News Column

Kerry Concerned Over Blasphemy Laws, Anti-Semitism

May 20, 2013
Secretary of State John Kerry (file photo)
Secretary of State John Kerry (file photo)

Secretary of State John Kerry, at the launch of a State Department report on religious freedom worldwide, voiced concern Monday over rising anti-Semitism and laws used to target religious minorities.

The report expresses concern over severe violations of religious freedom in Myanmar, China, Eritrea, Iran, North Korea, Saudi Arabia, Sudan and Uzbekistan.

It points to an increase in anti-Semitism in countries such as Venezuela, Egypt and Iran, noting statements from by the Muslim Brotherhood in Egypt, to which President Mohammed Morsi belongs, and by Iran's President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad.

The State Department also notes advances by an anti-Jewish political party in Hungary and an attack in France that left a rabbi and his children dead.

The report denounces the use of blasphemy and apostasy laws it said were being used to "settle personal disputes and silence legitimate political discourse" in Pakistan.

"Laws such as these violate fundamental freedoms of expression and religion, and we believe they ought to be repealed," Kerry told reporters.

Source: Copyright 2013 dpa Deutsche Presse-Agentur GmbH

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