(RNS) — State Department officials continued to point to religious freedom atrocities in Russia, China and Afghanistan as they released their annual report on threats to religious liberties across the globe.“Far too many governments continue to freely target faith community members within their borders,” said Rashad Hussain, ambassador-at-large for international religious freedom, at an event with Secretary of State Antony Blinken on Monday (May 15) marking the release of the 2022 International Religious Freedom Report. “A second theme and trend the report highlights is the increase of government restrictions on access to holy sites and places of worship.”
Hussain pointed to Russia’s war in Ukraine as one cause of destruction to religious sites and noted the ways Chinese authorities have caused Muslims and Buddhists to lose sacred spaces.
“We have all seen the sad pictures of Ukraine’s civilians sifting through the rubble of their beautiful and most historic churches destroyed by Russia’s brutal war of aggression,” he said. “Uyghurs have witnessed the PRC (People’s Republic of China) Government destroy or repurpose their mosques or cemeteries. Authorities also destroy the monasteries of Tibetan Buddhists and expelled monks and nuns.”
Hussain also spoke of how members of Afghan communities who “do not toe the Taliban’s narrow theological line” need to flee or hide their religious identity.
Secretary of State Antony Blinken, left, listens as Ambassador- …
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