Let’s Praise Progress on Religious Freedom. Start with These Countries.

Four Muslim-majority nations deserve our support and engagement, as an alliance of 33 other nations finds its voice.

Today the Open Doors World Watch List has again thoroughly documented the severe repression that many Christians experience every day. The church is under outright attack in many countries, while grinding repression and ceaseless limitations slowly strangle believers in others.

The list is a call to action and prayer for the persecuted. Understanding the dire situation should motivate Americans of all denominations to ask our government to help the persecuted church and to speak up for others victimized for their beliefs.

Yet while the World Watch List paints a troubling picture, the news is not all bad. There are positive situations in a few countries. Of course they are not perfect, and Open Doors still gives several low marks. But these glimmers of light are worthy of prayer, support, and continued engagement to press for further improvements.

Here are my picks for five recent religious freedom developments worth praising:

1) United Arab Emirates

Last year, construction begin in Abu Dhabi of the first official synagogue in the country, part of a larger state-funded project to build a mosque, church, and synagogue in the same complex to represent the three Abrahamic faiths. The UAE is also funding the restoration of two historic churches in Iraq that ISIS tried to destroy. The synagogue construction comes alongside the Emirates establishing ties with Israel and expatriate Jewish life blossoming in the Gulf state. Emirati citizens do not enjoy full conscience rights, but the country boasts many churches for foreign Christians—something remarkable considering its neighbor Saudi Arabia and nearby Iran.

2) Sudan

In 2019, the transitional Sudanese government issued a new constitution with several notable provisions defending …

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