WASHINGTON: An Indian American, nominated by
the Biden administration for position of the international religious freedom
envoy, on Tuesday pledged to hold China accountable over the repression of
ethnic and religious minorities and also work with Muslim-majority countries to
protect the rights of religious minorities there.
Hussain, Ambassador-at-Large nominee for International Religious Freedom made
the remarks while speaking to members of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee
during his confirmation hearing.
will leverage my existing relationships within Muslim-majority countries to
protect the rights of religious minorities there. I will redouble efforts to
broaden the coalition to hold China accountable for its horrific crimes against
the Uyghurs and its repression of other ethnic and religious minorities,”
confirmed, Hussain would be the first ever Indian American and a Muslim to hold
this position. His family came to the United States from India where his father
was raised in a village with no electricity, Hussain said.
that far too many people around the world continue to face arrest, torture,
discrimination and even death on account of their beliefs. Anti-semitism,
Christian persecution, anti-Muslim hatred and other forms of intolerance are on
the rise, Hussain said.
staggering eighty per cent of people worldwide live in environments with high
or severe restrictions on religious freedom,” he said.
said these are not just statistics and bad laws, but individuals taken from
their families and he highlighted the plight of the patriarch of the Eritrean
Orthodox Church unable to leave his home to tend to his flock, the Saudi
government whipping and jailing blogger Raif Badawi for encouraging debate
online and the Nigerian government letting atheist Mubarak Bala sit in prison
without charge for months.
gave the example of the Panchen Lama being disappeared by the Chinese and
stolen from the global Tibetan Buddhist community and the stories of Christians
in Vietnam, the Ahmaddiya in Pakistan and the Baha’i in Yemen, he said.