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Rubio Urges Obama To Fill Vacant Post For Ambassador For International Religious Freedom

Jul 9, 2014 | Press Releases

Washington, D.C. – U.S. Senator Marco Rubio (R-FL) today expressed concern over worldwide threats to religious freedom that have only been compounded by the vacant post of the U.S. Department of State’s Ambassador-at-Large for International Religious Freedom.

After an April letter to President Obama went unanswered, Rubio today raised the issue again in another letter to the President. Rubio pointed to the case of Meriam Yahia Ibrahim Ishag, a Sudanese woman who was sentenced to death for refusing to renounce her Christian faith, as a clear example of the persecution and intolerance religious minorities face around the world.

“Across the globe, religious minorities are being persecuted for exercising their right to practice their faith. A clear recent example was the case of Meriam Yahia Ibrahim Ishag, a Sudanese woman who was sentenced to death for refusing to renounce her Christian faith. Although she is no longer in detention, her case remains bogged down in the Sudanese court system,” wrote Rubio. “The United States needs a senior government official who promotes religious freedom to intervene in Meriam’s case as well as others like it.

“The natural choice would be the position of Ambassador-at-Large for International Religious Freedom but that post has been vacant for over 9 months now,” added Rubio. “In order to display the United States’ dedication to religious freedom, we must have an Ambassador-at-Large in place to lead our efforts to protect and promote religious freedom.”

A PDF of today’s letter is available here, and a PDF of the April letter is available here. The text from today’s letter is below:

July 9, 2014

The Honorable Barack Obama
President of the United States of America
The White House
1600 Pennsylvania Ave
Washington, DC 20500

Dear Mr. President:

I write to express my concern about the threat to religious freedom across the world and the vacancy of the Ambassador-at-Large for International Religious Freedom post at the Department of State.

Across the globe, religious minorities are being persecuted for exercising their right to practice their faith. A clear recent example was the case of Meriam Yahia Ibrahim Ishag, a Sudanese woman who was sentenced to death for refusing to renounce her Christian faith. Although she is no longer in detention, her case remains bogged down in the Sudanese court system. The United States needs a senior government official who promotes religious freedom to intervene in Meriam’s case as well as others like it. The natural choice would be the position of Ambassador-at-Large for International Religious Freedom but that post has been vacant for over 9 months now. In order to display the United States’ dedication to religious freedom, we must have an Ambassador-at-Large in place to lead our efforts to protect and promote religious freedom.

I previously wrote to you on April 15, 2014 regarding my concerns regarding this vacancy and have yet to receive a response. I implore you to appoint a new Ambassador-at-Large for International Religious Freedom as soon as possible. This vacancy should be filled by a highly qualified individual who will fight to protect this God-given right wherever it is threatened around the globe.

Thank you for considering this request and I look forward to your response.

Sincerely,


Marco Rubio
United States Senator