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Anti-Semitic behavior on the rise

With many different religious groups in the state, California residents may have heard about a report on religious freedom published last year that says there is an increase in anti-Semitic rhetoric by religious leaders and government officials worldwide. Of particular concern are Iran, Venezuela and Egypt. Religious discrimination and denial of the Holocaust can, at times, lead to violence and desecration, the report added.

In Iran, the government vilifies Judaism. The Venezuelan media has published a number of anti-Semitic statements and, in particular, launched attacks against a presidential candidate who, while a practicing Catholic, has Jewish ancestors. Egyptian officials often release anti-Semitic attacks that include denial or glorification of the Holocaust. The report also cites an event where Egyptian President Mohammed Morsi said "Amen" in response to a religious leader's call for Allah to destroy the Jews.

The report also shows that governments repress religion and expressions of freedom, which makes it hard for citizens to practice or choose a religion. Governments are also using blasphemy laws to stifle critics, which is most commonly occurring in North Africa and in the Middle East. In Saudi Arabia, for example, people were arrested and faced charges of blasphemy and apostasy, which are offenses that carry the death penalty. According to U.S. Secretary of State, John Kerry, people of all faiths are tortured and detained, and often governments do little to protect minority religions from violence and discrimination.

Discrimination can take many forms, including not making allowances for religious dress or holidays. An employment attorney can make recommendations on how best to proceed with the case for someone who feels his or her religious faith is being discriminated against. Sometimes a settlement can be negotiated with the employer that will allow the needs of both parties to be satisfied.

Source: Huffington Post, " Anti-Semitism Reports Increase, State Department Says ", Matthew Daly, May 20, 2013

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