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House Panel Probes 'Global Crisis' of Religious Freedom


The House Foreign Affairs Committee is investigating what it calls a "global crisis" of religious freedom.

The probe comes on the heels of a Pew study, which shows 75 percent of the world's people live in nations that do not have religious freedom. Researchers found that in these nations, people are oftentimes attacked in the streets for their faith.

Speaking before the House panel Tuesday, U.S. Ambassador-at-Large for International Religious Freedom David Saperstein said even nations that used to offer some religious freedom have become radicalized.
"We continue to see the negative impact, secondly, of blasphemy and apostasy laws in countries, including Pakistan, Saudi Arabia, Egypt, Sudan," Saperstein said. "Such laws have been used in some countries as a pretext to justify violence in the name of religion."

Dr. Robert George, chairman of the Independent U.S. Commission on International Religious Freedom, said religious freedom is not only a human right, but also makes the world safer.
"The security and stability that we want for ourselves and therefore need in the world is at risk when religious freedom is undermined abroad," he said.
George also said the Obama administration could do much more to protect relgious freedom around the world.

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