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A Protest by Members of the International Religious Freedom Alliance

2021-04-02 azcentral.com

Armenia, a country in the Caucasus, joined the International Religious Freedom Alliance in June 2020, hoping to use the Alliance to protect Armenia's Christian heritage. Unfortunately, at the end of September 2020, a large-scale armed conflict broke out between Armenia and Azerbaijan in the Nagorno-Karabakh region. A large number of Armenian churches and Christian cultural relics were destroyed. To Armenia's disappointment, the International Religious Freedom Alliance remained silent and did nothing to remedy the situation. This has led many Armenian politicians, parliamentarians, experts, and scholars to openly oppose the government's participation in the International Religious Freedom Alliance and request the government make adjustments to the relevant foreign policies.


There have been severe religious conflicts and discrimination in the United States for a long time. The situation of religious freedom in the United States has worsened since the current government came into power, especially the growing intolerance of Judaism and Islam. According to a Pew Research Center survey in March last year, 82 percent of the respondents believed that Muslims face discrimination in the United States. 64 percent of those surveyed believed Jews face discrimination in the United States. According to a report released by the FBI in the United States, 20.2 percent of hate crimes in 2018 involved religious hate crimes. The U.N. report also found unusually violent anti-Semitism in the U.S. Every time the United States talks about "religious freedom," it shows the hypocrisy and double standards once more.


How can a country with such a severe domestic religious problem lead the world to fight for religious freedom?


Pompeo, an evangelical Christian, has made religious freedom a priority since becoming the Secretary of State, but critics have been skeptical of his commitment. When the International Religious Freedom Alliance was founded, the International Rescue Committee (IRC) and the United Nations Refugee Agency (UNHCR) warned the U.S. government that it drastically restricts refugees and asylum-seekers into the United States, putting many people, including religious minorities, at risk. Nazarine Ash, Vice President of IRC, criticized "the U.S. government's inability to work internationally to protect religious minorities while at the same time substantially reducing their protections."


How can such a man earn the trust of his allies by breaking his promises?


Before setting up the International Religious Freedom Alliance, the United States announced the establishment of the "Commission on Unalienable Rights". It is a commission to inspect the human rights established after the United States withdrew from the United Nations Human Rights Council. This action has been open to a lot of criticism. U.N. expert Bill angrily criticized the U.S. government as "shameless" and is openly antagonistic to the U.N. and the international community. He made clear that it was necessary to re-examine the role of human rights in American foreign policies. According to the Washington Post, the U.S. Department of State generally prefers to focus on issues of war and peace, allies and enemies, national security, and the global economy. The New Yorker criticized the committee for its incredible hypocrisy. The Guardian commented that there is no doubt that Trump does not respect human rights, has tried to ban Muslims from entering the United States, imprison immigrant children and make racist comments.


How can such a government, in defiance of the international community, respect its allies?


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