“Anti-terrorism used as
excuse to clamp down on religion - UN report“
(“UN News,” September
The terrorist attacks
against the United States on 11 September 2001 have been used by many countries
as an excuse for a crackdown on religion, especially in Central Asia, and the
media have sometimes incited hatred of certain religious groups, including Muslims,
according to a new United Nations report
The interim report to
the General Assembly by the Special Rapporteur of the UN Commission on Human
Rights on freedom of religion or belief, Abdelfattah Amor, stresses that all
human rights are interdependent with democracy and development and calls for a
focus on preventive steps against terrorism by addressing the root causes of
extremism rather than the later acts.
speaking, the Special Rapporteur notes that in many cases, rather than
protecting the right to freedom of religion or belief, States have used the
pretext of security in response to terrorist threats to limit the exercise of
that right," the reports says.
"Many States have
taken the simplistic view that, since religions are at the root of many
terrorist acts, the most direct means of preventing such acts is to limit the
exercise of religion, and have focussed their genuinely or purportedly counter-terrorist
activities on limiting the exercise of civil and political rights, including
the right to freedom of religion and belief," it adds.
Noting a new upsurge in
administrative regulations on freedom of religion, the report states:
"Many States, especially those in Central Asia, have used the compulsory
registration of religious groups and the imposition of specific regulations
governing them to restrict the exercise of freedom of religion or belief."
In some cases the attacks on the United States "have been used to
legitimate, or even to strengthen, pre-existing policies for the persecution of
The report says violence
against members of religious minorities has become increasingly common and in
this regard "many States have not met their human rights
Looking to the future,
it notes countries have focussed on restricting civil and political rights at
the expense of economic, social and cultural rights, such as the right to
education, which is essential to for teaching a culture of tolerance and
non-discrimination and is part of an overall prevention policy.