President Donald Trump, speaking Monday at the United Nations in New York, announced an initiative to protect religious liberty, saying the administration would spend $25 million in related efforts internationally.
Trump made the announcement in remarks at a U.N. event called the Global Call to Protect Religious Freedom, noting that business leaders are involved in the new effort to end religious persecution.
“The religious freedom enjoyed by American citizens is rare in the world. Approximately 80% of the world’s population live in countries where religious liberty is threatened, restricted, or even banned,” Trump said.
“When I heard that number, I said, ‘Please go back and check it, because it can’t possibly be correct.’ Sadly, it was. Eighty percent.”
According to the Pew Research Center, more than 80% of the world’s population faces serious restrictions on religious expression.
The president said:
As we speak, Jews, Christians, Muslims, Buddhists, Hindus, Sikhs, Yazidis, and many other people of faith are being jailed, sanctioned, tortured, and even murdered, often at the hands of their own government, simply for expressing their deeply held religious beliefs. So hard to believe.
Today, with one clear voice, the United States of America calls upon the nations of the world to end religious persecution.
Trump’s words prompted applause.
The president cited attacks on synagogues in Pittsburgh and San Diego, an Easter terrorist attack on Christian churches in Sri Lanka, and a mass shooting at a mosque in New Zealand as examples of global religious persecution.
Trump noted his administration’s State Department initiated the International Religious Freedom Alliance, a coalition of nations devoted to confronting religious persecution around the world, and established a special envoy to monitor and combat anti-Semitism.
“To stop the crimes against people of faith, release prisoners of conscience, repeal laws restricting freedom of religion and belief, protect the vulnerable, defenseless, and the oppressed,” Trump added, “… we are also asking every nation to increase the prosecution and punishment of crimes against religious communities. There can be no greater crime than that.”
Trump said part of the initiative is the protection of religious sites and relics.
The Trump administration will dedicate an additional $25 million to protect such sites and relics, including historic houses of worship, the president said.
Read the rest at: Religious Persecution