Believers in many countries face severe challenges, according to the State Department’s annual Report on International Religious Freedom, released last week.
Religious freedom conditions in China, Nigeria, Pakistan, Iran, and many other countries fail to meet basic international human rights standards. This led Secretary of State Mike Pompeo to decry the “great darkness over parts of the world where people of faith are persecuted or denied the right to worship.” This dire report comes on the heels of a historic directive issued by the Trump administration to advance religious freedom’s standing in U.S. foreign policy.
The State Department’s latest report points to China as a global leader in religious freedom violations. In 2019, Christians, Uyghur Muslims, Tibetan Buddhists, and Falun Gong practitioners all found themselves victims of the Chinese government’s continued campaign against religion.
The report noted that the ruling Chinese Communist Party (CCP) forces state-affiliated religious institutions to insert government propaganda into their teachings. Meanwhile, the CCP shuts down unregistered houses of worship altogether. The U.S. government estimates that China arbitrarily detains over one million Uyghurs due to their faith and ethnic identity. The Chinese government will go to great lengths to suppress religious belief, leading Secretary Pompeo and other U.S. officials to label China’s oppression a “war on faith.”
The State Department’s report also recognized mounting inter-religious violence in Africa. The last year saw Muslim Fulani militants commit many violent attacks on Christians. The terrorist groups Boko Haram and the Islamic State West Africa Province (ISWAP) brutally attacked both Christians and Muslims in large numbers. A surge in violent attacks has occurred in recent months.
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SOURCE: Christian Post, Arielle Del Turco