More than eight of every 10 people are religious believers. Although too many are persecuted for their beliefs, communities of faith are resilient and often join hands to support and protect one another.

  • In Pakistan, after a deadly Peshawar church bombing, Muslims formed human chains around churches during services to stand up against the violence.
  • In the United Kingdom, a Jewish neighborhood watch team started helping Muslim leaders ensure safe access to mosques and alerted them to possible attacks.
  • In Egypt, Muslim men stood in front of a Catholic church to protect the congregation from attacks.

On October 27, 1998, President Bill Clinton signed into law the International Religious Freedom Act. It establishes freedom of religion as part of the United States’ foreign policy and authorizes sanctions against countries that support religious persecution. Annual reports document the state of religious freedom worldwide.

In his signing statement, President Clinton expressed his belief that “when we promote religious freedom we also promote freedom of expression, conscience, and association, and other human rights.”