H.R. 2431 otherwise known as International Religious Freedom Act of 1998 and was passed into law in Oct 9th 1998
The basis of the bill:
(1) The right to freedom of religion undergirds the very origin and existence of the United States.
(2) Freedom of religious belief and practice is a universal human right and fundamental freedom
(3) Article 18 of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights recognizes that “Everyone has the right to freedom of thought, conscience, and religion. “
(7) Congress has recognized and denounced acts of religious persecution through the adoption of the following resolutions:
The bill declares it to be U.S. policy to:
(1) condemn violations of religious freedom, and to promote, and to assist other governments in the promotion of, the fundamental right to freedom of religion; and
(2) seek to channel U.S. security and development assistance to governments that are found not to be engaged in gross violations of the right to freedom of religion.
Freedom of Religion is one of the cornerstones of our founding principles and a right we recognize as inalienable.
As Americans, we believe, because it is inalienable, freedom of religion is not limited to our way of life, but is the inherent right of all peoples of all nations and of all faiths.
Because of our leadership role in the world, it is our obligation to make sure, whenever and wherever possible that peoples of all nations are given the opportunity to engage in this most basic of rights.
We cannot hope to dictate to other countries what religions or faiths they are to adhere to or even consider as the one-true-faith, but what we can realistically expect is for the leadership of those countries to allow their citizenry the right to choose which faith to follow and/or religion to practice, without fear of persecution.
Now the question arises; why is this law not being enforced, its conditions exercised, or even being discussed?
In light of the growing persecution of peoples of any faith but Islam in the Middle East, this bill should be included in all conversations involving U.S. Middle Eastern policy.
In most Middle Eastern countries any faith but Islam is against the law. Even our ‘closest ally’ Saudi Arabian law prohibits not only any faith but Islam, they don’t even allow foreign missionaries from any other faith in side their country.
H.R. 2431 provides for an Ambassador at Large and staff to keep Congress and the President apprised as to which countries are in violation of the conditions laid down in this bill.
Should countries be found in violation of Freedom of Religion and/or engage in religious persecution, the bill authorizes the President to take actions against such countries.
Here are 7 direct actions available to the President listed in the bill, with 8 others being indirect.
(1) public condemnation;
(2) delay or cancellation of scientific and cultural exchanges;
(3) withdrawal, limitation, or suspension of U.S. development assistance and U.S. security assistance; (4) instruction of U.S. executive directors of international financial institutions to vote against loans primarily benefiting the foreign government responsible for such violations;
(5) restrictions on the issuance of licenses to export any goods or technology to such foreign government; (6) prohibition against the making, guaranteeing, or insuring of loans, or extension of credit by certain U.S. financial institutions to the violating government; and
(7) prohibition of U.S. Government procurement of goods or services from such government
When was the last time President Obama took any of the actions listed in this legislation to confront this violation of Religious Freedom?
When was the last time President Obama even took the very first action at his disposal (Public condemnation)?
Yes I’m aware President Obama has spoken out against the brutal acts of ISIS, but at the same time ignored violations on a country wide basis.
According to the latest annual report posted on the government website (as required by this legislation):
The following countries are Tier 1 or “countries of particular concern,” or CPCs. IRFA requires the U.S. government to designate as a CPC any country whose government engages in or tolerates particularly severe violations of religious freedom that are systematic, ongoing and egregious.”
Notice the Islamic countries listed in Tier 1 (countries of particular concern):
Turkmenistan Is 89% Muslim
We are allowing religious oppression, bordering on genocide to some faiths, to continue while providing refuge for peoples of the same faith which is guilty of the persecution.
H.R. 2431 was signed into law by Bill Clinton, ironically a few months after the founding of The Clinton Foundation.
The Clinton Foundation’s first year received a shade over $3 million in donations (from whom we aren’t privileged to know), meanwhile Saudi Arabia conveniently got a pass from Bill Clinton even after terrorist attacks, killing hundreds of Americans, were planned and carried out by Usama Bin Laden a citizen of Saudi Arabia.
This miscalculation led to 9/11 where thousands of Americans were killed. All planned and carried out by Usama Bin Laden and 15 Saudi citizens.
While our government has more of less exonerated the Saudi Government of knowing and /or assisting in the attacks recently, it does not erase the guilt of Saudi Arabia as being guilty of violating the conditions of this legislation.
During the Bush years, before and after the Iraq war, the relationship with Saudi Arabia cooled, but was deemed necessary for success in Iraq by our government. Bush took advantage of a waiver clause in the bill (which I refer to as the Bush clause):
SEC. 407.PRESIDENTIAL WAIVER.
(3) the important national interest of the United States requires the exercise of such waiver authority
In 2009 enter Barak Obama and his questionable affection for all things Islamic. Obama has taken no action against Islamic countries in general or allies in particular that are guilty of grossly violating the conditions set forth in this bill.
A number of Tier 1 countries have donated money to the Clinton Foundation and those donations escalated during Hillary’s term as Secretary of State (2009-2013). Buying silence perhaps?
But those details are for another article.
This bill needs to return to the forefront of American conscience because of the current immigration, or-lack-thereof policy of Obama. Based on this legislation, we could and should, change our immigration/refugee focus to those people who are persecuted in Islamic countries, and base the priority of application on the severity of the persecution.
Which is not what is happening now. War torn Syria is the current administrations priority one; even while Christians are being be-headed and crucified on crosses.
The current administration is all-to-eager to provide ‘refugee statuses’ to people of the very same faith which is intolerant of every other faith except their own, and are guilty of violations listed in this bill. Christians are being murdered, jailed, beaten, and ostracized in Muslim countries, by Muslims.
There is political rhetoric today that we shouldn’t discriminate against any immigrants based on religion. I agree, to a point. The purpose of refugee status is to protect those who are victims of
(11) PARTICULARLY SEVERE VIOLATIONS OF RELIGIOUS
FREEDOM.—The term ‘‘particularly severe violations of religious freedom’’ means systematic, ongoing, egregious violations of religious freedom, including violations such as—
(A) torture or cruel, inhuman, or degrading treatment or punishment;
(B) prolonged detention without charges;
Less than 2% of those granted ‘refugee asylum’ this year are Christian, or of any other faith but. It seems to me there is selective discrimination being carried out by this administration.
It is widely reported Christians are systematically abused by Muslims occupying refugee camps, reducing their chances of ever escaping their fate, and overlooked by this administration.
And if they are lucky enough to make it to another country, they are still abused by Muslims in the refugee camps.
This could be one of the greatest miscarriages of justice ever committed by the United States. We have ignored the cries for help from peoples of other faiths, while embracing with open arms, those who are guilty of persecuting those who seek freedom of religion.
It is without excuse we have failed to act.
Obama loves to proclaim we are not a Christian Nation, but we are a nation of Christians, and this country was founded by those of Judeo-Christian beliefs. The very reason for coming to the new world was to exercise freedom of religion. Get over it Mr. President.
The rise of radical Islam has been on the rise since the Iranian revolution, and has accelerated in human rights abuses in the last 10 years. Instead of taking a stand against this demonic barbarism our government considers Saudi Arabia an ally and we have all but handed nuclear weapons to the Iranians, all in direct violation of the terms of H.R. 2431.
May God forgive us if we fail to rescue those who are oppressed by Islamic countries because of their desire to freely worship, while importing the instruments of our own destruction.