Al-Usbū‘ reports on the U.S administration report on international religious freedom.
The U.S State Department has issued it report for 2009 on religious freedom. The report contained recommendations from the Congress, the U.S President Barack Obama, and the U.S secretary of state concerning 13 countries which they called, “Countries of Particular Concern” (CPCs) including Iraq, Nigeria, China, Burma, and North Korea.
The report also mentioned a number of countries that would be put under supervision for violating human rights and religious freedom. Egypt was mentioned as one of these countries. According to the report, these are the countries that violate or permit violations of freedom in their countries according to the U.S International Religious Freedom Act. Naming these countries in the report gives the U.S administration the right to take political and/or economic procedures against any of these countries.
The U.S Commission on International Religious Freedoms is currently trying to have its recommendations treated as laws in Congress. It also presents a vision and a way of thinking of how the U.S would deal with the challenges of religious extremism and prejudice worldwide especially in countries that enjoy an important place on the U.S foreign policy agenda.
The report started by attacking the Egyptian government saying that although the Egyptian Constitution calls for freedom of religion and practicing religious rituals, the government puts certain restrictions on these laws in reality. It also mentions that the government does this by putting limitations on Muslims who convert to Christianity when trying to issue official papers. In addition, the report mentioned that religious freedom in Egypt has greatly retreated; however, there is progress in other fields like allowing Bahā’īs to put a ( - ) in the religion slot in official papers.
The report totally ignored any information about the attack carried out by some Jewish extremists against the Aqsá Mosque and Palestinian homes. It also did not discuss attacks and insults against Islam and humanity in general.
Radwān al-Sayyid commented on the U.S report in his article that was published in al-Sharq al-Awsat [October 30, 2009, p. 15]. He said that this year, the U.S International Religious Freedoms Report included praise for four Arab countries: Saudi Arabia, Jordan, Qatar and Oman. He also said that the report is a good U.S initiative. “Being described as the ‘new Jerusalem’ with its tolerant Christian atmosphere,” al-Sayyid wrote, “The U.S has rights and duties toward itself as well as the rest of the world in spreading freedom worldwide.”