- - Monday, December 15, 2014

Congress has passed a bill to extend for a year a federal commission created to monitor attacks on religious freedoms around the world.

The bill now goes to President Obama for his signature.

“Today, freedom of religion is under threat from extremists and authoritarian governments,” House Foreign Affairs Committee Chairman Ed Royce, California Republican, said Monday after the Senate approved H.R. 5816, which extends the work of the U.S. Commission on International Religious Freedom (USCIRF).

“This commission speaks out on behalf of those persecuted around the world and has aggressively warned of the dangers of abusive laws that threaten religious freedom,” said Mr. Royce.

Congress established the USCIRF in 1998 out of concern that the fundamental freedom of religion was under siege in many places around the world, yet did not receive adequate attention in U.S. foreign policy.

Each year, the independent, bipartisan USCIRF publishes a detailed report on religious repression and persecution around the world. The agency this year has looked at problems in Iran, Pakistan, Burma and India.

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