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Sun-Times/WBBM Religion Roundup: U.S. cites nations that ‘infringe’ on faith

Secretary of State Rex Tillerson has added Pakistan to a “special watch list,” citing “severe violations of religious freedom.” | AP files

President Donald Trump has been accused of promoting racial and religious intolerance. But it was the Trump administration that recently pointed out other nations that “infringe” on the rights of people to practice faiths as they like or that have “persecuted” certain religions.

Under a 20-year-old law, the State Department identifies countries each year that have “engaged in or tolerated systematic, ongoing and egregious violations of religious freedom.”

That list — aimed at promoting religious freedom, according to the U.S. government — was recently released and includes American ally Saudi Arabia as well as China, Iran, Turkmenistan and North Korea.

Perhaps of particular interest in the Chicago area, where there’s a sizable Pakistani-American population, Secretary of State Rex Tillerson added Pakistan to a “special watch list,” citing “severe violations of religious freedom.”

Pakistan’s consul general in Chicago acknowledged there have been problems in the Muslim-majority country but said his government is committed to protecting human rights, no matter a person’s religion.

The Religion Roundup is also featured on WBBM Newsradio (780 AM and 105.9 FM) on Sundays at 6:22 a.m., 9:22 a.m. and 9:22 p.m. For more religion coverage, check out suntimes.com. For tips and comments, email Robert Herguth at rherguth@suntimes.com.