(CNSNews.com) – President Barack Obama, with Iraqi Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki standing at his side, hailed a “new Iraq” on Monday, but he failed to acknowledge persecution of religious minorities in the country that the United States helped to liberate.
“People throughout the region will see a new Iraq that’s determining its own destiny — a country in which people from different religious sects and ethnicities can resolve their differences peacefully through the democratic process,” Obama told reporters after his closed-door meeting with al-Maliki.
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But Obama’s own State Department and a federal religious-freedom watchdog say that violence and threats against Iraqi Christians and other religious minorities is a continuing problem.
In a Dec. 7 letter to Obama, the U.S. Commission on International Religious Freedom (USCIRF), a federal body appointed by the president and congressional leaders, urged the president to take up the issue of religious freedom with the Iraqi prime minister.
“Since 2008, and most recently in May 2011, USCIRF has recommended that Iraq should be designated as a ‘country of particular concern’ under the International Religious Freedom Act for systematic, ongoing, egregious violations of religious freedom,” the letter said.
Read More at CNS News By Edwin Mora, CNS News