The U.S. Department of State today released its July-December, 2010 International Religious Freedom Report.
This International Religious Freedom Report documents major developments with respect to religious freedom in 198 countries and territories from July-December 2010. The report reflects a broad understanding of universal religious freedom, one that includes the rights to hold private beliefs, including agnosticism or atheism, as well as the right to communal religious expression and education.
The International Religious Freedom Act of 1998 (IRF Act) defines five types of violations of religious freedom: arbitrary prohibitions on, restrictions of, or punishment for (i) assembling for peaceful religious activities, such as worship, preaching, and prayer, including arbitrary registration requirements; (ii) speaking freely about one’s religious beliefs; (iii) changing one’s religious beliefs and affiliation; (iv) possession and distribution of religious literature, including Bibles and other sacred texts; and (v) raising one’s children in the religious teachings and practices of one’s choice.
This report documents numerous ways in which governments and societies violate religious freedom, including:
- Active State Repression and Impunity
- Violent Extremist Attacks
- Apostasy and Blasphemy Laws
- Repression of Religious Minorities
- Restrictions on Muslim Attire and Expression
- Restrictions Derived from Security and Related Concerns