WASHINGTON, D.C. – U.S. Jim Inhofe (R-Okla.) today sent a letter to Secretary of State John Kerry urging the United States leverage its influence to end the increasing practice in the Middle East to silence religious freedom.
“The freedom of religion is one of our most precious constitutional liberties,” Inhofe wrote in the letter. “The increasing attacks against Christians and other religious minorities in the Middle East is a violation of the basic human right of the freedom of religion. The United States must send a strong message that it will not accept such violations.”
In the letter, Inhofe outlined the following recent examples of the suppression of religious minorities:
• March 9, 2013, a Muslim crowd attacked a Christian neighborhood in Lahore, Pakistan, burning over 150 houses and 2 churches, killing 4 and wounding 28.
• September 22, 2013, a suicide bomber attacked the All Saints Church, one of the oldest churches in Pakistan, after a Sunday service, killing 78, including 41 women and children.
• In Pakistan, there is a growing trend of Muslim extremists abducting young Hindu girls and forcing them to convert to Islam; often they are raped and forced to marry their kidnapper.
• October 16, 2013, the Syrian government fired four artillery shells at the Greek Catholic Cathedral of Constantine and Helen, one of the oldest churches in Syria and the world, located in the rebel-controlled town of Yabroud.
• October 21, 2013, masked gunmen shot at a wedding party at a church in Cairo, Egypt, killing four, including two young girls.
• August 2013, 40 Coptic churches were destroyed in the southern, rural provinces of Egypt.
• October 17, 2013, ten bombs exploded in Shi’ite districts of Baghdad killing 44 people, and a suicide bomber drove into a village killing 15 Shabaks, who are mainly Shi’ites.
A copy of the letter can be read by clicking here.
On March 13, Inhofe reintroduced S.Res.29, a resolution calling for the United States to assist in the protection of religious minority rights and freedoms in the Arab world where many governments continue to tolerate violations of this basic human right.