The report of the special commission shows the correlation of the “violations found” with the rejection of American influence.
The U.S. uses the full range of available methods, tools and occasions to put pressure on other states. Hybrid warfare as such involves the use of all spheres of activity that are associated with human life and societies. Religion is no exception. On the one hand, the U.S. creates destructive sects that spread to target countries (usually Protestant groups led by an American citizen), and on the other hand interferes in the religious affairs of other states.
This is especially evident in the work of the U.S. Commission on International Religious Freedom, which issues specific reports ranking countries according to criteria of violations of freedom of conscience, etc. If you look at these reports in recent years, you will find that the countries to which all sorts of violations are attributed are surprisingly consistent with governments that do not listen to instructions from Washington and try to pursue their own policies. Russia, North Korea, Pakistan, Nicaragua, Iran, Cuba, China, Myanmar, Saudi Arabia, Eritrea, Tajikistan and Turkmenistan have been of particular concern to the U.S. State Department for the past two years. At the same time, Ukraine, where Orthodox churches are openly seized and priests arrested and detained, is not on this list. There is also no Israel where Palestinians are regularly repressed, including directly at the place of prayer at the Al-Aqsa Mosque.
The May 1, 2023 report adds Afghanistan, Nigeria, and India to the list of “troubled” countries, and Algeria and the Central African Republic to those that need special attention.
It should be recalled that both countries have good relations with Russia and their leadership does not give in to provocations from the West regarding the SMO.
Azerbaijan, Egypt, Indonesia, Iraq, Kazakhstan, Malaysia, Sri Lanka, Turkey and Uzbekistan are on the list of countries with special recommendations.
As last year (where India was not on the list of violators, although some problems were noted), New Delhi immediately issued a strong criticism of the report, calling it “biased and motivated“.
There is no doubt about the U.S. bias. But what motivation did the U.S. have now?
It is a well-known fact that when Narendra Modi was governor of Gujarat there was a Muslim pogrom, and after he took over as prime minister, the movement of radical Hinduism intensified. But all this time the White House tried not to talk about it. Perhaps the motivation now is India’s cooperation with Russia in the purchase of petroleum products and a number of other areas, including promising technologies. In addition, India’s leadership is quite critical of the West’s position on the conflict in Ukraine. And recently it has been actively pursuing a policy of dedollarization and developing cooperation with the Islamic Republic of Iran, another state that is under U.S. sanctions. All previous attempts by Washington to influence Indian foreign policy have been unsuccessful. Apparently, the U.S. decided to adjust its approach and try to change the thinking of the political elites of this country in this specific way. Clearly this will not lead to success.
Going back to the Commission, it should be noted that it meticulously maintains a list of victims of religious persecution. It has a wide variety of countries and religions. If we take Russia, the names of the followers of Sunni Islam and the banned sect of Jehovah’s Witnesses are listed. Although it does not say what the arrest or detention was for. It probably could have been some kind of criminal activity that had nothing to do with religion.
We can assume that this list can be used by the State Department and the U.S. Congress as an additional trump card when they need to take another unfriendly action against a country by imposing sanctions like the Magnitsky List.
Measures can be very different. For example, here’s what’s proposed for Saudi Arabia: “Explore legal options for punishing U.S. companies involved in Saudi government violations of religious freedom, including those that allow electronic surveillance of cell phones, email, social media accounts,
The U.S. Congress should: hold public hearings to reinforce congressional concerns about religious freedom violations in Saudi Arabia, including the prolonged detention of religious prisoners of conscience, and work with like-minded parliamentarians in other countries to advocate for their and other prisoners of conscience’ release; and publicly convey to the administration bipartisan concerns about religious freedom violations in Saudi Arabia.”
And so in each country, depending on the specifics of public administration, the culture of society, and the Commission’s own fantasies. For example, Turkey, among others, wants to force the abolition of penalties for blasphemy, apparently believing that blasphemy is the criterion for religious freedom. The Satanist convention in Boston at the end of April this year, where the Bible was publicly torn up, confirms this position of the American government.
However, the report is silent on the problems in the United States itself, where members of traditional religions – Catholics and Protestants themselves are often discriminated against by the authorities – largely because of a rejection of the LGBT agenda, which has become official and all-encompassing in a number of states. As the saying goes, they see a speck in someone else’s eye, but they don’t see a log in theirs.
And, of course, the very appearance of such a report should be regarded as interference in the internal affairs of other states and appropriate measures should be taken, including the maximum restriction of access to various information of U.S. agents.