USCCB calls for greater efforts to protect religious minorities in Asia
February 21, 2013
The chairman of the Committee on International Justice and Peace of the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops has lent his support to HR 301, a bill that would establish the position of Special Envoy to Promote Religious Freedom of Religious Minorities in the Near East and South Central Asia.
“The bishops have long been concerned over the plight of religious minorities, particularly Christian communities in countries such as Iraq, Syria, Egypt, India and Pakistan, many of whom have lived for centuries side by side with those of other faiths, but now find themselves coming under increased attack and harassment,” Bishop Richard Pates of Des Moines said in a letter to the bill’s sponsors.
“Following egregious violence against religious minorities, such as church bombings in Egypt and Nigeria, blasphemy charges leveled against a young Pakistani Christian girl, the attack on the Syrian Catholic cathedral in Baghdad, the assassination of Pakistan’s Minister for Minority Affairs, or the targeting by Hindu extremists of Christian villages in India, we have strongly urged the Administration to press other governments to undertake concrete measures to respect and protect the human rights and religious freedom of all their citizens.”