At its core, freedom of religion or belief requires freedom of expression. Both fundamental rights are protected in the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, yet nearly half of all countries penalize blasphemy, apostasy or defamation of religion. In 13 countries, atheists can be put to death for their lack of belief.
The U.S. State Department names and shames eight “Countries of Particular Concern” that severely violate religious freedom rights within their borders. These countries not only suppress religious expression, they systematically torture and detain people who cross political and social red lines around faith. The worst of the worst are:
Burma’s population is 90 percent Theravada Buddhist, a faith the government embraces and promotes over Christianity, Islam and Hinduism. Minority populations that adhere to these and other faiths are denied building permits, banned from proselytizing and pressured to convert to the majority faith. Religious groups must register with the government, and Burmese citizens must list their faith on official documents. Burma’s constitution provides for limited religious freedom, but individual laws and government officials actively restrict it. Most at risk in Burma are Rohingya Muslims, 240 of whom were killed this year in clashes with Buddhist mobs. Burma has refused to grant citizenship to 800,000 Rohingya, 240,000 of whom have fled their homes in recent clashes.
The ruling Chinese Communist Party is officially an atheist organisation. China’s constitution provides for freedom of religious belief, but the government actively restricts any religious expression that could potentially undermine its authority. Only five religious groups — Buddhists, Taoists, Muslims, Catholics and Protestants — can register with the government and legally hold services. Adherents of unregistered faiths and folk religions often worship illegally and in secret. Uighur Muslims, Tibetan Buddhists and Falun Gong practitioners have faced particularly severe repression in recent years, including forced conversion, torture and imprisonment.
The Eritrean government only recognizes four religious groups: the Eritrean Orthodox Church, Sunni Islam, the Roman Catholic Church, and the Evangelical Lutheran Church of Eritrea. These groups enjoy limited religious freedom while adherents of other faiths face harassment and imprisonment. Religious persecution in Eritrea is generally driven by government rather than social concerns. Jehovah’s Witnesses and other conscientious objectors who refuse to enroll in compulsory military training are subject to physical abuse, detention and hard labour. People of non-recognized religions are barred from congregating in disused houses of worship and have trouble obtaining passports or visas to exit the country.
Iran’s constitution offers some religious freedom rights for recognized sects of Islam along with Christians, Jews and Zoroastrians. Baha’is, who the government considers apostates and labels a “political sect,” are excluded from these limited protections and are systematically discriminated against through gozinesh provisions, which limit their access to employment, education and housing. Evangelical Christians and other faith groups face persecution for violating bans on proselytizing. Religious minorities have been charged in recent years and imprisoned in harsh conditions for committing “enmity against God” and spreading “anti-Islamic propaganda.” Government-controlled media regularly attack Baha’is, Jews and other minority faiths to amplify social hostilities against them.
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Is there any country that doesn’t have freedom of thought, belief, opinion and expression? if so, what countries don’t have it?
to saty13 don”t know where to start with you/ i will have to check your scripture “quote’s” if what you say is YOUR TRUTH ! i can actually see why non -muslems have a problem ,, with you!! i am atheist ..take people as they come… all i see here is…hate full.. wickedness…to all others!! i see comments like yours and i just despair of the human race !!! you actually make me very angry.. and i would love to speak to you in person..i don”t understand how you can believe your god ..(who i assume created ” INFIDELS like me” ) would choose to love muslems and have such hatred for all others !! whom ..i assume you believe he created …makes no sense on any level!!! no wonder muslems get such a bad rap!!! i am probably wasting my time on you …i see so much bigotry..anti muslem..anti christen ect ect..how about we forget about waiting for some god to fix every thing and we ..as human beings….fix it our selves… no ….that wouldn”t work either as people …would still find hatred in there hearts ..some where .. ..i despair of the human species !!! when i see rubbish like this… chris
Indonesia must be included! There is no religious freedom for Christian in Indonesia. The government deprive minority rights to religious freedom and belief by enacting discriminatory laws, no legal action taken against violator. More and more place of worship burdened, attacks on minority is common.No protection given to minority by the state.
Yes,I know there is clashes between Muslims and buddhists in Myanmar,both sides fight with each other,but in Iran Baha’is do not fight with anybody still the government of Iran put them in prison or kill them.So Iran is the worst country in this perspective.
Quran and sayings of the Prophet Muhammad (SWS), do include religious freedom : Surah Al-Kafiroon
In the name of Allah, the Beneficent, the Merciful
Say: O disbelievers! (1) I worship not that which ye worship; (2) Nor worship ye that which I worship. (3) And I shall not worship that which ye worship. (4) Nor will ye worship that which I worship. (5) Unto you your religion, and unto me my religion. (6)
بِسۡمِ ٱللهِ ٱلرَّحۡمَـٰنِ ٱلرَّحِيمِ
قُلۡ يَـٰٓأَيُّہَا ٱلۡڪَـٰفِرُونَ (١) لَآ أَعۡبُدُ مَا تَعۡبُدُونَ (٢) وَلَآ أَنتُمۡ عَـٰبِدُونَ مَآ أَعۡبُدُ (٣) وَلَآ أَنَا۟ عَابِدٌ۬ مَّا عَبَدتُّمۡ (٤) وَلَآ أَنتُمۡ عَـٰبِدُونَ مَآ أَعۡبُدُ (٥) لَكُمۡ دِينُكُمۡ وَلِىَ دِينِ (٦)
Unfortunately you quoted an EARLY passage in the Koran. Muslims are taught that the early passages are officially annulled / superseded by the later passages, which happen to be full of intolerance and hate and militarism. It’s the later part that all Islamic schools teach – everywhere in the world. (If you want to understand this better, look up the principle of “abrogation” in Islam.)
The fact is, much of the Quran is dedicated to distinguishing Muslims from non-Muslims and denigrating non-Muslims. For example:
“And never will Allah grant to the unbelievers a way to triumph over believers” (4:141)
“Muhammad is the messenger of Allah. And those with him are hard against the disbelievers and merciful among themselves…” (48:29)
The Koran says that the only acceptable position of non-Muslims is to be subjugated under Muslims under Islamic laws:
“Fight those who believe not in Allah nor the Last Day, nor hold that forbidden which hath been forbidden by Allah and His Messenger, nor acknowledge the religion of Truth, (even if they are) of the People of the Book, until they pay the Jizya (tax) with willing submission, and feel themselves subdued.” (9:29)
(Jizya is the money that non-Muslims must pay to their Muslim overlords in any Islamic state.)
The Quran tells Muslims to be compassionate with one another but ruthless to the infidels (non-believers).
Verse 7:176 compares non-believers to “panting dogs” with regard to their idiocy and worthlessness. Verse 7:179 says they are like “cattle” only worse. Verse 5:60 even says that Allah transformed Jews of the past into apes and pigs. This is echoed by verses 7:166 and 2:65.