e of the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights which guarantees and protects fundamental human freedoms, there are a lot of cases of their brutal violation. According to the International Religious Freedom Report for 2013, around 400 Shiite and 80 Christians were murdered during the attack of sectarians in Pakistan and are exposed to serious danger in Egypt, Saudi Arabia and Iran. Different religious minorities, including Hindus, are subjected to oppression and physical abuse in Bangladesh due to political instability in the country. Buddhist groups demolished churches and mosques in Shri Lanka. Falun Gong followers and Catholic clergymen were incarcerated and tormented in China (“International Religious Freedom Report,” 2013, p. 2). So, several questions arise: do people really have the freedom of faith and where lies the difference between religious liberty and religious extremism?
The purpose of the paper is to define the concept of “religious freedom”. Further, it will analyze the impact of this notion on human rights. Also, it will evaluate the importance of religious freedom for the functioning of international system.
Though it is popularly believed that religious freedom originated in Western culture, there is persuasive evidence indicating that this concept came from ancient Persia, Sumeria, Africa and China. In conformity with Persian Documentation and Hebrew Scriptures, around 2,600 years ago Cyrus the Great implemented the policy of adopting tolerant attitude towards people of different religions. This regime restored Jewish outcast’s right of returning to their fatherland. Other holy texts pointed out that there must not be any coercion in religious beliefs (Hertzke, 2012, p. 109).
Freedom of religion is universally acknowledged to be one of the fundamental human rights. It is stated in different declarations of the United Nations Organization, international agreements and national legislation. Article 18 of the
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