flagsWritten by Don Byrd

Earlier this week, the U.S. State Department issued its annual report on international religious freedom. If you have any interest in international issues generally, or a country in particular, you should check it out. The site is searchable by country or region.

As for what it says, this report paints a very dire picture of worldwide religious freedom. Here is the opening paragraph:

In 2013, the world witnessed the largest displacement of religious communities in recent memory. In almost every corner of the globe, millions of Christians, Muslims, Hindus, and others representing a range of faiths were forced from their homes on account of their religious beliefs. Out of fear or by force, entire neighborhoods are emptying of residents. Communities are disappearing from their traditional and historic homes and dispersing across the geographic map. In conflict zones, in particular, this mass displacement has become a pernicious norm.

In conjunction with the report, the State Department updated its list of Countries of Particular Concern, adding Turkmenistan to the list that includes: Burma, China, Eritrea, Iran, North Korea, Saudi Arabia, Sudan, and Uzbekistan.

The U.S. Commission on International Religious Freedom has also recommended Egypt, Iraq, Nigeria, Pakistan, Syria, Tajikistan, and Vietnam for the list.