A U.S. government report says religious freedom has sharply declined in Iraq over the past year, with worshippers of all faiths coming under attack.
In its annual report on religious freedom worldwide, the State Department says the violence goes beyond the traditional Sunni-Shi'ite rivalry. It says members of all religions in Iraq have been victims of "harassment, intimidation, kidnapping and killings."
The report was released today (Friday) - the same day the White House reported to Congress that the government of Iraq has made satisfactory progress toward reducing sectarian violence. The State Department report categorizes eight countries as being of "particular concern" because they have "engaged in or tolerated particularly severe violations of religious freedom." These are Burma, Eritrea, Iran, North Korea, Saudi Arabia, Sudan and Uzbekistan.