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State Department Report Reveals Laws Are To Blame For Growing Abuse of Religious Beliefs

By Leticia Domenech | May 21, 2013 12:40 PM EDT

Secretary of State John Kerry
Secretary of State John Kerry comments on annual State Department report exploring the repression of religious minority groups. (Photo : Flickr)

In a required annual report published on Monday by the State Department exploring the current laws upholding -- or harming -- basic religious freedoms in countries around the world as they relate to the basic elements of the International Religious Freedom Act, it was divulged that as of 2012, religious minorities in countries like China, Saudi Arabia, and North Korea have suffered.

The report shed light on the ways violence, restriction, and abuse have resulted in a loss of religious freedom. This comes as separatists and other chauvinist groups gain traction in our post-Arab Spring world.

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The report sites the deep historical roots of what seems to be a never-ending search for religious freedom.

"Freedom of religion and belief and the right to worship as one chooses fulfill a deep and abiding human need," the report read. "The right to religious freedom is inherent in every human being."

The New York Times summarized the mushrooming of laws are growing in religious intolerance, are not safeguarding the sacred rights of religious groups seeking salvation, and create a nurturing environment for conflict, "particularly between Sunnis and Shiites, in an arc from Syria to Iraq to Saudi Arabi and Bahrain."

According to the report, religious freedom can be a defender against violent extremism, and sites additional research conducted by the Pew Forum on Religion and Public Life said religious intolerance by members throughout society is a growing problem, and all too often end in violence.

"These laws are frequently used to repress dissent, to harass political opponents and to settle personal vendettas," newly appointment Secretary of State John Kerry said, "when countries undermine...religious freedom...they threaten their countries' own stability."

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