The United States on Monday denounced what it called a spike in anti-Islamic sentiment in Europe and Asia, pointing to restrictions and violence against Muslims including the faith’s minority sects.
Releasing a wide-ranging annual report on religious freedom, Secretary of State John Kerry also voiced alarm at what he called rising anti-Jewish sentiment, and filled a position of special envoy to combat anti-Semitism.
The State Department report, which covered 2012, said that “Anti-Muslim rhetoric and actions were clearly on the rise -- particularly in Europe and Asia.”
“Government restrictions, which often coincided with societal animosity, resulted in anti-Muslim actions that affected everyday life for numerous believers,” it said.
In Myanmar, officials allegedly fanned deadly anti-Muslim violence in Rakhine state while in China, authorities showed less tolerance toward the mostly Muslim Uighur community and Tibetans, the report said.
It said that Muslims also faced new restrictions in 2012 in countries ranging from Belgium, which banned face-covering religious attire in classrooms, to India where schools in Mangalore restricted headscarves.
The report also voiced alarm at soaring violence against Islamic minorities including Shiites and Ahmadis in Pakistan as well as discrimination against non-Sunni Muslims in Saudi Arabia and Bahrain.