraqis. ISIL’s violent religious and political ideology allows for no space for religious diversity or freedom of thought or expression," the report states. "The group has deliberately expelled minority communities from their historic homelands, forced them to convert to ISIL’s version of Islam, raped and enslaved women and children, and tortured and killed community members, including by stoning, electrocution, and beheading. ISIL has targeted all of Iraq’s smallest religious minority communities; its ongoing actions could well mark the end of ancient religious communities in northern Iraq."
In March, Secretary of State John Kerry officially declared ISIS is carrying out genocide against Christians and other minority groups in Libya, Syria and Iraq.
You can read the entire report here.