Adoption, abortion and the pledge: Controversial religious liberty cases
Despite expectations that the Arab Spring uprisings would lead to religious freedoms, a Pew Research Center study found just the opposite has occurred. In 2011, the Middle East and North Africa experienced pronounced increases in social hostilities involving religion, while government restrictions on religion remained exceptionally high.
The ongoing news accounts of religious persecution and sectarian violence in the region confirm that religious freedom must first be established before security and economic stability can take hold, said Tom Farr, a former American diplomat who is now director of the Religious Freedom Project at the Berkley Center for Religion, Peace, and World Affairs at Georgetown University.
"If you want democracy to work, you have to move first toward religious freedom. That would mean freedom for all religious groups," Farr said. "Right now, democracy at the moment (in the region) would be no more liberating than despotism."
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