Nuri al-Maliki came under particular criticism (epa)
May 2, 2007 -- The U.S. Congressional Commission on International Religious Freedom says religious freedom is lagging in Turkey, Russia, Belarus, and several other countries.
In its 2007 report, released today, the panel added Iraq to its "watch list," saying the Shi'ite-led government was contributing to violence and abuses through the actions of its security forces and by tolerating armed Shi'ite militias.
The panel said that Turkey still has "significant problems" in ensuring religious freedom for all citizens. It expressed concern about violence against minorities -- especially the Greek Orthodox community, Roman Catholics, and Protestants -- and about growing anti-Semitism in some Turkish media.
On Russia, the panel cited a broad range of concerns about human rights, democracy, and religious intolerance.
It also expressed concern over religious freedom in Afghanistan, Egypt, Bangladesh, Cuba, Indonesia, and Nigeria.
The panel, set up by the U.S. Congress in 1998, monitors religious freedom worldwide. Its reports go to U.S. lawmakers and the government.
(compiled from agency reports)