نشر علىى موقع ايران تايمز الدولى 14 فبراير الماضى 2014 اى منذ شهرين ولكن ان يصلى رئيس اكبر دولة بالعالم من اجل الحريات الدينية فى العالم جدير بالاحترام واتمنى ان ياتى اليوم الذى نرى فيه صلاة جماعية لقادة العالم من اجل احلال السلام بالعالم فى اى من لقائتهم الدولية وايضا فى لقائات قادة الاديان فى العالم
President Obama prayed for Pastor Saeed Abedini and advocated freedom of religion for Baha’is in Iran last week, while also vocally opposing the call from many in the Islamic world for laws to punish blasphemy and defamation of faiths.
In speaking to the National Prayer Breakfast, a Christian event held in Washington each year, Obama said US advocacy of freedom of religion is often “uncomfortable” when it means confronting countries with which the United States is trying to conduct business on a myriad of other issues, but still must be done.
He quoted the Jewish, Christian and Islamic Holy Books as requiring leaders to stand up for freedom of religion.
“Our faith teaches us that in the face of suffering, we can’t stand idly by and that we must be that Good Samaritan. In Isaiah, we’re told ‘to do right. Seek justice. Defend the oppressed.’ The Torah commands: ‘Know the feelings of the stranger, having yourselves been strangers in the land of Egypt.’ The Qoran instructs: ‘Stand out firmly for justice.’
“So history shows that nations that uphold the rights of their people — including the freedom of religion — are ultimately more just and more peaceful and more successful. Nations that do not uphold these rights sow the bitter seeds of instability and violence and extremism. So freedom of religion matters to our national security,” Obama said.
He then turned to the question of the practical difficulty for the US government to advocate for freedom of faith. “There are times when we work with governments that don’t always meet our highest standards, but they’re working with us on core interests such as the security of the American people. At the same time, we also deeply believe that it’s in our interest, even with our partners, sometimes with our friends, to stand up for universal human rights. So promoting religious freedom is a key objective of US foreign policy.”
He gave two concrete examples of doing that.
“It is not always comfortable to do, but it is right. When I meet with Chinese leaders — and we do a lot of business with the Chinese, and that relationship is extraordinarily important not just to our two countries but to the world — but I stress that realizing China’s potential rests on upholding universal rights, including for Christians, and Tibetan Buddhists, and Uighur Muslims.”
He did not mention that the Islamic Republic, which says it supports Muslims all around the world, ignores the Uighur (pronounced wee-gur) Muslims of China, presumably out of concern that it might irritate the government of China that represses the Uighurs. Even some senior clerics in Iran have complained about the government’s silence in the face of that repression.
Obama cited a second example. “When I meet with the president of Burma, a country that is trying to emerge out of a long darkness into the light of a representative government, I’ve said that Burma’s return to the international community depends on respecting basic freedoms, including for Christians and Muslims.”
When Burma, now Myanmar, was an outcast state and stood with Iran at the United Nations, the Islamic Republic said not a word about its repression of its Rohingya Muslim minority. Just days after the United States resumed relations with a changed Myanmar government and then US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton visited there, the Islamic Republic began a campaign vilifying Myanmar fort its treatment of the Rohingya, a campaign that continues to this day. The United States has criticized Myanmar’s repression of the Rohingya in its annual human rights reports issued both when US relations with the country were good and bad.
Obama said, “I’ve made the case that no society can truly succeed unless it guarantees the rights of all its peoples, including religious minorities, whether they’re Ahmadiyya Muslims in Pakistan, or Baha’i in Iran, or Coptic Christians in Egypt. And in Syria, it means ensuring a place for all people — Alawites and Sunni, Shia and Christian.
“Going forward, we will keep standing for religious freedom around the world. And that includes, by the way, opposing blasphemy and defamation of religion measures, which are promoted sometimes as an expression of religion, but, in fact, all too often can be used to suppress religious minorities.” Much of the Islamic world, with vocal support from Iran, has called for a UN treaty to punish blasphemy and protect the major religions from criticism.
Obama singled out two Americans imprisoned abroad for their faith. “We pray for Kenneth Bae, a Christian missionary who’s been held in North Korea for 15 months, sentenced to 15 years of hard labor. His family wants him home. And the United States will continue to do everything in our power to secure his release because Kenneth Bae deserves to be free.
“We pray for Pastor Saeed Abedini. He’s been held in Iran for more than 18 months, sentenced to eight years in prison on charges relating to his Christian beliefs. And as we continue to work for his freedom, today, again, we call on the Iranian government to release Pastor Abedini so he can return to the loving arms of his wife and children in Idaho.”
Abedini’s wife, Naghmeh, has complained that Obama is not doing enough to free her husband.
Obama concluded: “As we pray for all prisoners of conscience, whatever their faiths, wherever they’re held, let’s imagine what it must be like for them. We may not know their names, but all around the world there are people who are waking up in cold cells, facing another day of confinement, another day of unspeakable treatment, simply because they are affirming God. Despite all they’ve endured, despite all the awful punishments if caught, they will wait for that moment when the guards aren’t looking, and when they can close their eyes and bring their hands together and pray.
“In those moments of peace, of grace, those moments when their faith is tested in ways that those of us who are more comfortable never experience; in those far-away cells, I believe their unbroken souls are made stronger. And I hope that somehow they hear our prayers for them, that they know that—along with the spirit of God—they have our spirit with them as well, and that they are not alone.”