‘US Religious Freedom Report May Harm Christians’, Charity Warns
By Stefan J. Bos, Chief International Correspondent Worthy News
WASHINGTON/LONDON (Worthy News) – A leading Christian charity warns that a report of the U.S. Commission on International Religious Freedom (USCIRF) “may do more harm than good” for persecuted Christians.
Barnabas Fund said the USCIR’s 2022 report, released on April 25, “highlights the perpetual threat to the lives of Christians in Afghanistan.”
It also “underlines the severity of the persecution ethnic-minority Christians face in Myanmar, [also known as Burma], which has increased since the military coup of February 2021.”
Yet while the report “can be a helpful reminder about the persecution faced by our brothers and sisters,” there “remain question marks over whether USCIRF’s recommendations may do more harm than good,” Barnabas Fund said.
“For example, USCIRF has recommended that Egypt be added to the U.S. Government’s Special Watch List (SWL) for “engaging in or tolerating severe violations of religious freedom.”
Yet this week, “we have reported the release without charge of nine Christians arrested for engaging in a peaceful protest. Last week we reported that a man accused of killing a church minister was swiftly arrested and charged with murder,” Barnabas Fund added.
MORE QUESTIONS RAISES
And, “the Egyptian government granted licenses to 239 more churches. Earlier this year, a Christian was appointed president of Egypt’s Supreme Constitutional Court,” the group noted.
“Similar questions could be raised about the recommendations that Iraq and Turkey be included on the SWL. And the recommendation that Syria is designated a Country of Particular Concern,” Barnabas Fund told Worthy News.
“Should USCIRF succeed in persuading the U.S. Government to take action against these countries, this could harden official attitudes towards Christians. And [towards] other religious minorities, who are already often seen as in league with foreign, Western powers,” the charity stressed.
It noted that there “is the risk that Western censure of national governments in the name of religious freedom could undo the progress that has so far been made.”
However, the U.S. and some other Christian groups want to keep pressure on these countries, which they view as a way to improve the plight of minority Christians and other religious groups.
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