The United States Commission on International Religious Freedom (USCIRF), in which KARAMAH’s Chair, Dr. Azizah al-Hibri was a Commissioner for the last two years, recently published its 2013 Annual Report. Among other critical analyses, there was significant emphasis placed on Burma and the egregious human rights violations taking place there against Muslim and Christian groups. The Burmese situation today is perhaps the worst worldwide in terms of religious freedom violations, and has caused major tragedies. You can read more about this situation in the report. Additionally, for the first time the report has included a section on Western Europe as an area to be monitored for religious freedom violations. The report makes evident the increasing limitations on religious expression in several countries, such as those imposed on building places of worship, those involving religious rituals, and those imposed on religious dress or other visible symbols of religion.
KARAMAH is especially concerned about the fact, emphasized in the report, that some of these limitations seriously affect access by Muslim girls and women to education and employment. Over a decade ago, KARAMAH had strongly objected to similar developments in Afghanistan. European Muslim women made very clear to us during our recent launch of KARAMAH-EU in Brussels the high price they are paying for such policies. KARAMAH also witnessed first hand the destructive consequences of these policies on women, and the effect it has on the destabilization of the community as a whole.
To read USCIRF’s 2013 Annual Report, please click here.