The wave of popular uprising across the Middle East and North Africa may expose religious minorities in the region to "new dangers," Secretary of State
Hillary Rodham Clinton said Tuesday, DPA reported.
"In the Middle East and North Africa, the transitions to democracy have inspired the world, but they have also exposed ethnic and religious minorities to new dangers," Clinton told reporters in releasing the State Department's annual report on religious freedom around the world.
"People have been killed by their own neighbours because of their ethnicity or their faith. In other places, we've seen governments stand by while sectarian violence, inflamed by religious animosities, tears communities apart."
While the report focuses on 2010, an addendum points to sectarian violence that has continued since the fall of longtime Egyptian leader Hosny Mubarak earlier this year. It noted sectarian violence against Coptic Christians, including clashes in May where more than 15 were killed and 200 were injured.
The report points to eight countries of particular concern in the repression of religious freedom: Myanmar, China, Eritrea, Iran, North Korea, Saudi Arabia, Sudan and Uzbekistan.