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Report Says Worldwide Religious Freedom Deteriorates

Pakistani Christians protest against the attack on their community members in Lahore, Pakistan (file photo).

The latest report by the U.S. Commission on International Religious Freedom says religious freedom across the world deteriorated in 2015.

According to the report released on May 2, the global refugee crisis, political strife, and economic dislocation have contributed to an increase in "societal intolerance."

The commission identified 17 countries as "Tier One" concerns, meaning they have "particularly severe violations of religious freedom that are systematic, ongoing, and egregious." Among countries listed in that category are Iran, Iraq, Tajikistan, Turkmenistan, Pakistan, and Uzbekistan.

Afghanistan, Azerbaijan, Kazakhstan, and Russia were among 10 countries categorized as "Tier Two," meaning religious-freedom violations in those countries are serious enough to require close monitoring.