Reprinted from Baptist Press (www.baptistpress.com), news service of the Southern Baptist Convention.
His comments were made as the State Department released its annual report on worldwide religious freedom.
The survey, issued every year in accordance with the International Religious Freedom Act of 1998, looks at the state of religious freedom in 199 countries and US policy toward these countries.
Secretary of State Rex Tillerson said the group is "clearly responsible for genocide" against Christians and Yazidis in Iraq and Shiite Muslims in Syria and elsewhere. Comprising an overview of the situation with violations on religious grounds, the document alleged that Iranian authorities harassed and arrested representatives of religious minorities, such as Bahais, Christians, Sunni Muslims and others, adding that over 300 members of such groups remain imprisoned for their religious activities or beliefs.
"Instead of judging the status of religious freedom in other countries, the USA government is expected to take legal and practical measures to protect religious freedom, especially in the case of Muslims, in the United States", Ghasemi concluded.
The US's top diplomat said Bahrain and Saudi Arabia "must" stop discriminating against their Shia community.
The Southern Baptist Ethics & Religious Liberty Commission expressed appreciation for Tillerson's statement. "The genocidal acts of ISIS awakened the global community to the threats facing religious minorities". "It is clear that religious and racial discrimination, Islamophobia, and xenophobia are a widespread and frequent phenomenon among American politicians", said Ghasemi. James Lankford, R-Oklahoma.
In March 2016, the Obama administration first designated ISIS genocidal when then-Secretary of State John Kerry declared that the terrorist group "is responsible for genocide ..."
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Rep. Chris Smith, R-N.J. commended Tillerson "for focusing on those who have been victims of genocide".
Missing from Tuesday's report was any mention of a spike in acts of violence and bigotry against Muslims in the United States, widely reported in the wake of last year's election. The Obama administration had previously accused the Islamic State of genocide, and Tillerson endorsed that position Tuesday.
"It's my hope", he added, "the new prime minister, his government will promote inter-faith harmony and protect the rights of religious minorities". "He pressed for a more religiously tolerant culture, specifically in Saudi Arabia, Iran, Egypt, Pakistan and other Muslim countries".
Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesperson Hua Chunying on Wednesday criticized the report and said that the USA report ignores the facts, confuses right and wrong, and makes wanton criticism of China's religious freedom situation. He pointed to death sentences issued in Iran under "vague apostasy laws" and the continued harassment of Bahai.
He again took the opportunity to criticize perennial USA foe Iran, noting that the Islamic republic has used "vague apostasy laws" to execute 20 members of religious minorities over the past year.
A key US ally, Saudi Arabia, was criticized in the report for a "pattern of societal prejudice and discrimination against Shia Muslims".
The Chinese government tortures and imprisons thousands for practicing their religious beliefs, Tillerson said, citing the targeting of Falun Gong members, Uighur Muslims and Tibetan Buddhists.
"To remove any ambiguity from previous statements and reports by the state department ..."