http://www.catholicnewsagency.com/images/size340/A_young_girl_lights_a_candle_at_a_Marian_Grotto_in_Pakistan_Credit_Magdalena_Wolnik_CNA_12_17_14.jpgWashington D.C., May 2, 2016 / 04:48 pm (CNA/EWTN News).- The right to exercise religion came under sustained assault around the world in 2015, according to a new report from a bipartisan United States commission, affecting Christians, Muslims, Jews, among others.
“By any measure, religious freedom abroad has been under serious and sustained assault since the release of our commission’s last Annual Report in 2015,” Dr. Robert George, chair of the U.S. Commission on International Religious Freedom, stated Monday.
He was speaking at the release of USCIRF’s annual religious freedom report.
“At best, in most of the countries we covered,” George noted, the situation of religious freedom “failed to improve” or, worse, “spiraled downward” in 2015.
“I fear … that we’re losing the battle of ideas,” he stated in a May 2 press conference introducing the report. “We need the American people’s support on this,” he added. “The public needs to get behind this. We believe in religious freedom. It’s enshrined in the very first amendment to our Constitution.”
USCIRF is a federal, bipartisan commission that advises the State Department on religious freedom worldwide. It was created in 1998 by the International Religious Freedom Act.
One of the commission’s main tasks is to publish an annual report on the global state of religious freedom, noting the countries with the worst abuses against the freedom to practice religion.
Among the report’s recommendations is a list of countries that should be on the agency’s Countries of Particular Concern list, or the countries where the worst violations of religious freedom are taking place, either at the hand of the government or with impunity from the government.