International Religious Freedom Report Cites Threats, Violence, and Genocide

Troubling trends are on the rise threatening religious freedom worldwide. 

The U.S. State Department released its annual report Monday, highlighting the status of religious oppression and violence in nearly 200 countries. 

The annual report also shows a rise in this persecution in several countries. 

CBN News Senior Reporter Gary Lane, who’s traveled to more than 120 countries, has witnessed religious persecution first-hand. He believes the best thing we can do for religious freedom is give our time, finances, and prayers. He noted the report raises big questions about religious freedom and our part in it. 

“The key is, how serious are we when it comes to China?” Lane asked. “You’ve got at many as 3 million Uyghurs imprisoned, facing genocide. We say it’s genocide being committed, and what are we doing about it? Why are we still buying Chinese products?” 

The report shows both the good and bad of international religious freedom. The information gathered is used to advance religious freedom in oppressed nations. The goal is to shed light on actions impacting religious freedom – and use it to preserve and protect this human right for all. 

“Unfortunately, the report also documents the continuation, and in some instances, the rise of very troubling trends,” said Secretary of State Antony Blinken. 

Blinken designated 16 countries of particular concern where governments in parts of the world continue targeting religious minorities. Methods they use include torture, beatings, unlawful surveillance, and so-called reeducation camps. 

United States Ambassador-at-Large for International Religious Freedom Rashad Hussain works alongside Blinken to share this information with the public.

“Religion can be such a powerful force for good in the world,” said Hussain. 

The extensive report noted several concerning hot spots, including attacks on the Catholic Church in Nicaragua with more than 160 attacks against the church last year. It also notes potential crimes against humanity coming out of China, where Muslim Uyghurs are suffering genocide and imprisonment for their faith. 

And notably, the people of Iran — led by the killing of Mahsa Amini — a young woman arrested and beaten by the so-called morality police because her hijab did not fully cover her hair. 

“So, it’s a responsibility where we as Christians don’t just sit on our couch in North America, but to do something about it,” Lane said. 

Lane went on to explain why he believes persecution and violence are getting worse. 

“In Nigeria, Fulani Herdsmen are being financed to clear the Christians out of their land, because they want the land,” he explained. “In other countries, it’s more of a commitment to theology and doctrine, like in Iran. Jesus Christ said, ‘They hated me first, but they will also hate you because of me.’ So, Christians are being attacked around the world.” 

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