WASHINGTON, D.C. – The U.S. Commission on International Religious Freedom (USCIRF) today marks the two-year anniversary of the brutal terrorist attacks in Paris on the offices of the Charlie Hebdo magazine and the Hyper Cacher kosher supermarket. During these attacks, 17 people were murdered in what was also an assault on the freedom of religion or belief. The terrorists targeted the staff of Charlie Hebdo, deeming them blasphemers, and the shoppers at the Hyper Cacher market because they were Jewish.
Since that time, Europe has had to contend with ISIL-inspired terror attacks, a spike in reports of incidents of intolerance against Muslims—both Europeans and foreign refugees and migrants—and the continued persistence of virulent anti-Semitism.
“In the face of these challenges, educational and other measures are desperately needed to strengthen democracy, counter anti-Muslim bias and anti-Semitism, and support the freedom of religion or belief of each and every peaceful practitioner of this precious freedom. People must not be excluded from their neighborhoods, cultures, or societies because of who they are and what they believe,” said USCIRF Chair Rev. Thomas J. Reese, S.J. “We also must take every opportunity to train religious leaders, educators, and community members to support diverse views and advocate against hate. We have no time to lose.”
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