Report identifies religious persecution

Published October 1, 2004

Saudi Arabia, North Korea and Laos top the list of the worst violators of religious freedom, according to the 2004 Report on Religious Freedom published in Rome by the Italian section of Aid to the Church in Need (ACN).

The sixth edition of the report published recently by ACN, an international aid organization of the Roman Catholic Church, looks at 183 countries, detailing abuse, discrimination and persecution linked to religious denominations.

ACN noted “the already complex situation in the Asian continent — where Islam and Hinduism, Christianity and Buddhism meet.”

The AsiaNews agency, whose director, Rev. Bernardo Cervellera, co-presented the report, said: “The Wahhabi kingdom (in Saudi Arabia ) is at the bottom of the world ranking as far as freedom of worship is concerned.”

Of North Korea, the report said there are no longer any priests and nuns in the communist country, and currently about 100,000 Christians are detained in work camps.

The equally secretive and closed southeast Asian country of Laos “is one of the few nations in which the government has specifically declared its intent to eliminate Christianity, considering it a violation of Laotian customs and ‘a foreign imperialist religion’ supported by Western political interests.”

Mr. Cervellera said in the statement: “Destroying schools is an element of persecution that is now almost a trend in China, Hong Kong, Indonesia, Nepal, India, and Pakistan.”


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