Tuesday, June 23, 2009

ACLJ Calls on President Obama to Address Religious Persecution of Christians in Middle East

ACLJ Calls on President Obama to Address Religious Persecution of Christians in Middle East
22 June 2009

The ACLJ is calling on President Obama to take action to put policies in place that would protect Christians in the Middle East. The ACLJ continues its global work to protect Christians who face punishment - and even death - because of their religious beliefs.You can read the ACLJ letter sent to President Obama urging action. That letter is posted hereAnd, the ACLJ has compiled reports about religious persecution of Christians in Egypt and in Saudi Arabia. The Egypt report is here. The Saudi Arabia report is here.
Obama Opens Door - Now Action Must Follow President Obama opened the door with a brief mention of religious freedom in his 55-minute speech to the Arab world. He did bring up the importance of religious freedom, saying: "Freedom of religion is central to the ability of peoples to live together.
We must always examine the ways in which we protect it." It's a good beginning, but President Obama must use this opportunity to take some real action - to engage this issue with those in the Middle East who have a notorious record for persecuting Christians and others who do not embrace Islam.
We're really talking about more than just tolerance, though. We're talking about putting an end to religious persecution. President Obama did not address this issue head-on, but did make a brief reference to the topic:
"Among some Muslims, there is a disturbing tendency to measure one's own faith by the rejection of somebody else's. The richness of religious diversity must be upheld - whether it is for Maronites in Lebanon or the Copts in Egypt."
We have just completed a detailed report about the persecution of Christians in Saudi Arabia and Egypt. The persecution of Christians who make up the 'minority' religion in many countries is on the rise.
That's exactly why we sent a letter to the White House outlining specific incidents involving the persecution of Christians in countries like Saudi Arabia and Egypt. And, that's exactly why we called on President Obama "to resolve to establish policy that would bring safety and security for the Christian minority who desire to practice their faith, but who continue to live in fear for their lives in the Middle East."
The 'religious freedom' reference in the speech was fine. But, if President Obama is truly committed to upholding what he calls "the richness of religious diversity" - he must begin to put words into action. People of all faith - including Christians being persecuted in the Middle East - deserve nothing less


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