Washington, D.C. – Today Congressman Diane Black (R-TN-06) announced the introduction of H. Res. 139, a resolution strongly condemning the persecution of religious minorities in the Middle East and reaffirming the United States’ commitment to providing protection and relief for those who are targeted because of their faith. Congressman Black released the following statement:
“While President Obama quibbles about the most politically correct way to describe our enemies and uses the National Prayer Breakfast to criticize Christianity, religious minorities continue to face extreme persecution in the Middle East and far corners of the world. From the kidnapping of Christian schoolgirls in Nigeria by Boko Haram, to the unjust imprisonment of Pastor Saeed Abedini in Iran, to the savage beheading of 21 Coptic Christians at the hands of ISIS, there is an urgent need for both Congress and this Administration to speak out and engage in this fight to protect religious freedom abroad,” said Congressman Diane Black.
“We must send a message to those who are attacked for their faith that we stand with them and that we will not remain idle in the face of this injustice,” added Congressman Black. “A House resolution alone doesn’t solve this crisis, but we need to start the conversation now and plant a stake in the ground declaring the will of Congress on this critical issue. We need sanctions against nations like Iran that allow this persecution to continue. We need a robust plan to eradicate ISIS and, as Prime Minister Netanyahu’s bold speech to Congress reminded us yesterday, we need continued support for our allies like Israel that face grave dangers as they seek to live in peace in this unstable part of the world. I am hopeful that this resolution will spur us on towards taking these important next steps.”
Congressman Black’s resolution will:
- Condemn violence against religious minorities in the Middle East and any actions that limit the free expression and practice of faith by these minorities;
- Reaffirm the commitment of the United States to promoting religious freedom and tolerance around the world;
- Call on the governments of the Middle East to uphold the internationally recognized human right to freedom from religious persecution and to end all forms of violence and discrimination against religious minorities;
- Urge the Obama administration to appoint a Special Envoy to Promote Religious Freedom of Religious Minorities in the Middle East, as Congress called for in 2014 with the passage of the Near East and South Central Asia Religious Freedom Act.
- Congressman Black’s resolution is supported by Family Research Council, Concerned Women for America, and Coptic Solidarity.