Secretary of State Hillary Clinton spoke at the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace on the subject of religious freedom, saying the “world is sliding backwards” even as progress is made on political freedom in places like the Middle East. The State Department report lists Myanmar also known as Burma, China, Iran, North Korea, Saudi Arabia and others as “countries of particular concern” with regards to religious freedom.
Secretary Clinton today also said recent allegations against her longtime aid Huma Abedin have “no place in our politics.” The Secretary praised Republicans who were critical of efforts to tie Abedin to the Muslim Brotherhood in Egypt.
The Secretary addressed the relationship between religious freedom and religious extremism, as well as how U.S. foreign policy can promote democratic institutions and religious freedom around the world.
She also discussed the State Department's aim to strengthen the implementation of the International Religious Freedom Act, passed in 1998. The Act has encouraged American diplomats to give more priority to the promotion of religious pluralism abroad.
Earlier in the day at the State Department, Ambassador Suzan Johnson Cook presented the Department's Annual International Religious Freedom Report, which assesses the status of religious freedom in countries around the world.