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US paramount champion for religious freedom, says Donald Trump

US President Trump in a religious freedom proclamation called on all Americans to commemorate this day with events and activities that remind the country of their shared heritage of religious liberty.

world Updated: Jan 16, 2018 23:47 IST
US President Donald Trump.
US President Donald Trump. (REUTERS)

The US is the “paramount champion” for religious freedom around the world, President Donald Trump on Tuesday said as he proclaimed January 16, 2018 as Religious Freedom Day.

President Trump in a religious freedom proclamation called on all Americans to commemorate this day with events and activities that remind the country of their shared heritage of religious liberty.

Trump said the US is “the paramount champion for religious freedom around the world, because we do not believe that conscience rights are only for Americans.”

He said the US will continue to condemn and combat extremism, terrorism and violence against people of faith, including genocide waged by the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria against Yezidis, Christians and Shia Muslims.

“We will be undeterred in our commitment to monitor religious persecution and implement policies that promote religious freedom. Through these efforts, we strive for the day when people of all faiths can follow their hearts and worship according to their consciences,” he said.

“The free exercise of religion is a source of personal and national stability, and its preservation is essential to protecting human dignity,” Trump said.

“Religious diversity strengthens communities and promotes tolerance, respect, understanding and equality. Faith breathes life and hope into our world. We must diligently guard, preserve, and cherish this unalienable right,” said the US president.

Trump said Americans from diverse ethnic and religious backgrounds remain steadfast in a commitment to the inherent values of faith, honesty, integrity and patriotism.

The US’ constitution and laws guarantee Americans the right not just to believe as they see fit, but to freely exercise their religion, he said.

“Unfortunately, not all have recognised the importance of religious freedom, whether by threatening tax consequences for particular forms of religious speech or forcing people to comply with laws that violate their core religious beliefs without sufficient justification,” Trump said.

“These incursions, little by little, can destroy the fundamental freedom underlying our democracy,” he said.

In his proclamation, the president noted that he signed an executive order soon after taking office to “ensure Americans are able to follow their consciences without undue government interference.”

“No American -- whether a nun, nurse, baker, or business owner -- should be forced to choose between the [tenets] of faith or adherence to the law,” the president said.