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Religious freedom report: World is sliding backwards, Clinton says

Marking the State Department release of its annual report on religious freedom, Secretary Clinton says the US will be closely monitoring countries in political transition, such as Egypt.

By Staff writer / July 30, 2012

In this file photo, Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton speaks at the State Department Washington. Clinton said Monday the jury was out on whether Egypt's Islamist political parties will equally represent non-Muslims.

AP Photo/Carolyn Kaster, File

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With religious freedom in a state of decline in many parts of the world, the United States will pay particular attention to countries in political transition, like Egypt and other participants in the Arab awakening, to see that they do not follow a worrisome trend.

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That was the message from Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton, on the day the State Department released its annual report on religious freedom around the world.

“We are going to judge by actions, not words,” Secretary Clinton declared in a Washington speech Monday, speaking of Egypt and whether or not the new Islamist leadership of the key Arab country would follow through on commitments to represent and respect the rights of all of Egypt’s religious minorities.

Clinton noted that on her recent trip to Egypt, newly-elected President Mohammed Morsi of the Muslim Brotherhood assured her that “he intends to be the president of all Egyptians” and to include women and Christians in the government. But she added that the actions the US will watch for “are just in the very beginning stages.”

Clinton made her remarks as the State Department issued its report finding eight “countries of particular concern” in the area of respect for religious freedom: Burma, China, Eritrea, Iran, North Korea, Saudi Arabia, Sudan, and Uzbekistan.

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