Religious Repression

Should U.S. support of religious freedom be stronger?


Nearly 75 percent of the world's inhabitants — 5.1 billion people — live in countries that restrict religious freedom, a fundamental human right under international law. Draconian antiblasphemy laws, threats of imprisonment, physical attacks and the desecration of holy sites are among the tools used to stifle religious expression. Many foreign policy experts see religious oppression as a serious threat to global stability. Advocates in the United States are pushing policymakers to make religious freedom a higher priority, arguing that promoting it abroad will help defuse tensions and foster peace and democracy. But others say that making religion a focus of foreign policy is a mistake because it is too complex and volatile an issue. Meanwhile, some countries, such as newly independent South Sudan, have ...

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