Religious rights watchdog pushes to add Pakistan, Syria to list of worst offenders

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Robert P. George, chairman of the U.S. Commission on Religious Freedom, testifies before a House Foreign Affairs subcommittee on the state of religious freedom around the world on May 22, 2014. Religion News Service photo by Lauren Markoe

Robert P. George, chairman of the U.S. Commission on Religious Freedom, testifies before a House Foreign Affairs subcommittee on the state of religious freedom around the world on May 22, 2014. Religion News Service photo by Lauren Markoe

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WASHINGTON (RNS) Pakistan and Syria have earned their places on the list of the world's worst violators of religious freedom, says a leading religious liberty watchdog.

  • Rashid.M

    According to the USCIRF website, all the countries Robert George wanted added to the first tier of the “countries of particular concern” list are now on it. Including Pakistan and Syria.

    I’m surprised though to see that a country like Brunei does not even qualify for the second tier. Brunei discriminates against all religions other than the state sanctioned Shafi’i sect of Sunni Islam. Minority faiths such as Baha’i and Qadyani (derogatory term for Ahmadi) are completely outlawed. The government offers financial incentives (effectively bribes) for the indigenous population to convert to sanctioned Islam. Proselytization by other faiths is outlawed and the importation of religious material strictly controlled. And if the alleged philandering of the ageing Sultan, who under article 3 of the constitution is both Head of State and ‘head of the religion of Brunei’, is true, then it is the height of hypocrisy for him to have recently imposed his version of sharia on the entire population.

  • Lauren Markoe

    Hi Rashid: The USCIRF list includes all those countries but the State Department list, the one USCIRF is trying to influence, has not changed since 2006 — and that’s the one that can really shape U.S. policy.

    Re. Brunei, you got me thinking. I checked the last State Department International Freedom report, and it does not evaluate Brunei as far as I can see. I don’t know why — perhaps because the population is small and they chose to focus resources on evaluating larger countries?Just a guess on my part.

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  • Rashid.M

    Hi Lauren, thanks for the clarification.

  • Akhand

    Pakistan is the worst !

    Hindus were around 20% in 1947 and now they are less than 1%. 1000 Hindu Girls get kidnapped, raped and get forcibly converted to Islam. I dont understand why western racists ignore persecution of Hindus.

    80 million Hindus were killed by Muslim Invaders. Biggest genocide in the history of mankind. But the people of book shed no tears when most peaceful people in the world are getting butchered.

    Shame on you all !