Action Alert!

The US can do more to promote religious freedom in the Islamic world, veteran diplomat argues

By Phil Lawler (bio - articles - email) | Jul 18, 2013

In a short but thorough presentation on the National Review site, Thomas Farr, the first director of the State Department's Office of International Religious Freedom, argues that American policy-makers could do much more to encourage religious freedom in the Islamic world.

Muslim leaders do not accept the same notions of religious freedom that prevail in the Western world, Farr concedes. But there are some Islamic champions of true religious freedom, and American policies should support them. “We cannot afford to let the discourse on Islam in the Middle East continue to be dominated by extremists,” he insists.

One problem, Farr observes, is that religious freedom has never been a high priority for the Obama administration. “To put it bluntly, it’s hard to sell a product you don’t believe in.”

Phil Lawler has been a Catholic journalist for more than 30 years. He has edited several Catholic magazines and written eight books. Founder of Catholic World News, he is the news director and lead analyst at See full bio.

Sound Off! supporters weigh in.

All comments are moderated. To lighten our editing burden, only current donors are allowed to Sound Off. If you are a donor, log in to see the comment form; otherwise please support our work, and Sound Off!

Show 1 Comments? (Hidden)Hide Comments
  • Posted by: Defender - Jul. 22, 2013 11:42 AM ET USA

    Other foreign affairs problems: homosexual rights are "central" to U.S. foreign policy (and the gay ambassadors appointed in repayment for their financial support); an abysmal lack of knowledge of other countries; attempts to impose the administration's will on other countries (together with holding back foreign aid) and the obvious diffidence to the rich Arab countries.