Washington, DC- In Defense of Christians (IDC), the nation’s leading advocacy organization for Christians and religious minorities in the Middle East and Africa, commends the United States Department of State for its publication of the 2020 Report on International Religious Freedom.
On May 12, Secretary of State Antony Blinken delivered remarks on the report’s release and the Department of State’s commitment to promoting religious freedom.
Secretary Blinken stated that “Iran continues to intimidate, harass, and arrest members of minority faith groups, including Baha’is, Christians, Jews, Zoroastrians, Sunni, and Sufi Muslims,” and that “Saudi Arabia remains the only country in the world without a Christian church though there are more than a million Christians living in Saudi Arabia.”
Secretary Blinken’s remarks were followed by a statement from Dan Nadel, a senior official at the State Department’s Office of International Religious Freedom, who noted the recent ISIS genocide against Christians and Yazidis in Iraq and Syria.
“IDC commends Secretary of State Antony Blinken for leading the State Department in publishing its annual report on international religious freedom,” said IDC President Toufic Baaklini.
“This report highlights the intense persecution that Christians face across the globe and addresses the need for imminent action. We urge Secretary Blinken to reverse Saudi Arabia’s long-standing sanctions waiver for its violations against religious freedom. We further encourage him to take strong action on Iran, and also to address the high level of Christian persecution by the Turkish government,” said Baaklini. “Mr. Nadal’s remarks spotlight the sharp decline of the Christian communities in Iraq and Syria, and point to the need for a strong humanitarian response to Christian genocide survivors there. We must also look to countries in the Middle East with thriving Christian populations, namely Egypt and Lebanon, and promote policies that ensure stability and security for those ancient communities,” he added.