Religious Freedom: Rising Threats to a Fundamental Human Right

July 16, 2015

Religious persecution is rising at an alarming rate around the world. According to a recent Pew report, over three-quarters of the world’s population lives in religiously repressive countries. This crisis affects religious groups of all kinds and climes: Jewish minorities walking the streets of Paris and Copenhagen; Muslims fleeing sectarian violence and civil war in Iraq and Syria; Christians persecuted mercilessly by ISIS, Boko Haram, and other religious extremists. Rising restrictions have particularly affected women and girls, who are targeted because of their gender.

On July 16, the Religious Freedom Project—in partnership with Baylor University’s Institute for Studies of Religion and the American Bar Association’s Section of Individual Rights and Responsibilities—organized a day-long conference to examine these and related issues. Who are the perpetrators and victims of this religious freedom crisis, and which countries and regions deserve our attention? Why, exactly, is religious persecution on the rise? How can U.S. international religious freedom policy improve conditions for religious minorities abroad? What important role do women play in resolving this issue? 

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