Iran, Egypt, other Muslim countries top violators of religious freedom, report finds
Iran, Egypt and several other Muslim nations are among the world’s top violators of religious freedom, particularly for their anti-Christian and anti-Semitic persecution, according to the 2013 annual report released by the bipartisan U.S. Commission on International Religious Freedom (USCIRF).
Egyptian President Mohamed Morsi, whose country found itself among the top violators of religious freedom in a newly released report. Credit: Wikimedia Commons.
The report singled out Iran’s theocratic leaders, President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad and Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, for their suppression on non-Islamic religions.
“Since becoming president, President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad has called for an end to the development of Christianity in Iran,” the report said.
Iran was also criticized for its state-sponsored anti-Semitism.
“Heightened anti-Semitism and repeated Holocaust denials by senior government officials and clerics continue to foster a climate of fear among Iran’s Jewish community,” the report said.
The report also singled out the Egyptian government’s failures in protecting its Christian community since the 2011 revolution.
“In Egypt, despite some progress during a turbulent political transition, the government has failed or been slow to protect from violence religious minorities, particularly Coptic Christians,” according to the report.
The report also cited the widespread anti-Semitism in Egypt’s media. A video surfaced earlier this year depicting Egyptian President Mohamed Morsi calling Zionists “bloodsuckers” and the “descendants of apes and pigs.”
“In addition, the government has not responded adequately to combat widespread and virulent anti-Semitism in the government-controlled media,” the report said.
Overall, two-thirds of the 15 countries identified as “countries of particular concern (CPC)” are Muslim. These are countries that have engaged in “particularly severe” violations of religious freedom, the report stated. They include: Burma, China, Egypt, Eritrea, Iran, Iraq, Nigeria, North Korea, Pakistan, Saudi Arabia, Sudan, Tajikistan, Turkmenistan, Uzbekistan, and Vietnam.