Dr. Boozman's Check-up

This week, the Appropriations State and Foreign Operations Subcommittee held a hearing on our efforts to protect religious freedom abroad.

Rabbi David Saperstein, the State Department’s Ambassador-at-large for International Religious Freedom, was among the witnesses who testified.

It was a good opportunity to ask why the President and members of his administration has refused to identify the real motives behind the gruesome actions of the Islamic State (ISIS) group.

For example, when the Administration publicly responded to the beheading of 21 Egyptian Coptic Christians in Libya, they failed to mention the faith and religious beliefs of the victims was the primary reason they were slaughtered by ISIS.

The Administration refuses to state the underlying reason this massacre happened, namely the ongoing, systematic religious persecution of Christians and Jews by the Islamic State group.

Ambassador Saperstein claimed there have been efforts to call attention to the terror group’s heinous acts of persecution, but I advised him that the average person simply doesn’t see anyone in this Administration forcefully making that case.

The Ambassador’s reply of “If that is the case then we have some work to do” says it all.

One easy place to start would be to clearly speak out against egregious atrocities ISIS continues to commit against those in the Middle East who do not share their warped view of Islam.

If we don’t identify or talk about the problem, we can’t solve it.

We need to encourage the same religious tolerance we embrace at home to be the norm around the globe, even if doing so at times requires us to call out acts of oppression committed by those who have twisted religion to fit their own radical agenda. 

If anyone embodies a twisted view of radical Islam, it is the Islamic State group. 

These terrorists are devoted to establishing a new Caliphate, ruled by Sharia law, where all would be forced to convert or die. There would be no religious freedom under ISIS rule. They are committed to destroying all who stand in their way. The US needs to be clear and resilient in our commitment to destroy ISIS.