President Obama declared Thursday that “around the world, freedom of religion is under threat,” using remarks at the National Prayer Breakfast to urge governments not to stifle how their citizens choose to worship.

“We see governments engaging in discrimination, violence against the faith, sometimes see religion twisted in an attempt to justify hatred, persecution against other people just because of who they are, how they pray and who they love,” Obama said at the annual event attended by a group of bipartisan leaders and religious figures.

Obama also focused on the plight of U.S. citizens being held captive overseas simply for spreading their religious beliefs.

“We pray for Kenneth Bae,” Obama said of the U.S. Christian missionary sentenced to 15 years of hard labor in North Korea. “Kenneth Bae deserves to be free.”

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