International Religious Freedom Report - 2002

(U.S. State Department) - Saudi Arabia - Freedom of religion does not exist in practice. Only Muslims can be citizens. The government prohibits the public practice of non-Muslim religions. Non-Muslim worshippers risk arrest, imprisonment, lashing, deportation, and sometimes torture for engaging in overt religious activity that attracts official attention. Egypt - Anti-Semitic articles and editorials are published in privately owned papers and, to a lesser extent, in the government press, and have increased since 2000. Syria - Jews are barred from government employment and are the only religious minority whose passports and identity cards note their religion. The Syrian press, which the government tightly controls, occasionally publishes anti-Semitic articles, and there were reports of minor incidents of harassment and property damage against Jews in Damascus. Iraq - The government for decades has conducted a brutal campaign of killings, summary execution, arbitrary arrest, and protracted detention against the religious leaders and followers of the majority Shi'a Muslim population and has sought to undermine the identity of minority Christian (Assyrian and Chaldean) and Yazidi groups. Iran - The Jewish community has been reduced to less than one-half of its prerevolutionary size. With the government's anti-Israel policies and the trial of the 13 Jews in 2000, many Jews have sought to limit their contact with or support for the State of Israel out of fear of reprisal. Recent anti-American and anti-Israeli demonstrations have included the denunciation of "Jews," as opposed to the past practice of denouncing only "Israel" and "Zionism." Sudan - The forced abduction of women and children and the taking of slaves, particularly in war zones, and their transport to parts of central and northern Sudan, continued. Some children from Christian and other non-Muslim families, captured and sold into slavery, were converted forcibly to Islam.

2002-10-11 00:00:00

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