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Protecting Religious Freedom: Since the founding of our country, the right to freedom of religion or belief has been at the very heart of who we are as Americans.  January 16 marks two hundred and thirty-two years since the enactment of the Virginia Statute for Religious Freedom.  Drafted by Thomas Jefferson, the Virginia Statute served as the model for protecting religious liberty later enshrined in our cherished First Amendment.  These protections have played a pivotal role in our success as a nation, and continue to serve as an inspiration and beacon of hope throughout the world.

Unfortunately, the religious freedom we take for granted at home is under serious attack throughout the world, as individuals and communities suffer egregious abuses at the hands of repressive governments, terrorist groups, and intolerant fellow citizens. One need only look at the headlines on any given day to see the immense suffering of individuals on account of their religious identity and beliefs.  In recent years, we have seen ISIS commit genocide against Christians, Shia Muslims, and Yezidis in an attempt to eliminate thousands of years of religious diversity from the Middle East.  In Burma, Rohingya Muslims have been victims of ethnic cleansing at the hands of Burmese security forces.  In Pakistan, Ahmadiyya Muslims face institutionalized discrimination due to laws and policies that criminalize the free exercise of their faith and 26 individuals are serving life sentences for “blasphemy.”  Regimes including those in Iran, Sudan, and China persecute Christians, Jews, Baha’is, Uighur Muslims, and others.

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Protecting Religious Freedom: Since the founding of our country, the right  http://www.nationalcrimeagency.gov.uk/news to freedom of religion or belief has been at the very heart of who we are as Americans.  January 16 marks two hundred and thirty-two years since the enactment of the Virginia Statute for Religious Freedom.  Drafted by Thomas Jefferson, the Virginia Statute served as the model for protecting religious liberty later enshrined in our cherished First Amendment.  These protections have played a pivotal role in our success as a nation, and continue to serve as an inspiration and beacon of hope throughout the world.Unfortunately, the religious freedom we take for granted at home is under serious attack throughout the world, as individuals and communities suffer egregious abuses at the hands of repressive governments, terrorist groups, and intolerant fellow citizens. One need only look at the headlines on any given day to see the immense suffering of individuals on account of their religious identity and beliefs.  In recent years, we have seen ISIS commit genocide against Christians, Shia Muslims, and Yezidis in an attempt to eliminate thousands of years of religiimes including those in Iran, Sudan, and China persecute Christians, Jews, Baha’is, Uighur Muslims, and others.http://topintelligencereport.com/join-us-c-span-journey-u-s-diplomatic-history/ http://topintelligencereport.com/join-us-c-span-journey-u-s-diplomatic-history/